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YES Network to Return to Comcast Channel Lineup


Yankees fans, rejoice!

The YES Network is coming back to Comcast.

Comcast Xfinity viewers were not able to watch any Yankees games on YES last season after a dispute between Comcast and the regional sports network over how much Comcast would pay to distribute YES.

The dispute had been going on since the fall of 2015.

YES will be re-launched on March 31 in the areas where it was previously carried, according to Comcast.

Xfinity customers who had been receiving YES and did not change their level of service will automatically see YES on their lineup, most likely in its previous channel location, a spokesperson for the cable provider said.

Fans will get YES back in time to see the Yankees take on the Atlanta Braves in a preseason game on March 31 at 7:30 p.m.

Comcast is the parent company of NBC Connecticut.

Photo Credit: AP

Connecticut Has the 4th Highest Real Estate, Car Taxes


Think your taxes are too high? Connecticut has the fourth highest real estate and car property tax rates in the United States, according to a study by WalletHub.

The average American household spends $2,149 on real-estate property taxes, plus another $402 for residents of the 27 states with vehicle property taxes.

In Connecticut, however, families are paying $5,327 in taxes each year on a $270,500 home, which is the median value of a house in this state, or $3,517 on a home worth $179,000.

The average real estate tax rate in Connecticut is 1.97 percent.

On the other side of the tax rankings is Alabama, where homeowners pay .43 percent, which amounts to $543 per year for an average home, which costs $125,500.

These are the highest six and lowest two states for real estate taxes, according to WalletHub :

Connecticut has the 48th worst real-estate property tax and vehicle property tax rank.

Following are the highest and lowest averages for taxes on a home worth $179,000:

The vehicle property tax on a $23,000 car in Connecticut is $555.15, which is fourth.

Rhode Island has the highest rates at $1,000, but 24 states, including New York, New Jersey and Vermont, have no car tax.

See the full report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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State Troopers Find ATM Behind Building in Southbury


State troopers are investigating after finding an ATM in Southbury. 

State troopers from the Southbury resident state trooper's office responded to the area of 1266 Main St. South at 7:23 a.m. and found an ATM behind a building. 

State Police detectives from Western District Major Crime have taken over the investigation. 

Anyone who has information about the ATM state police found should call Troop A in Southbury at 203-267-2200 or text TIP711 with any information to 274637.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Former State Police Spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance to Retire


Lt. J. Paul Vance, who served as the spokesman for the Connecticut State Police for over 15 years and served the department for over 42 years, will retire on April 1.

Vance served as the commanding officer for the State Police Public Information Unit for 16 years and became a nationally recognized face during the tragedy at Sandy Hook.

Vance began his career with state police on July 29, 1974. He was first assigned to Troop L in Litchfield then later assigned to the State Police Detective Division. He later served as an instructor at the State Police Academy in Meriden.

Vance also worked with the first state police aviation unit. The helicopters were involved in police operations and were also used for emergency transports of hospital patients.

The lieutenant was assigned to patrol at Troop I in Bethany and later as the Town of Prospect Resident State Trooper.

In 1998 Vance was promoted to sergeant and returned to Troop L in Litchfield as a supervisor. From there he was assigned to the Public Information Office, where he became the face of Connecticut state police for 16 years, being promoted to master sergeant and lieutenant during that time. He was regularly seen and heard from for severe weather events, community events, criminal investigations, and tragedies like the Sandy Hook school massacre and Cheshire home invasion.

In an interview in 2015 Vance said his job description as public information officer changed drastically over the years with the advent of social media and the news cycle becoming a 24/7 system.

In 2015 Vance was reassigned to the State Police Traffic Services as the Department Traffic Coordinator.

Vance said he was proud of the time he served as a member of the Connecticut State Police and also proud of the work he’s done with many local departments, state agencies and federal law enforcement agencies.

The lieutenant filed the paperwork for his retirement on Feb. 24 and said he plans to spend more time with his wife and family.

Dems Wore White to Trump’s Speech to Honor These Women


Democratic congresswomen at President Donald Trump's address to a joint session of Congress wore white to pay homage to the suffragettes who fought for the right for women to vote in America. Here's a look at some of the leading suffragists whom Congress representatives were paying tribute.

