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Former Milford Transit Employee Accused of Theft


Milford police arrested a Milford Transit employee accused of stealing approximately $4,500 from the agency.

Melissa Drinkwater, 33, was arrested Sunday and charged with third-degree larceny.

According to Milford police, Drinkwater was working for Milford Transit collecting funds from riders buying parking passes at the train station. Police allege that Drinkwater stole the cash between November and December 2016.

The Stratford woman was released on a promise to appear and is scheduled to appear in court on March 28.

Photo Credit: Milford Police Department

Pockets of Freezing Drizzle Tonight, Rain Showers Tomorrow


Rain showers will overspread Connecticut late tonight and could start as a bit of freezing drizzle for the northern areas of the state.

Here's a look at future radar at 5 a.m. which shows a pocket of freezing rain in the northwest corner of the state. We're not anticipating this to be a big problem however it could make untreated walkways a bit slippery Tuesday morning.

Temperatures will rise into the upper 30s and low 40s by Tuesday morning. Widespread rain showers are expected for the morning and afternoon hours.

Springlike weather returns on Wednesday with partly cloudy and mild conditions. We're forecasting inland high temperatures to reach 60 degrees. High temperatures along the shoreline will rise into the upper 50s.

The weather turns a bit more interesting towards the end of the week and especially early next week. We have a few chances for some snow in the 'Exclusive 10 Day Forecast'. 

The first chance for snow heads our way on Friday. There is a slight chance that Connecticut could experience a light accumulation. 

Another round of snow is possible on Sunday and again on Tuesday.

Make sure to check back for update as the weather pattern becomes a little more active. Click here to download the NBC Connecticut app for weather updates and more.

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New Haven PD, DCF Investigate 'Sudden Illness' of 2-Year-Old


New Haven police are investigating after a 2-year-old boy suddenly fell ill Sunday night, according to New Haven police.

The child was taken to the hospital for treatment from a home on Fairmont Avenue, New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman said. The state Department of Children and Families is involved in the investigation.

No other details on the case were released.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Former Principal Accused of Shooting Videos Up Girls' Skirts


A former Wethersfield elementary school principal has been charged with voyeurism after accusations that he shot photos up the skirts of young girls at a Hartford Wal-Mart.

John Bean, 47, was arrested in September 2016 at the Wal-Mart on Flatbush Avenue in Hartford after store staff reported he was following children around the store and trying to photograph them. On Monday, state police announced that through investigation into the September incident, they found four videos on Bean’s cellphone with footage shot up the skirts of female children.

According to police, Bean shot the videos in public places like the Wal-Mart and Five Below.

Bean turned himself in and appeared in court Monday. He is charged with four counts of voyeurism and four counts of risk of injury to a minor.

His attorney, William Paetzold, said his client had no comment.

He was held on a $175,000 bond.

Bean was formerly employed as the principal of Highcrest Elementary School in Wethersfield. He was placed on administrative leave in October and resigned from the position in November.

Paetzold said in court that Bean is in mental health counseling.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Facebook Rolls Out its Fake News Tool


In an effort to combat fake or biased news stories, Facebook is introducing a "disputed news" flag to stories disproved by third party groups, NBC News reported.

Once a story is marked, a group of researchers at Facebook sift through the stories and determine which ones should be sent to fact-checking organizations, including Snopes, Politifact and Factcheck.org. Stories determined to be fake will remain on Facebook, but will be flagged as disputed, and will include a link with an explanation.

The tag was originally announced in December, but its gaining traction in the United States as Facebook continues to roll it out. The tag is part of new tools that allow users to tag any items they consider "disputed."

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Dan Kitwood

Man Rescued After Falling, Hitting Head in Norwalk River


A man walking his dog fell and hit his head while walking along the Norwalk River, the fire department said. 

Norwalk Fire Department were called to the scene at 601 Main Avenue in front of 601 Merritt 7 at 2 p.m.

First responders found a man sitting on the side of the riverbank being assisted to by a civilian.

It was determined that the man sustained a head injury after a twelve-foot fall into the riverbank. The river was about 40 degrees, narrow, fast-moving and about six to 10 inches deep, the fire department said. 

Police, EMS and fire departments came to rescue the man. He was loaded into a stokes basket and looked at by Norwalk Hospital Paramedics.

His condition is not clear. 

