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Suspect Ditches Stolen Car on Trolley Tracks: East Haven PD


One person is in custody after leading police officers on a car chase and leaving the vehicle on the tracks at the East Haven trolley museum, according to East Haven police.

Police said that they were pursuing a stolen vehicle early Tuesday morning. The suspect drove into Branford and back into East Haven before driving onto the tracks at the Shore Line Trolley Museum on River Street. The suspect left the vehicle and took off on foot, police said.

Around 5 a.m. the suspect walked into a diner and asked to use the phone. Police were nearby and arrested the suspect.

The suspect has not been identified at this time.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Injuries Reported in Canterbury School Bus Crash


Injuries have been reported after a passenger car collided with a school bus in Canterbury Tuesday morning.

The accident occurred on Route 169 near Bennett Pond Road, and the road is currently closed.

Connecticut state police said that the bus and a passenger car collided head-on and that the driver of the car has serious, but non-life threatening injuries. Dispatch reported that the driver was trapped and required extrication.

The driver of the bus also suffered serious but non-life threatening injuries, according to a Backus Hospital spokesperson.

Police said that there were 31 students on the bus at the time of the accident. State police reported that five students complained of bumps and bruises on scene and were taken to the hospital for treatment. Others were taken to the hospital for evaluation. A Backus Hospital spokesperson confirmed that 30 students were treated or evaluated and none of the students' injuries were serious.

Canterbury First Selectman Roy Piper said that the students were on their way to Griswold High School and Norwich Technical High School when the crash occurred. 

Roads were wet at the time of the accident but not particularly slippery, Piper said.

Police are still investigating what caused the accident. State police believe the car crossed the center line of the road, though the exact details are still under investigation.

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Photo Credit: Contributed Photo
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Video Shows Day Care Worker Shove Child Down Stairs: PD


Police have arrested a day care worker who they say was caught on camera shoving a young girl down stairs at the suburban Philadelphia facility last week.

Sarah Gable, 52, of Folcroft, Pennsylvania, was arrested Friday and charged with simple assault, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. She will also likely be charged with reckless endangerment, police said.

Gable worked at the Child Care of the Future on the 700 block of Secane Avenue in Primos, Pennsylvania. She was later fired. 

Gable was caught on surveillance video pushing a 4-year-old girl down the stairs on Friday around 5:15 p.m., investigators said.

"Apparently for no reason she takes this child and just throws her down a set of steps," Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said.

Police say workers at the day care had just installed a surveillance camera about a half-hour before the incident took place. In the video, a woman whom police identified as Gable looks up at the camera after shoving the girl and apparently realizes she is being recorded. She then takes the girl by the hand and leads her down the stairs the rest of the way.

Shawayne Tavares, a manager at Child Care of the Future, told NBC10 Philadelphia she witnessed the entire incident unfold on the surveillance camera in real time.

"I was so upset. I had tears in my eyes," Tavares said. "She picked up the shoe and tried to come to the end of the stairs like, 'Oh, it was her shoe'" that caused her to fall.

"I'm like, 'It's not her shoe. I just watched you on camera do it,'" Tavares continues. "Her eyes literally were like, 'help me.' She needs to go to jail for that. You don't put your hands on a child. Point blank."

Workers immediately confronted Gable and called police, investigators said.

The 4-year-old girl suffered a minor knee injury and returned to the day care Monday.

Gable was fired from the day care and arrested though she is currently out on bail. Gable's husband told NBC10 Monday night the family has an attorney and he stands by his wife.

Photo Credit: Upper Darby Police Dept.
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Travel Order Could Hit Doctor Supply in Trump Territory: Researchers


President Donald Trump's new executive order suspending new visas to the United States for people from six Muslim-majority nations could reduce the number of doctors in areas that voted Trump into office, NBC News reported.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and MIT looked at data about physicians from those countries in the U.S. and found that swaths of Appalachia and the Rust Belt could be disproportionately affected.

Residency programs are a pathway for foreign-born doctors to become physicians in the U.S. Many work in rural and low-income areas, where they have played a critical role in preventing doctor shortages.