Photo Credit: CQ-Roll Call,Inc. via Getty Images, Library of Congress

Baby's Sonogram Flashes 'Rock On' Sign


This baby’s already a rock star.

The unborn child of Utah couple Makelle and Jareh Ahlin flashed the “rock on” sign during an ultrasound.

“Well it’s official our kids are the coolest even before they enter the world… or they are just really full of themselves,” Makelle wrote on her Facebook page.

As the couple was watching the sonogram, Jareh noticed the hand gesture and asked the sonogram technician to go back.

When Makelle posted the picture to her Facebook page and Instagram account, followers thought it was fake.

“No one believes us,” she told the Belleville News-Democrat. “I can barely run Microsoft Word. I don’t know how to Photoshop.”

But despite the unborn child's clear affinity for rock, both parents say it’s not really their genre.

This is the couple’s third child.

Photo Credit: Makelle Throckmorton Ahlin/Facebook
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Don't Have Time for Church? Get Your Ashes on the Go


It's Ash Wednesday.

Christians around the world are stopping in to church to receive their ashes, a custom that occurs 46 days before Easter.

But one church in Durham is giving parishoners little reason to skip. 

The United Churches of Durham on Main Street offered "Ashes on the Go" on Wednesday between 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Worshipers will be able to drive-thru for their ashes and won't have to even get out of the car. 

"United Churches is known for being a welcoming community of believers interested in engaging worship, warm hospitality, and service to our community," it says on the church's website.

Photo Credit: AP

Inspiring America: Principal Visits Every Student's Home


A North Carolina principal has a unique strategy for connecting with her middle schoolers: visiting all of their homes.

Elizabeth MacWilliams, principal of Caroll Magnet Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina, told NBC News it was a practice she began as a teacher when parents didn’t show up at her parent-teacher open house.

“We mistake [parents’] absence at a school event for a lack of care or interest,” MacWilliams said. “I found that’s not the case.”

She has visited more than 900 homes over the course of the school year and sees the positive effects it’s had on students and their families—students’ grades have improved and parents’ morale is high.

“She’s helped me view myself and realize that I do have potential,” said Alana Whittaker, an eighth grader who has been struggling in school.

Photo Credit: NBC News

Police Search for Suspect in West Hartford Bank Robbery


Police are searching for the man who robbed a bank in West Hartford on Wednesday.

Officers responded to Simsbury Bank on 1234 Farmington Avenue at 2:07 p.m.

The suspect did not show a weapon and passed a not to the teller. 

He is described as wearing a dark ball cap, light colored t-shirt, rain-type jacket with a hood, baggy faded blue jeans and white sneakers. 

West Hartford police said he was last seen leaving west through the bank's parking lot. 

The robbery remains under investigation. 

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Snap IPO Prices at $17 Per Share, Above Expected Range


Snap priced its public offering at $17 a share on Wednesday, two sources told CNBC. The company is scheduled to start trading Thursday.

At 200 million shares, Snap will have raised $3.4 billion and will be valued at nearly $24 billion. The IPO is 10 times oversubscribed, the sources said.

Sources had told CNBC earlier this week that investors were expecting a pricing of $17 to $18 per share, above the $14 to $16 per share range originally given by the company.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Lego Unveils 'Women of NASA' to Honor Female Pioneers


After the success of the Oscar nominated film "Hidden Figures," Lego announced a new play set featuring "Women of NASA."

The set includes five iconic female pioneers, including a figurine of physicist Katherine Johnson – whose story was told in the film. Other historical favorites include Sally Ride, the first woman in space, and Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space.

The new set comes after President Trump signed two bills aimed at promoting women in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

One of the laws directs NASA to encourage women to pursue careers while another supports business programs that prepare women beyond the lab and into the commercial world.

Photo Credit: Lego.com

NTSB Preliminary Report for East Haven Plane Crash Released


The preliminary report for the plane crash that killed a flight student and injured a flight instructor in East Haven has been released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The report does not provide a lot of new information but does give some clues as to what may have gone wrong. 