Photo Credit: Norwalk Fire Department

LifeStar Transporting 1 Person Following Dirt Bike Accident in Hebron


LifeStar is in Hebron after one person got into an accident with a dirt bike.

Police said the accident happened in the area of 211 Wall Street. 

No roads are closed.

No other details were immediately available on this developing story. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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Facebook Live Video Purportedly Shows 10-Year-Old Driving in Monroe


A Monroe woman was arrested after police said she Facebook live-streamed a 10-year-old driving a car. 

Lisa Nussbaum, 38, was arrested Friday after Monroe police got several calls from people who said they were witnessing the Facebook live video.

Police said the video was recorded by Nussbaum and purportedly shows her 10-year-old child driving the car on public roads in Monroe.

Nussbaum has been charged with risk of injury/impairing the morals of a minor.

She was released on a promise to appear. 

Photo Credit: Monroe Police Department

Crash Closes Route 1 in Madison


Route 1 in Madison was closed on Monday evening after a car took down a utility pole.

Police said Route 1, also known as the Boston Post Road, was closed between Jannas Lane and Stony Lane.

The repairs were expected to take several hours to repair.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Malloy Finds Budget Allies in Ansonia


When the governor presented his budget last month, he managed to alienate himself and find pushback from 130 or so cities and towns that he proposed steep cuts to. 

With so few cities and towns seeing increases, that meant fewer political allies, and as the budget process continues, he's now found support in the heart of the Naugatuck Valley.

"I support the governor," said Ansonia Mayor David Cassetti, a Republican. He said the governor's proposal adequately addressed the kinds of problems smaller municipalities like Ansonia, and for that matter, Derby have enountered year after year.

“No budget process should pit the needs of our students against overburdened taxpayers," Cassetti said at an event outside the Ansonia Public Library. "No budget process should force us to choose between losing teachers and reducing hours at the public library.”

The governor's budget boosted funding for Ansonia by $3.75 million, increasing the amount of Education Cost Sharing grants for the city's education system.

While helping towns like Derby, Ansonia, and Waterbury to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, that has also led to steep reductions in more affluent towns like West Hartford, Milford, Darien, and Greenwich.

The governor has argued that those kinds of communities, more affluent with higher fund balances, and relatively low mill rates, can sustain the kinds of financial reductions he's proposed.

Gov. Malloy says most budget years, it's the communities most in need that have to make the toughest choices.

“Communities, hard-working middle class communities have frequently had to pit services against education or services against education and in many cases quite frankly, both sides have lost in that discussion," he said.

Even with the support of the mayor, the governor is only receiving support for the specific appropriations for Derby and Ansonia from the state senator who represents them, Freshman Republican Sen. George Logan.

“I thought it was important to be here, hear what the governor had to say , and provide some balance, you know," he said.

Logan, when asked whether he would support the governor's budget as currently proposed, he answered, "No," saying his district isn't limited to just two communities.

“I have other towns in the district: Bethany, Woodbridge as well, that also need to make sure they’re being treated fairly as well.”

the governor says he feels a sentiment in the General Assembly that lawmakers recognize a need to change the way the state funds cities and towns, and says he's not afraid to take on the challenge.

“These are small communities that are asked to do a lot and quite frankly the state needs to do more top be of assistance to those communities."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Milford Pushing Back on Silver Sands Construction Plan


Milford city officials and residents say they don't like the state's plan to start charging visitors for parking, build new bathrooms, administrative offices, and a snack bar at Silver Sands State Park. 

Residents voiced their opposition to the plan months ago, but Sen. Gayle Slossberg has now filed a state Freedom of Information Act request asking for information about the project. Sen. Slossberg opposes any changes to Silver Sands.

"It is just incredible to me that this unwanted, multimillion dollar project would move forward at the same time that it's being proposed that millions will be cut from our schools and town," said Slossberg in a statement.

She's referring to the millions in cuts to Milford that are proposed in the governor's budget. The governor's proposed spending plan cut municipal and education funding by more than $12 million.

The city's mayor, Benjamin Blake, said the Silver Sands project comes off as tone-deaf to a town being slashed by the governor.

“It really is unthinkable that at a time when the state has a $1.5 billion deficit that the state is trying to make up, that they’re going to be spending millions and millions of dollars creating these facilities for the state that nobody locally wants,” said Blake, a Democrat.

Blake also has worries of what may happen to nearby neighborhoods if visitors start being charged for admission, the way they are at other state beaches.

