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Make-A-Wish CT Grants Hartford Teen $5,000 Shopping Spree


Make-A-Wish Connecticut made a 17-year-old boy from Hartford a happy teenager Sunday.

Surrounded by family, Angel Velez had the time of his life at the Westfarms Mall, where Make-a-Wish granted him a shopping spree.

Velez suffers from Chrone’s Disease and said he is grateful for all the electronics and clothes he picked out.

“It feels good and comfortable, show off my guns,” Velez joked.

Wilma Hoffman, a Make-a-Wish Grantor, said seeing Velez smile makes all the hard work worth it.

“I’ve been looking forward to this day for weeks now, and it’s such a wonderful day stores are so generous,” she said.

The total wish money reached nearly $5,000 and participating stores included Hollister, Pandora, Microsoft, Brio’s Game Stop and Best Buy.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

'CT Brain Freeze' Raises $34K For Brain Tumor Awareness


Some brave souls faced freezing water today to raise awareness and money for brain tumor-specific programs as part of the “Connecticut Brain Freeze” in West Haven Sunday.

Participants took a dip into the water at the Savin Rock Conference Center to support the cause.

The event, sponsored by the National Brain Tumor Society, raised nearly $34,000 dollars for the cause.

For more information on the society, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

FBI Director Asked DOJ to Reject Trump's Wiretap Claims


FBI Director James Comey asked Justice Department officials to publicly reject President Donald Trump's claims that former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower, the New York Times reported Sunday. A senior U.S. official confirmed the newspaper's reporting to NBC News.

The Times reported that Comey requested that the Department of Justice publicly rebut the president's allegations — which he posted on Twitter without evidence — because the claims are untrue and suggest the FBI broke the law. Comey's appeal pits him against the president.

Despite the president's assertions, NBC News has found no evidence that would support his claims and it has been flatly dismissed by the past administration.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Republicans to Introduce Health Care Replacement Bill This Week


Republicans will introduce their much-awaited bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, a senior House Republican aide told NBC News.

"We are now at the culmination of a years-long process to keep our promise to the American people," Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan's spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, told NBC News.

A draft bill obtained by NBC News two weeks ago indicated that Republicans intend to roll back much of President Barack Obama's signature achievement, replacing it with tax credits and state grants.

The senior House aide said there was a large staff meeting at the White House on Friday to resolve a few outstanding issues, while heath care committees in Congress worked over the weekend to incorporate technical guidance.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

General Motors Sells Opel, Vauxhall to PSA for $2.3B


General motors has made a deal to sell two loss-making cars to French manufacturer PSA Group, the companies announced Monday, NBC News reported.

The deal, which gives German-based Opel and British-based Vauxhall to PSA Group, was valued at $2.3 billion. PSA Group promised to turn the two brands around to profit.

According to The Associated Press, the deal is expected to hand over 12 manufacturing facilities employing 40,000 people.

PSA Group, with the acquisition of Opel, becomes Europe's second-ranked carmaker by sales, while GM becomes a challenge to market-leader Volkswagen.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Inside the Green Berets' Hunt for Warlord Joseph Kony


Joseph Kony's army of child soldiers robbed central Africa of a generation, and the self-proclaimed Christian prophet has been accused of murder, rape, kidnapping and torture by the International Criminal Court.

NBC News reports that the United States considers Kony a "specially designated global terrorist," and it's the Green Berets' mission to "apprehend or remove" the notorious warlord, the subject of the viral "Kony2012" videos, from the battlefield, with his top commanders.

They operate in an area of central Africa the size of California, and the physically, mentally and tactically demanding patrols can last days. The list of dangers is long, even without the possibility of encountering armed fighters.

But the mission may soon end. The Trump administration is shifting its focus to counterterrorism, and the Green Berets could be pulled from the search for Kony as early as this month, with the warlord still at large.

Photo Credit: Mac William Bishop / NBC News

Tractor Trailer Fire Closes I-395 in Plainfield For Hours


A tractor trailer fire closed Interstate 395 in Plainfield for hours Sunday night into Monday morning.

The incident happened on I-395 south near exit 29 Sunday evening and state police said it started as a brake fire. No injuries were reported, but crews had to cut the trailer in half to clear up the mess.