The airplane that crashed on Feb. 22 was performing touch-and-go landings on one of the runways at Tweed-New Haven Airport.  After three uneventful landings, the plane took off and shortly after, one of the pilots declared a "mayday" on the air traffic control tower frequency. The pilot did not specify the nature of the emergency, the report reads. 

During the mayday call, another flight instructor flying by the airport heard the call and stated they heard the airplane's stall warning horn in the background. After the mayday the airplane spun to the left and hit the ground about 1,000 feet southeast of the departure end of the runway. 

The plane was mostly intact when it was found.  The report states the propeller remained on the plane and the propeller blades did not show any rotational damage.

Last week, 31-year-old flying student Campos Isona and the 20-year-old instructor Rafayel Hany Wassef were in the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk when the single-engine plane went down in a marshy area in East Haven, near Tweed New Haven Airport, just before 10 a.m. 

It was not clear who was controlling the plane at the time of the crash.

State records list Wethersfield resident Arian Prevalla as the owner of American Flight Academy, a flight school opened at Tweed Airport in 2014. Prevalla, a flight instructor, also founded Connecticut Flight Academy in 2006. 

In October, Prevalla survived a plane crash that killed Feras Freitekh, who died of smoke inhalation.

Photo Credit: East Haven Mayor's Office and Family Photo
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Ex Ballpark Developers Seek $90M From City of Hartford


The former developers who were fired from the minor baseball stadium in Hartford project have filed a legal complaint against the city of Hartford and claim the city might be liable for more than $90 million associated with the ballpark project.

Centerplan Construction Company and DoNo Hartford LLC filed an amended legal complaint Wednesday that breaks down damages the organizations said they suffered because of wrongful termination of several contracts.

Centerplan and DoNo Hartford said they suffered $14 million in damages that the city has not paid and Arch Insurance, which took over construction and management of the baseball stadium, is looking to recover as much as $36,000,000.

They also added that DoNo and Centerplan might suffer $40 million in damages “because of the impact the City’s conduct has had on Centerplan’s and DoNo’s ability to construct buildings on and otherwise develop the property surrounding the ballpark”.

The developers said they had prospects for a $60 million development on one of the parcels and they were in the market to raise money to begin construction.

The ballpark was supposed to be open for the 2016 baseball season so the Hartford Yard Goats could play at home.

A new contractor has taken over construction work on the ballpark, which is now slated to open in April.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Kidnapped, Robbed Trying to Meet Woman He Met Online


A Bridgeport man who showed up in New Haven to meet a woman he communicated with online instead found himself meeting with two men he said kidnapped and robbed him.

According to New Haven police, the victim traveled from Bridgeport to Elizabeth Street in their city to meet a woman he met on the website kik. The victim told police he’d never met the woman in person and knew her as “Sunshine.”

When the victim arrived at the agreed upon spot Tuesday afternoon, instead of Sunshine, he found two men with handguns. The men grabbed the victim and threw him in the back of a Ford Explorer.

The victim reported that his abductors picked up a third person along the way. Eventually the men stopped in Hamden, robbed the victim of his iPhone and $100, and left him. A good Samaritan called police and drove the victim back to New Haven.

Police released descriptions of the suspects. The first suspect is described as 5-foot-7, thin, with a goatee and his hair in a ponytail. He wore a black and white bandana and a black hooded sweatshirt. The second suspect was around 5-foot-7, thin, and wore a black hooded sweatshirt and tan ski mask. The third suspect was also around 5-foot-7, with a medium build, and was wearing a black ski mask covering the lower part of his face.

New Haven police are investigating the incident. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Tried to Lure 11-Year-Old at Milford Bus Stop: Police


A man tried to lure an 11-year-old into his car as the child was waiting for the bus Tuesday morning in Milford and police are searching for the man. 

Milford police said the incident happened around 7:30 a.m. Tuesday on Baxter Lane, near Apple Jack Lane. 

The man, who was driving an early 2000s white BMW SUV with dice on the rear view mirror and flames on the rims, claimed to be a family friend, police said. 

He asked the child to open the back hatch of his vehicle and grab something that was inside, but the child ran to a friend’s house nearby and the man speed off toward New Haven Avenue. 