“Those are some of the most dense neighborhoods that we have, and that’s going to bring huge parking issues and other types of issues to those neighborhoods and it’s going to cause a lot of trouble locally.”

On the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's website, they discuss they project's benefits.

"Silver Sands State Park has grown increasingly popular over the years, and now welcomes an estimated 250,000 visitors a year. The public who use this park need the basic services that this project will provide, including bathrooms, an area to change clothes, space for lifeguards and environmental conservation police staff, and a small stand for food and drink. The project will also increase the efficiency of the management of the property."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

EB Suppliers Preparing for Possible Increase in Production


With the Navy looking to ramp up production on its submarine force, Electric Boat is planning to take on thousands of new workers who will help meet the demand.

Not only does the potential increase have Electric Boat telling their suppliers to be prepared, it could also mean more skilled, high-paying jobs in Connecticut.

For more than 30 years, Prime Technology, LLC has teamed up with Electric Boat. The partnership keeps the small North Branford company in business, the vice president of sales and marketing at Prime Technology, Keith Macdowall, said.

With a likely need to increase submarine production to meet the new demand for 66 attack submarines, the company is planning to hire.

“It may allow us the opportunity to be able to hire some people at a high level, high skilled-type jobs, which we desperately need in the Connecticut manufacturing industry,” Macdowall said. 

Macdowall said he’s looking to add two engineers, two technicians and five to six manufacturing positions to his staff of 38. The jobs would have a paycheck between $40,000 and $90,000.

“That’s a major increase of where we were, to where we’re going to go,” Macdowall said.

Prime Technology LLC is one of about 450 suppliers in Connecticut alone that Electric Boat works with.

Dan Barrett, spokesperson for Electric Boat, said the company has placed orders of nearly $485 million with those supplies over the past five years. Electric Boat is asking suppliers to make a plan to support a boost in submarine construction.

“The anticipated increase in submarine production is good news for the state, and is part of a greater anticipated demand for shipbuilding and manufacturing jobs in the coming years,” said Andrea Comer, executive director of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association Education & Workforce Partnership.

Technical high schools and community colleges are working to build the talent pool needed, Comer added.

Finding local talent and getting materials can pose a challenge, he said.

“Connecticut doesn’t really have industry as much as they did in the past,” Macdowall said.

But hiring and increased production could help Prime Technology thrive.

“When you can get into a natural movement toward product on a regular basis, you can reduce costs,” Macdowall said.

Two-hundred and eighty suppliers from across the nation attended the Submarine Industrial Base Council in Washington D.C. to be briefed on Navy submarine requirements, Barrett said, adding it was the largest turnout ever.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Five Disciplined After Firing of Bulkeley Football Coach


More Hartford school employees were disciplined following allegations of abuse that cost the former Bulkeley Bulldogs Head Football coach and his job.

News of the five workes being disciplined comes a month after former Coach Pablo Ortiz Jr. was fired.

In recent weeks, interim Hartford Public Schools superintendent Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez has made it clear that questionable behavior surrounding students’ safety and inadequate reporting to the appropriate authorities will not be tolerated.

A chief operating officer, a principal and athletic faculty manager are just three of at least five Hartford Public School employees who are being disciplined in some manner, in relation to the handling and reporting of allegations of abuse leveled against Ortiz. 

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have learned exclusively from sources familiar with the situation that the discipline ranges from 10-day unpaid suspensions to disciplinary letters.

Last month, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters obtained emails sent by assistant coaches and players outlining allegations of abuse, on and off the field, against now former Bulkeley football coach Pablo Ortiz, Jr. In addition to being fired, Ortiz remains under investigation by the state Department of Children and Families, which is where he works as a school social worker.

Ortiz declined to comment on the case on Monday.

Others who are being disciplined in some manner include Hartford schools Chief Operating Officer Dr. Jose Colon Rivas; Dr. Don Slater; Program Manager Nicole Porter, Athletic Faculty Manager Diane Callis, and Bulkely Principal Gayle Allen-Greene.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have requested the disciplinary documents from Hartford schools.

According to state law, district employees are mandated reporters, required to notify DCF’s Care line or police within 12 hours of suspected abuse. 

After the Child Advocate recently issued her report on a decade worth of Hartford school officials failing to report suspected child abuse, review and updating mandated reporting policies, the interim superintendent made a promise back on Feb. 10.