As of 6:10 a.m. Monday the road was reopen and traffic is flowing freely.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Man on Probation Caught Growing Marijuana in Bedroom: Police


New London police arrested a man accused of growing marijuana in a bedroom.

Police allege that 46-year-old Paul Mitchell, of New London, was growing marijuana in a bedroom in his home. The operation was discovered during a routine home visit as part of probation supervision, police said.

Mitchell was arrested Sunday and held on a $2,500 bond.

Photo Credit: New London Police Department

Man Charged with Keying Stamford Police Vehicles


Stamford police arrested a man accused of keying two police vehicles Sunday morning.

Police said that around 11 a .m. Lt. Hohn was driving on Hoyt Street next to Stamford police headquarters when he witnessed a man keying a parked Stamford patrol vehicle. When the lieutenant confronted the man, he took off.

Police chased the suspect and tackled him in from of police headquarters. The suspect struggled and screamed that he “hates the cops” until other officers came to assist and took him into custody, according to police.

Police said surveillance footage shows the suspect, identified as Nicholas Tartell, 62, of West Haven, parking a vehicle in front of headquarters entrance and vandalizing two police vehicles before he was confronted. When police searched the vehicle, they found a hunting knife on the front seat.

According to police, Tartell was also involved in a car chase with Darien police shortly before the Stamford incident.

Tartell was charged with first-degree criminal mischief, interfering with police, and weapons in a motor vehicle. He was also issued a summons by Darien police for engaging police in pursuit and reckless operation.

Tartell was issued a $25,000 bond and was sent to Stamford Hospital for a mental evaluation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Analysis: Does Obama Have Grounds to Sue Trump for Libel?


President Donald Trump's allegation that former President Barack Obama ordered illegal surveillance of Trump Tower may be libelous, but proving libel is difficult for public figures to do, NBC News reported. 

Trump tweeted out on Saturday — without evidence — that Obama ordered illegal surveillance of Trump Tower during the 2016 election, which Obama denied.

The law's protection of political speech is not all encompassing, and the unsubstantiated claim may be libelous. But most courts rule against public figures' libel cases due to the assumption that they have chosen to make their lives an open book.

"What the plaintiff has to show is that the defendant has said, written or tweeted something that is a false statement of fact that harms the reputation of the defendant, and because Obama is a public official, you have to show that it was done with some sort of intent to harm," said Jay Wexler, a professor of constitutional law at Boston University Law School.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

An Omen? Zoo Finds Young Giraffe Imprint in April's Pen


As tens of millions of fans across the globe await the most-anticipated giraffe birth in recent memory -- or ever -- the upstate New York zoo home to the now-famous April says her adorers may not have to wait much longer. 

"What many are calling an omen of the impending birth; the face and neck of a young giraffe appeared in the bedding this afternoon," the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville wrote in its Facebook update Sunday night. "Pretty neat if you ask us!"

The keepers said there's been a "significant amount of belly movement and tail raising" lately from April but that her appetite is "notably strong" and she is still in good health as the birth approaches. 

Watch the live stream below:

The giraffe did get a bit spooked by the kicking calf over the weekend, but keepers reported Monday morning she was in better spirits.

"We completely understand her swings!" the zoo wrote in its daily Facebook update. "She is a big girl and getting bigger. Vet report is all positive and happy with progression."

The mom-to-be has grown significantly, visible in comparative photos from a week ago show. Wax caps are still present, though her back left teat appears to be shedding.

A photo posted to the zoo's facebook page Saturday showed April's rotund belly curving out and downward, a sign that she's nearing the home stretch of her pregnancy, says owner Jordan Patch.

"She's progressing well in her pregnancy," he said. "She's not in any pain, things are good."

More than 50,000 people tuned in to watch the gentle giant Monday morning as she peered over the dividing fence to catch a glimpse of her mate, Oliver, who paced around his pen. The long-necked lovers were seen interacting over his pen for a few moments.


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. Patch says the natural curiosity surrounding giraffes and their birthing process has been a huge factor in drawing crowds.

"I think the fact that she's a giraffe and she's a neat species that people are interested in, that's fostered a lot of the attention," he said. "The fact that you're gonna get to witness the miracle of birth from an animal that you really don't get to see give birth — that's neat."