As many as several hundred doctors will be affected by the order, unable to begin medical residencies this year unless granted waivers, Atul Grover, executive vice president of The Association of American Medical Colleges, told NBC News.

Photo Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

New Wave of Bomb Threats Targets Jewish Centers, ADL Offices


Another wave of bomb threats targeted Jewish community centers Tuesday, with facilities in New York, Florida, Wisconsin and Illinois ordering brief evacuations and the Anti-Defamation League tweeting several of its offices had gotten threats.

It's the latest in a string of threats that has prompted evacuations of dozens of facilities in more than 30 states in recent months.

The ADL said offices in New York, Atlanta, Boston and Washington, D.C., received threats Tuesday morning. Workers at the group's national headquarters in Manhattan said a voluntary evacuation was in effect, and dozens chose to leave. The headquarters on Third Avenue also received threatening calls and emails late last month. 

man was arrested last week in connection with one of the February threats to the ADL and threats to seven other Jewish centers, but prosecutors say he's a copycat who used the pattern as a cover in a scheme to get back at a former lover.

"It is time for action, and we call on the Administration and Congress to take concrete steps to catch those threatening the Jewish community," ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.

Authorities have been looking into more than 120 bomb threats called into nearly 100 JCC schools, child care and other similar facilities across the nation since January. No injuries have been reported in any of the cases and no devices have been found. The FBI is assisting in the probe.

Tuesday's wave of threats targeted a half-dozen Jewish organizations across the country, including the ADL, NYPD Police Commissioner James O'Neill said. 

The Louis S Wolk JCC of Greater Rochester in Monroe County received a threat overnight and sent an email to employees and members around 6 a.m., multiple reports said. According to NBC affiliate WHEC, about 80 people in the building at the time had to leave as investigators swooped in.

The nature of the threat wasn't immediately clear. Authorities deemed the center safe by 9:30 a.m.; it reopened shortly thereafter.

"I am aware that there are other JCC facilities across the country that have received the same or similar-type threats," Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson said during a morning briefing, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. "We will work with the FBI to see if this was a similar type threat."

A Jewish center in Milwaukee was also evacuated after receiving a bomb threat Tuesday. That facility was also cleared; the group said it was the third threat targeting the center in the last month. There was a report of one Jewish center in Onondaga County's DeWitt being evacuated and another in Chicago. And NBC Miami reported David Posnack Hebrew Day School in Davie, Florida, was evacuated for the second time in a week after receiving a threat.

A Jewish day school at a temple in Framingham, Massachusetts, was also briefly evacuated over a phone threat.

Evan Bernstein, regional director of the ADL, condemned the new wave of threats in a brief statement Tuesday. Like Greenblatt, he called on the Trump administration to take concrete steps to stop the threats.

All 100 U.S. senators signed a letter Tuesday urging the administration to do the same.

“These cowardly acts aim to create an atmosphere of fear and disrupt the important programs and services offered by JCCs to everyone in the communities they serve, including in our states,” the senators wrote. “We are concerned that the number of incidents is accelerating and failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk and threaten the financial viability of JCCs, many of which are institutions in their communities."

A week ago, President Donald Trump suggested the spate of threats could be part of a politically motivated effort to "make people look bad."

He has more broadly condemned the rash of hate crimes that have peppered the country since the presidential election. 

Photo Credit: CNY Central

Jewish Centers' Bomb Threat Dilemma: To Evacuate or Not?


Samantha Taylor's 3-year-old was evacuated with other pre-schoolers at her Jewish Community Center in Florida when the center received a bomb threat last month, and at first Taylor was impressed.

Within minutes the campus was evacuated and the children thought they were off on a nature walk, she said.

But as threats kept coming, she and other parents became more worried. 

"Our security director held meetings after every bomb threat where parents could voice concerns," she said. "And one of the concerns after especially the second time was that our evacuation plan was becoming routine. And that was shared by the security director. This was not something they hadn't thought of before."

Now the JCC's security is evaluating each threat to determine how best to respond, a plan devised with the assistance of the FBI and local law enforcement, she said. 

It is a tension Jewish organizations across the country are facing since more than hundred bomb threats have targeted community centers and day schools since the beginning of the year. The rash of phone calls has prompted evacuations across the country and in Canada, even as safety experts say automatic evacuations can inspire copycats and pose their own dangers.