Milford Suspicious Encounter 
"As always, the safety of our students is our highest priority.  We encourage you to speak with your children about the importance of reporting suspicious activities to a trusted adult and school officials."
Kathryn Bonetti
Milford Public Schools Communications Coordinator 


Officials from Milford Schools are encouraging parents to speak to their children around reporting suspicious activity. 

"As always, the safety of our students is our highest priority.  We encourage you to speak with your children about the importance of reporting suspicious activities to a trusted adult and school officials," Kathryn Bonetti, communications coordinator for Milford Public Schools, said in a statement.

Police said the driver appeared to be between 25 and 30 years old with brown/ black hair. 

Anyone with information should call Milford Police Department at (203) 878-6551 or Detective Sergeant DelMonte (203) 783-4766 gdelmonte@ci.milford.ct.us or visit our website at www.milfordpd.org and click “Crime Tips.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Racial Slur on Granby School Sign 'Deeply Disturbing': Superintendent


"No hate here."

That's the message people in Granby had Wednesday night in response to a racist message left on a school sign.

Last month, someone took the letters from an announcement board on Granby Memorial School property and rearranged them to spell out a racial slur. When it was discovered, the offensive word was quickly taken down, but the emotions it invoked remained.

"Hate doesn't belong here. It doesn't belong in our schools. It doesn't belong with our children," said parent Amanda Lukingbeal.

At a board of education meeting, the superintendent addressed the room and called the vandalism deeply disturbing. He added that charges of the incident are expected in the near future.

Parents expressed their concerns as well.

"Our children are watching us. They're watching our reactions to these kind of incidents," said Lukingbeal.

Those who spoke said they want to see an increased emphasis on diversity in the schools and that continuing discussions are important.

Superintendent Dr. Alan Addley said after the incident the district made sure counselors were available to students and that discussion and reflection took place.

"You have to address these particular issues after they happen," said Addley. "It was a deplorable act. There's no place for hate or intimidation."

Addley said they are also continuing to reach out to various organizations to discuss the incident and see what else they can do.

Photo Credit: Anna Rogers

Puerto Ricans Still Wrestle With Identity After 100 Years


On March 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Jones-Shafroth Act, granting U.S. citizenship to residents of Puerto Rico, a colony which just 19 years earlier had been ceded to the United States from Spain after the Spanish-American War, NBC News reported.

One hundred years later, Puerto Ricans are locked in a vigorous debate over their relationship with the United States: pushing for statehood or keeping its current U.S. commonwealth status with some modifications, with a small contingent pushing for independence.

Puerto Rico was considered strategically important to the United States due to, among other things, its geographic location in the Caribbean and particularly during the Cold War its relatively close proximity to Cuba.

Photo Credit: Getty

Overloaded Cars Contributed to New Britain Train Derailment: Report


A glimpse into what may have caused a freight train to derail last December in downtown New Britain as been released.

A report Pan Am Railways was required to submit to the Federal Railroad Administration as been obtained by the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters.

The report say over-packed railcars was the reason for the train derailment last December. 

Nine cars filled with construction and demolition debris tumbled over, causing quite a mess and traffic tie ups.

According to Pan Am Railways, the cause was "overloaded cars. The remaining of the cars were weighed and found to be overloaded."

The report notes eight other cars were carrying hazardous materials but weren't damaged.

Massachusetts-based Pan Am owns the 24-mile stretch of track from Berlin to Waterbury in Connecticut.

Speed according to the report appears to be 10 miles an hour.

Track damage pan am estimates to be over $104,000, while equipment damage capped off at $79,500.

Frost Bridge Associates in Watertown, leases and loaded the rail cars involved.

A spokesman for Frost Bridge Associates disputes the report and tells the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters they were not over weight, adding, “All cars were loaded correctly and weighed at frost bridge before leaving their yard. They have never been weighed by the pan am so the cause of overload is not correct, frost bridge is waiting for the FRA report from their investigation.” 

New Britain has been in contact with Pan Am Railways since December to get reimbursed more than $78,000 dollars in city overtime, clean up and repairs.