He added that April's pregnancy is not just live entertainment, but a teachable moment and source for education.

April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines late last month 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.

Photo Credit: Erica Davies
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Man Charged with Murder in Fatal August Shooting in Hartford


Hartford police have arrested a suspect in a fatal August shooting that started as a fight in a parking lot.

Hartford police allege that the suspect, 49-year-old Jonathan Willis got into a fight with Joseph Jiles in a parking lot3155 Main St. on Aug. 18, 2016. A short time later the pair crossed paths again at 1 Cleveland Ave., where Willis fatally shot Jiles, according to police.

Willis turned himself in to police at Monday and is being held on a $1 million bond. He is charged with murder, criminal use of a firearm, and criminal possession of a firearm.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Crews Battle Fire at Killingly Mobile Home


Crews battled a fire at a mobile home in Killingly Monday morning.

Dispatchers said the house trailer, located at 12 Conrad’s Park, was well-involved when crews arrived. No injuries have been reported.

More details were not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications

Opponents Plan Meeting to Discuss East Windsor Casino


The idea for a third casino in the state will be a hot topic this week with several events planned.

Steve Wandzy and others are teaming up to stop a gaming facility from being built in East Windsor.

“There are so many things that you want to protect your family and your community from,” Wandzy said.

On Monday, they will hold a meeting and hear from former U.S. Congressman Bob Steele who wrote a book about the downsides of a casino.

“We just want to present a more balanced sort of set of information that the towns people can think for themselves about the pros and cons of having a casino in their hometown,” Wandzy said.

A week ago, the town of East Windsor gave the okay to the tribes to transform an old movie theater lot near I-91 into a casino.

“Make something happen. So this is something. They will put 350 million or something like that into building the property. And it will be more tax revenue for the town,” Walter Olander of East Windsor, said.

Supporters point to the hundreds of jobs that will be created and potentially eight and a half million dollars in yearly payments to the town.

The tribes say a third site is needed to help compete with a casino opening in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Opponents have started petitions to force a town meeting and referendum, as well as to send a message to state leaders who still need to approve the casino expansion.

“Property values number one on average go down five to ten percent. That’s been well researched. Crime is certainly going to go up. Traffic is going to go up. The strain on our local infrastructure, our roads,” Wandzy said.

Monday’s meeting about the casino concerns is at 7 p.m. at the high school.

It’s expected the town and the legislature will hold meetings on Thursday.

Photo Credit: Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes

Windsor Home Seriously Damaged by Fire


A Windsor home was seriously damaged by fire Monday morning, according to fire officials.

Firefighters responded to a home on Matianuck Avenue around 10 a.m. When crews arrived they found heavy fire in the structure.

No one was home at the time and no injuries were reported, but fire officials said the home looks like a total loss.

The road was shut down between Donna Lane and Capen Street while crews worked.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man in Custody After Standoff With Police in Harwinton


Connecticut state police have ended a standoff with a man who barricaded himself in a home in Harwinton.

Police said the man barricaded himself inside a home on Woodchuck Lane and is reportedly armed.  The threatened to hurt himself, according to police.

After more than four hours, police were able to detain the man.  He was taken to the hospital to be evaluated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Pregnant Woman's Giraffe Cam Spoof Goes Viral


As tens of millions of people across the world wait with baited breath for the birth of April the giraffe's fourth calf, some are taking their fandom to the next level. 

A 39-week pregnant South Carolina woman posted a nearly 8-minute-long video of herself prancing around in a giraffe mask, hands on hips, belly displayed in all its glory, to Facebook late Sunday. More than 13 million people have watched Erin Dietrich's clip since then. 

Dietrich said she had ordered the mask from Amazon a few days ago and created the now-viral Facebook video once it arrived Sunday. 

"Omg I did not think this many people would get a kick out of this," Dietrich responded to one commenter. "All our friends have been making fun of me and my obsession with April so we just thought, 'Hey we should order a giraffe mask.'" 

According to Dietrich's Facebook page, she owns her own photography company and lives in Myrtle Beach, though is originally from Middletown, New York. Her own bundle of joy is due March 14. It'll be Dietrich's fourth child.