The most recent threats came in Florida, Illinois, New York and Wisconsin on Tuesday, and included several offices of the Anti-Defamation League. A voluntary evacuation took place at the organization's national headquarters in New York City.

"Bomb threats are about intimidation, harassment, disruption and the more you're able to accomplish by doing that, that just encourages additional bomb threats," said Paul Fennewald, an adviser to the Missouri School Boards Association.

Few actual bombings are preceded by threats, he and others say.

On Friday, a former journalist was arrested in connection with some of the threats. Juan Thompson, 31, who was fired from The Intercept last year after the publication said he made up quotes and sources, was allegedly harassing a former lover when he called in bomb threats against the Anti-Defamation League and seven other Jewish centers around the country, authorities said.

But Thompson is not believed to be responsible for most of the threats, according to authorities.

The JCC Association of North America did not comment on whether to evacuate or not but said in a statement released on Friday: "JCC Association of North America is gratified by the arrest made in connection with the large number of anti-Semitic threats that have targeted JCCs and other Jewish institutions over the past two months."

Fennewald said that an immediate evacuation was critical if someone saw a suspicious package or there was some other indication that a threat was real. But absent that evidence, he recommends more investigation — interviewing people, assessing a building's security — before evacuating.

"I know immediately parents are going to say, 'Oh my gosh there's a bomb in that school. If there's a threat I don't want my kids there.' But you've got to think that through," he said.

He and others cautioned that the places people evacuate to — a parking lot or a city street — could be more dangerous. A bomb could have been set there or armed attackers could be waiting.

"I might be able to get into an elementary school and place a small device in that school but it's a lot harder for me to get into that facility with a relatively large device," said Michael Dorn, the executive director of Safe Havens International, a campus safety organization. "Whereas if you're evacuating through or to a parking lot or down a city street, I may be able to put a much larger device in a vehicle or in a culvert or in a trash bin."

Of the 642 bombings reported across the U.S. in 2014, 15 were in schools, according to the U.S. Bomb Data Center.

Jewish groups nationwide have been coordinating with law enforcement over how to best respond to the threats, which have been made by a mix of people and robo-calls and some of which law enforcement officials say could be coming from overseas. The Anti-Defamation League expanded its security training programs in response.

The FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division are investigating possible civil rights violations as a result of the threats, security advisers from the Department of Homeland Security are offering their expertise and the Federal Communication Commission is temporarily allowing the JCC to trace telephone calls from blocked phone numbers, USA Today reported.

Dorn said schools and other targets should have three options prepared beforehand — from relying on staff to notice anything out of place, then evacuating students to a place that has been checked for bombs or weapons, to checking a building while students and staff remain where they are, to moving everyone to a gymnasium or auditorium that has been checked first, then going through the rest of the building.

Several choices makes it harder for an attacker to predict a reaction, he said.

The JCC bomb threats have come in six waves in 33 states and two provinces in Canada. No bombs were discovered at any of the JCCs, which offer preschools and sports, arts and other programs across the country.

Nancy K. Kaufman, president of the National Council of Jewish Women, said the bomb threats as well the recent toppling of headstones in some Jewish cemeteries have "deeply shaken the Jewish community." 

"We are outraged by the recent bomb threats attempting to strike at the very core of our communities, where our children go to preschool and our parents lay to rest," she said.

A 2015 study of 800 shooting and bomb threats to schools found that too many were reacting first and then assessing the threat, said Ken Trump, the president of the National School Safety and Security Services, which directed the study. Thirty percent of the threats resulted in the evacuation of schools, 10 percent in the schools' closures. Many were done prematurely and unnecessarily, Trump said.

"While emotionally it is understandable why administrators and parents jump to evacuating students out of the school that received the threat, when administrators send children out of the school they risk exposing them to other threats outside of the school," the study said.

"In cases of threats with questionable credibility, the best place for students may be for them to remain in school under heightened supervision and security while the investigation moves forward," it said.