Torres-Rodriguez reiterated, “With child abuse, suspected abuse, if we know that people know and have not acted they will be held accountable up to and including termination.”

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters have reached out to all employees named in this report, some have not responded, others directed NBC Connecticut back to the public information officer for the district, who has not yet commented.

Revised Travel Ban Still Unacceptable To Many In Connecticut


A new travel ban is set to go into effect in ten days. President Donald Trump signed a new executive order on Monday. The White House said changes are being made to avoid a new round of lawsuits.

The first ban affected seven predominantly Muslim countries. Now, Iraq is being removed from the list because the Iraqi government is helping with increased vetting. Despite the changes, the ACLA and other groups said the executive order is still unconstitutional.

Though the order has been revised, many in Connecticut still find it unacceptable. Isa Mujahid of New Haven joined a group outside Bridgeport city hall on Monday evening, protesting what he is calling 'Muslim Ban 2.0'.

"This reboot is just a way of surviving a court challenge but again doesn't do anything to advance national security interests," said Mujahid, a community activist.

The new travel ban addresses some of the constitutional issues raised by judges, but legal experts said there is still room for new legal challenges.

"We're going to go back to court. We're not going to stay silent," said Mongi Dhaouadi, Director, of the Connecticut chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Dhaouadi said this is still a continuation of the previous Trump policy.

"It's going to hurt people. It's going to hurt America in general," said Dhaouadi.

While President Trump and his team say the order is vital to national security, others are worried about the impact of a large reduction in the number of refugees coming to the U.S.

"We believe it is shameful. It is reckless," said Chris George, Executive Director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven. "Instead of making us safer, it plays into the hands of terrorists who want to portray the conflict as the United States against all Muslims," he said.

“Most people are focused on a travel ban but they're forgetting that the most important part of the executive order is reducing the number of refugees coming to this country from 110,000 to 50,000," said George. "We are breaking our promise to sixty thousand refugees who we were going to bring to this country and now they're going to be left in danger and desperate. This comes at a time when the world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II," he said.

George said IRIS is launching a new campaign to bring attention to the refugees impacted by the new executive action.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

East Windsor Residents Voice Opposition to Proposed Casino


People in East Windsor are finding new ways to stop a casino from being built in their community.

The town selectmen already gave the project the okay, though it’s far from a done deal.

“We don’t see the need for any casino in the area at all,” Bob Kuehnel, of East Windsor, said.

That’s why more than 100 opponents showed up at the East Windsor High School auditorium on Monday.

They’ve started a petition calling for a town referendum about building a casino on the site of an abandoned movie theater near I-91.

“To bring a casino in would ruin the whole atmosphere of the town,” Judy Kuehnel of East Windsor, said.

They heard from former Congressman Bob Steele, who represented the Norwich area.

His book and his talk offered a cautionary tale about the effects of casinos.

“The social and economic costs outweigh any economic benefits by more than three to one,” Steele said.

More than a week ago town leaders approved an agreement with the tribes developing the casino.

On Monday, some selectmen showed up and heard fears about the potential negative effects of gambling including increased crime, traffic, and gambling addictions.

There was also skepticism about whether promised jobs would be filled locally.

NBC Connecticut asked one selectman if the concerns were legitimate.

“Some of them are. Some of them are. But some were misrepresented,” Steve Dearborn, East Windsor Selectman, said.

The tribes argue a third site in the state is needed to compete with a casino opening in Springfield, Massachusetts.

They’ve promised some 1,700 jobs and more than eight-million dollars a year in payments to the town.

“I think this casino coming to East Windsor is going to be a plus for the economy of East Windsor,” Marie Desousa of East Windsor, said.

Besides calling for a referendum, opponents also have their eyes set on Hartford.

The legislature and governor still need to approve the project, and there is a legislative hearing on this set for Thursday.

Photo Credit: Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes

New Haven Nursing Home Evacuated Due to Power Issue


Patients at a nursing home in New Haven were evacuated due to a power issue, police said.

About 185 patients were removed from Advanced Nursing and Rehabilitation on 169 Davenport Avenue on Monday night. 

The mayor said the electrical problem that caused the outage started at noon on Monday and took longer to fix than they had anticipated. The power is expected to be out up to two days as crews fix the electrical outage. 

New Haven Fire Department and state representatives were on the scene coordinating the evacuation process. 