Meanwhile, the world has been waiting for April to have her fourth for weeks. 

April lives at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, New York, and the zoo has been live streaming her pen in anticipation of the birth. 

Watch the stream below.

April's pregnancy was catapulted into global headlines late last month 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.

Photo Credit: NBCNewYork/Erin Dietrich
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Threat to East Hartford School Not Credible: Officials


East Hartford police were called in to investigate a threat made to the East Hartford Middle School Sunday, according to the superintendent’s office.

School officials said the police investigate and deemed the threat not credible. Classes were held as usual Monday.

Police told NBC Connecticut that they identified a juvenile who sent out the threat on Snapchat. When police spoke to the suspect, the juvenile expressed regret.

The suspect and the family are cooperating with police and the threat was determined not to be valid. The juvenile was charged with threatening and breach of peace.

The school’s principal sent the following message to parents on Monday.

“We received information of a threat to the school yesterday. The East Hartford Police Department has been involved and the threat has been determined not to be valid. As always, we process all information that we receive regarding East Hartford Middle School and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of our school community. Our top priority is the well-being of our students and staff.

Thank you for your patience regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have any further questions.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Blend Images RM

Red Cross to Install Free Smoke Detectors in Conn. Homes


According to the Connecticut chapter of the American Red Cross, every year 3,000 people in the United State are killed in house fires. The organization is working to cut down on that startling statistic by installing free smoke detectors in Connecticut homes.  

This week's "install-a-thon" couldn’t have come at a better time for Torrington resident Mark Thibault, who discovered three weeks ago that his only smoke detector was on the fritz.

“Right now we don’t have one," Thibault said. “You never know when you’re going to have a fire or something, especially this time of year.”

Lately, there have been a lot of house fires.

“Home fires happen every day. The Red Cross in Connecticut responds to two fires every day and many of those fires could be prevented," said Mario Bruno, American Red Cross of CT & RI CEO.

Monday, the Torrington Fire Department joined Red Cross volunteers to install several smoke alarms in the bedrooms of this 67-year-old home.

By the end of the week, the Red Cross hopes to install 1,200 new smoke alarms in Connecticut homes.

“The goal is to save lives," said Owen Quinn, the executive director of the United Way of NW Connecticut. The United Way stepped up to partner with the Red Cross on the project by providing volunteers.

“For every 1,000 detectors that are installed and are working in homes, it saves one life," said Quinn.

Thibault was relieved to know one of those homes is his.

“I think it’s great. I bet there’s a lot of people other there that really can’t afford, really need it," he added.

Thibault says he heard about the free smoke alarm program by watching NBC Connecticut. You can contact the Red Cross online at www.redcross.org/ct/schedule-a-visit or by phone at (877) 287-3327 to schedule an appointment.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Weather Pattern Turns Stormy


It seemed too good to be true for winter haters. Our remarkable stretch of 60s and 70s in the end of February has come to an end and now we may see on heck of a flip not just to a colder pattern but also to a snowier pattern.

One thing that has been missing all winter has been the infamous "Greenland block" or a "-NAO". The negative North Atlantic Oscillation features anomalous warmth and high pressure over Greenland and forces a storm track south of New England and frequently is a precursor to east coast snowstorms. All of our computer models show this feature developing by the weekend and early next week.

The first system we're watching is a weak clipper system on Friday which is by no means a certain snow-maker. The 51-member European Ensemble suite of computer models has a 30 to 40 percent chance of seeing more than an inch of snow Friday. One note of caution is that light snow in the afternoon during March can prevent snow from readily sticking to the pavement - that wouldn't be reflected in the 30 to 40 percent probability.

What appears to be a more significant storm approaches on Sunday. There's a large amount of model spread right now that includes a Connecticut snowstorm on some of the enesemble members to a glancing blow on the GFS computer model to a complete whiff on the Euro. At this point all three are possible. What's not likely is a storm that cuts to the west and brings warm air in as the -NAO block should do its job and keep the storm south of us with the cold locked in as well.


Whether or not any of these snow threats (including a third threat around Tuesday of next week) comes to fruition what does seem likely is another shot of very cold air over the weekend. Right now we're forecasting highs in the 20s for both Saturday and Sunday at Bradley Airport.

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