Jewish community centers and other Jewish groups have seen deadly violence in the past. A 14-year-old Eagle Scout and his grandfather were shot to death outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in 2014, by a Ku Klux Klan member who then gunned down a woman at a nearby retirement community. A man who identified himself as a Muslim-American angry at Israel forced his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle in 2006, shooting six women, one fatally, And a white supremacist opened fire in the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills, California, in 1999, shooting five people, including three young boys.

"Unfortunately, threats like this are nothing new for the Jewish community," the national director of the ADL, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement in February. 

Photo Credit: AP

Jury Back in Court in Hernandez Double Murder Case


Editor's note: Because a camera providing a pool feed to local news outlets showed an image of jurors, the judge has ordered that the camera be turned off.

Jurors in the Aaron Hernandez double murder trial returned to court Tuesday morning after being dismissed for the day on Monday after defense attorneys said they had new evidence that could help their client.

The first witness of the day was Boston police Sgt. Detective Daniel Duff, who was in charge of taking photos of the 2012 crime scene. The graphic photos included one of the BMW the victims were in when they were shot at a South End stoplight.

Prosecutors accuse Hernandez of fatally shooting Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado as he rode in a silver Toyota 4Runner. One of the victim's family members left the courtroom after becoming distraught when she saw photos of bullets and blood near the BMW.

After jurors were dismissed for the day on Monday, the judge heard testimony from a street sweeper who was at the scene of the crime.

Hernandez's attorneys said the man, Warren McMaster, is telling a different story than what he told police, saying his rights were violated. 

McMaster told the judge he was threatened by police detectives when he was interviewed after the double murder. 

He also claimed he passed right by the crime scene, telling investigators he saw a white SUV with a woman in the area. That description does not match Hernandez. 

Defense attorneys questioned police detectives Monday, trying to prove it's possible McMaster's story is true because there is no evidence proving otherwise.

Choosing not to halt the trial as he considers the motion, the judge took the defense team's motion to dismiss under advisement and has yet to issue a ruling.

Photo Credit: AP

Meriden Police Arrest 3rd Suspect in Stop & Shop Assault


Meriden police have arrested a third suspect in a violent assault at a local Stop & Shop in February.

Christopher Monteleone, of Waterbury, turned himself in on Tuesday. He and two other men are accused of harassing a husband and wife, beating the husband unconscious and knocking several of his teeth out in an incident on Feb. 12.

The victims told police they were walking into the grocery store on Broad Street when five men started harassing them and followed them into the store.

Inside the store, the men surrounded the couple and threatened to punch the victim’s wife, police said.

When the husband verbally objected, one of the men punched him from behind and knocked him unconscious. Police said several of the victim’s teeth were knocked out and he required medical treatment.

The victims told police they didn’t know any of the attackers and police said it appears the attack was not provoked.

Monteleone was charged with second-degree breach of peace and released on a $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 21.

Two other men, Thomas Zanone, of Waterbury, and Robert Cote, of Meriden, were previously arrested and charged with assault, conspiracy to commit assault, reckless endangerment, conspiracy to commit endangerment and breach of peace in the same case.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police Department

Man Destroyed Kim Kardashian Books at Barnes & Noble: Police


A 74-year-old man who isn't a fan of Kim Kardashian was arrested after police say he destroyed several of Kardashian's books at a Barnes & Noble in Glastonbury.

Carl Puia, of Glastonbury, turned himself in on Monday.

Puia was caught on security cameras on October 13, 2016 putting red liquid all over several of Kardashian's "Selfish" books, according to police.

The books are a collection of selfies by the reality TV star. Six books were destroyed, according to police.

Police said Puia also left a long typed note for the staff at Barnes & Noble expressing his dislike for Kardashian and people like her.

He was charged with criminal mischief and released on $2,500 bond. He is scheduled to be in court on March 22.

Photo Credit: Glastonbury Police

2 CT BCBG MAX AZRIA Stores to Close as Company Restructures


Hilco Merchant Resources and Gordon Brothers have announced they will be closing dozens of BCBG MAX AZRIA, BCB GENERATION, BCBG FACTORY, and HERVE LEGER stores, including two in Connecticut.

According to the documents, filed on March 3, the BCBG Factory Outlet in Clinton Crossing and the BCBG in the Westfarms Mall will close as part of a nationwide restructuring.