New Britain attorney Joseph Skelly said the they, "advised Pan Am that we needed a response by yesterday, Feb. 28. Since we have not received a response, we are considering a number of options including litigation if necessary."

Pan Am's report submitted to the FRA does not represent the federal agency’s official findings. The investigation is ongoing.

NBC Connecticut is still waiting for comment from Pan Am.

Officials Hold Signing Ceremony for East Windsor Casino


The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribal Chairmen and East Windsor town officials held a ceremonial signing event Thursday to mark the agreement between the town and the tribes to build a third casino.

Some state officials and labor leaders also attended.

The proposed site was the prior home of a Showcase Cinema and a Wal-Mart.

On Saturday the East Windsor Board of Selectmen approved a development agreement for the casino. The agreement states that MMCT will pay the town $3 million no later than 15 months before the gaming facility opens. MMCT would also pay the town $3 million annually on top of regular tax payments, which are expected to total approximately $5.5 million per year.

Mohegan Tribal Chairman Kevin Brown expressed his excitement at working with the town of East Windsor and emphasized that the tribes would keep the community's best interests in mind.

“We want to look out for you. We want to help plan with you – we want to do all the things we’ve done already in our home communities,” Brown said.

He also reiterated that the tribes planned to prioritize locals for employment both during the construction phase and for permanent jobs.

Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Chairman Rodney Butler spoke about the need to keep revenue and jobs in Connecticut and to compete with MGM in Massachusetts, which is opening a casino in the Springfield area. He said the tribes wanted to focus on continued success in Connecticut and would look for local contracts to further the benefit to the community.

East Windsor First Selectman Robert Maynard spoke in support of the project and said he was pleased to keep jobs and tax revenue in Connecticut.

“It is my pleasure to partner with the tribal nations to bring to central Connecticut a new beginning, a time when we can grow and work together.”

East Windsor Police Chief Edward DeMarco also spoke and assured the community that public safety would not suffer from the project.

Traffic congestion and public safety remain major concerns for opponents of the casino, as well as the societal impacts of gambling.

Lawmakers still have to approve a third casino and the governor would have to sign off on any bill that made it to his desk.

Photo Credit: Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes

'Significant Movement' in Pregnant Giraffe's Belly, Zoo Says


There's been a lot of kicking in the belly of everyone's favorite pregnant giraffe April, the upstate New York zoo that's been monitoring her health and updating her millions of fans said in a daily update.

"Watch closely for strong kicks from within!" the Animal Adventure Park posted Wednesday night. The Harpursville zoo said that April hasn't changed much physically but that there has been "significant movement once again in the belly."

A cold front moving into the northeast on Thursday and the zoo suggested this might "shake things up." Other than the belly movement, April's keeper and vet also documented "increased tail raising and holding," as well as "periods of increased movement/pace" Wednesday night. 

Her condition was pretty much unchanged Thursday morning, the zoo said, adding that there was "a lot of behavior that had us on our toes but no acknowledgeable active labor at this time."

Over the last week, April has captivated tens of millions of people across the world who have been checking in on her via the live stream in anticipation of the birth of her fourth calf. 

Some 60,000 people were tuned in to the stream at the crack of dawn Thursday. The graceful giraffe appeared calm and collected as she picked at stray pieces of hay and stretched around to scratch a back itch. Watch it above.

The zoo, which unveiled April-inspired emojis and t-shirts as the fan base for the 15-year-old long-necked beauty continues to swell, said twin Barbados lambs and a Patagonian Cavy were born early Wednesday.

"Babies babies everywhere!" the Animal Adventure Park posted Wednesday morning. "Just not yet in the giraffe barn."

April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines last week after YouTube briefly yanked the zoo's live stream following complaints by animal activists that it violated the site's policies concerning "nudity and sexual content." Thousands upon thousands of commenters voiced their frustration on Facebook and YouTube, and the stream was restored within an hour or so. 

Giraffe pregnancies last for 15 months. Labor lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Once April goes into active labor, zookeepers will go in to help her the rest of the way. The calf will be about 150 pounds and 6 feet tall at birth and up and walking in about an hour.

The zoo said it will hold an online competition to name the baby giraffe once it's born.

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