No other details were immediately available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Dog Found Nearly Starved to Death in Branford


A dog was found nearly starved to death in Branford on Monday morning.

A woman driving down Route 1 in Branford at 11 a.m. saw the dog walking and then fall down, Dan Cosgrove's Animal Shelter said on its Facebook page.

She brought the emaciated dog to the shelter immediately. 

The shelter said, according to the vet, that the dog had been starved for up to three months and had, at most, 48 hours to live. The dog cannot stand, walk or life her head and is being provided 24-hour care.

So far, bloodwork shows no disease or infections and her body temperature is 96 degrees. 

The dog has been named Hope and the shelter said they are "doing everything humanly possible to save her life and provide her with the love she has not received for a long time."

If anyone recognize this dog or noticed a black dog near Big Y in Branford, please contact the animal shelter at (203) 315-4125. 

Photo Credit: Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter

Pregnant Giraffe in Better Mood, 'Not Impressed' With Vet


The pregnant giraffe at an upstate New York zoo has been on edge for days, with agitation brought on by her kicking calf and the cold weather that’s kept her cooped up inside.

Thankfully, April’s handlers said her “mood continued to improve” Monday and that she should be able to return outside as temperatures warm Tuesday. (A live stream from her pen is below.)

April “was not impressed with our vet’s advances this afternoon,” the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville wrote in its Facebook update Monday night. She ended the visit early with “toe tapping” and “fancy footwork” that ended with “a small front kick.”

The “lazy jazz hands,” as the post described April’s little dance, was a way for her to say the exam was done and claim her space, the zoo said. Despite her mood swings over the past week, April is still healthy and as hungry as ever, the zoo said, even “stealing” hay from her mate Oliver on Monday.

Tens of millions of fans across the globe are waiting for what may be the most-anticipated giraffe birth ever. 

The keepers said there's been a "significant amount of belly movement and tail raising" lately from April and that she did get a bit spooked by the kicking calf over the weekend, but keepers later reported her spirits had improved.

"We completely understand her swings!" the zoo wrote on Facebook. "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 Oliver, who paced around his pen. The long-necked lovers were seen interacting over his pen for a few moments.

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.

Weeks later, she continues to captivate millions across the world. More than 60,000 people were tuned into the live stream Tuesday morning. 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.

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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After Break, White House Resumes Public Tours Tuesday


First lady Melania Trump has announced that the White House Visitors Office will resume public tours Tuesday.

The White House, which traditionally halts tours during the transition of administrations, had been closed for tours for six weeks.

"I am excited to reopen the White House to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come each year," the first lady said in a statement. "The White House is a remarkable and historic site and we are excited to share its beauty and history. I am committed to the restoration and preservation of our nation's most recognizable landmark."

To book free public tours, visitors must make requests through their members of Congress. (You can find your representative here or your senators here.)

The self-guided, free tours are available 7:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Tour hours can also be extended when possible based on the official White House schedule, according to the official website.

Tours may be requested up to three months in advance and must be submitted at least 21 days before your visit. Tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Photo Credit: Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

Statewide Warning Goes Out to Schools About Phishing Scam


"Scary" is the word many are using after it was revealed that a couple emails helped give scammers access to thousands of W2 forms.

Last week someone posing as the Groton School District's Superintendent asked for the information via email. Then a few days later, NBC Connecticut was first to report that the same thing happened at Glastonbury.

In both districts, employees fell victim to the phishing scam, affecting nearly 3,000 people.

But those were not the only districts targeted.

Joe Cirasuolo, the Executive Director for the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, or CAPSS, says in the last seven days Wallingford, Killingly, and Milford received a similar email, but all three realized it was a scam and sent nothing.

On Monday, CAPSS sent a warning out about the scam and recommended superintendents alert staff of the scam if they hadn't already.

"The advice has been to anybody who gets this kind of message, check with the person who was supposed to have sent it and find out if it is legitimate," said Cirasuolo. He adds that if it's determined to be a phishing scam, to contact authorities.

In Wallingford's case, the phishing email never received a reply because the superintendent says they notified staff more than a month ago that the scam was out there.

Cyber security is a growing concern for many organizations and school districts are no exception.

"It's a concern, and I think it's something we'll be responding to," said Cirasuolo.

Cirasuolo says they're considering creating training programs to help superintendents and staff prevent data breaches.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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