In a press release, the company announced closing sales with between 50 to 70 percent off merchandise. Shoppers will also be able to buy store fixtures, furniture and equipment at closing locations.

“As part of our effort to realign BCBG, we made the difficult decision to reduce the total number of our retail stores,” said interim Acting Chief Executive Officer Marty Staff said in a release. “For our more than 300 continuing retail and partner shops, BCBG is focused on the future by investing in our partner relationships, driving sales in our remaining stores, exploring licensing and wholesale opportunities, and expanding our digital reach.”

The company has other stores located in Danbury, Trumbull and Stamford.

Merrill Urges Lawmakers to Allow Early Election Voting


Connecticut's secretary of the state is urging legislators to allow voters to cast ballots early.

Denise Merrill, a Democrat, told members of the Government Administration and Elections Committee on Monday that Connecticut's voters are "being deprived of a valuable convenience." She notes how 38 other jurisdictions already permit voters to cast a ballot early.

Lawmakers are considering several bills that would allow voting before Election Day. One is a resolution for a state constitutional amendment that would remove the language limiting voting to one day.

Another proposed constitutional amendment would remove the language limiting when absentee ballots can be used. That's in addition to a bill that would allow more people to cast absentee ballots.

Merrill says many people are already using absentee ballots to avoid lines on Election Day.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

UConn Cautions Foreign Students to Avoid Travel Outside US


The University of Connecticut has advised its foreign students from the six countries addressed in President Donald’s Trump’s executive order on immigration not to travel outside of the country.

The revised executive order bars entry to the US from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for a 90-day period. However, it notes that travelers do not face the 90-day ban if they already hold valid visas.

Despite this, UConn cautions international students, scholars and any accompanying dependents from those countries to refrain from travel outside the US to avoid the risk of being denied reentry.

“We in the UConn community are fortunate to work in a place that offers us opportunities to engage with people from around the world, and we value our international students, scholars and staff immensely,” said Daniel Weiner, UConn’s vice president for global affairs, in a statement.

When the original travel ban went into effect Homeland Security officials scrambled to interpret how it was to be implemented and travelers were detained before being sent back overseas or blocked from getting on airplanes abroad. The order quickly became the subject of protests and legal challenges, and was ultimately put on hold last month by a federal judge in Washington state. That ruling was upheld by a federal appeals court.

The new ban was signed with changes meant to address the confusion and some of the legal concerns of the original order, though several of the original ban’s opponents have already called for repeal.

UConn officials said 87 people associated with UConn, excluding UConn health, are affected by the order. Most are from Iran, in graduate programs, visiting scholars, researchers, or dependents of those individuals.

More than 3,300 international students are enrolled at UConn for the 2016-2017 year.

More information for students is available through UConn’s website by clicking here. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'Muslim Ban 2.0': Travel Order Raises Fears Among Immigrants


President Donald Trump's administration rolled out a new travel ban aimed at overcoming the legal challenges of the first executive order, but intended to accomplish the same stated goal: keeping would-be terrorists out of the United States. The president’s revisions on Monday did little to halt criticism from Democrats and immigrants' advocates, who say the new travel order is as unconstitutional as the first order.

"We don't see any difference," Wilfredo Ruiz, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Florida, told NBC South Florida. He said the "purpose was to manipulate the order to make it appear legal." 

The new travel order differs from the first in several significant ways. This time around, the executive order doesn’t go into effect immediately, giving the world time to assess its impact and avoiding the chaos sparked by the old.

The revised order makes clear that U.S. green card holders are allowed to travel into the country, which was ambiguous in Trump’s original order. 

The executive order takes Iraq off the list of countries subjected to a 90-day travel ban. But it still bars the issuance of new visas to citizens from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Yemen. The ban no longer applies to people who have already obtained valid U.S. visas.

It also removes language that gave priority to refugees who are religious minorities in their home countries, a provision that critics say in effect gave Christians an advantage and excluded Muslims.

The revised ban has done little to quell fears of Muslims who live in the United States.

CAIR Florida's Ruiz, whose organization represents 700,000 Muslims in the state, said members are still scared to travel outside the U.S. and not be able to return or have their work visas not be honored. 

Many others are concerned about how the new travel ban will affect family members from the banned countries.

"It's heartbreaking to know that if, God forbid, my family needs to escape, that they now are not necessarily going to be welcomed," said Ramah Kudaimi, who was born in the U.S. to Syrian parents, NBC Washington reported.

According to NECN, Mohammed Al-Bardan's brother was hoping to come to the U.S. from Syria to study dentistry in Boston, a dream that he now may not fulfill. Al-Bardan is unable to visit his family in Syria because he is still waiting for his green card to be approved.

"He's hurting people trying to make a name for himself, and he's bringing a lot of pain to people," said Virginia resident Deanna Bayer.

Farbod Papen owns Saffron & Rose, a Persian ice cream shop in Los Angeles, California, that his grandfather opened nearly 40 years ago. Papen's grandfather immigrated to the U.S. from Iran in 1974. Today, Saffron & Rose is one of dozens of businesses in an enclave of Persian commerce in Westwood.

“Think about all the businesses that wouldn’t have started had this ban been in place four years ago," Papen said.

Outside the White House Monday evening, protesters gathered to express opposition to the new travel ban, calling it "Muslim ban 2.0."

Patricio Provitina, an Argentinian national who lives in D.C., said he hoped the president would hear the crowd and their messages, NBC affiliate WTOP reported.

“As an immigrant, as a Latino, I am completely opposed to what he is doing,” Provitina said.

The demonstrators were joined by the new leader of the Democratic National Committee, Tom Perez, who called on the protesters to continue to speak up about the immigration order.

“America is at its best when we are building bridges of opportunity, and not walls of distrust,” Perez said.  

While President Trump and his team say the order is vital to national security, others are worried about the impact on refugees. Part of the new executive order reduces the number of refugees coming to the U.S. from 110,000 to 50,000.

"We are breaking our promise to 60,000 refugees who we were going to bring to this country and now they're going to be left in danger and desperate," Chris George, executive director of Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven, told NBC Connecticut. "This comes at a time when the world is facing the largest refugee crisis since World War II."

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel mirrored George's sentiments in a statement, calling the ban a "betrayal of our nation's values that our government would slam the door on refugees fleeing war, death and unimaginable conditions, that our government would divide families, and that our government would attempt to exclude people based on their religion.”

New York's attorney general said he was ready to contest the order, while Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer demanded its repeal.

“A watered down ban is still a ban,” Schumer said. “Despite the administration’s changes, this dangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more, it is mean-spirited, and un-American. It must be repealed."

Photo Credit: AP

Train Carrying Oil, Acid Derails in New York; Leaking Fuel


A CSX freight train carrying sulfuric acid and other hazardous materials derailed Tuesday afternoon in Newburgh, with one of the train's locomotive off the tracks and onto an adjacent road. 

CSX said a locomotive was leaking fuel, but that none of the hazardous materials were spilled or leaking. 

The train has three locomotives and 77 freight cars in total, the company said, and was traveling from Selkirk, New York to Waycross, Georgia.

Besides the sulfuric acid, it was also carrying sodium hydroxide and corn oil, as well as cardboard and glass. 

Witnesses identified the location as River Road, near the line between Newburgh and New Windsor. It was not immediately clear if there were injuries.

Photos from the scene showed multiple tanker cars involved, power poles uprooted and a heavy police response. 

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, whose office is blocks from the derailment scene, is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and has been vocal about rail safety.

"While we don't yet know why the train derailed, we do know that outdated train cars barreling down the Hudson River carrying hazardous materials are literally a train wreck waiting to happen," he said in a statement. "We have to get smarter about how we transport crude oil, and invest in installing positive train control on all our trains." 

Photo Credit: Joni Dunning Armstrong
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Connecticut Scientist Predicts 'Difficult' Season for Lyme Disease


The northeast and Connecticut could be at greater risk for more cases of Lyme disease this year, according to the head of the state’s tick testing program.

“It does appear that this season is going to be particularly difficult based on our experience,” Dr. Goudarz Molaei said.

At the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, researchers tested a sample of 65 ticks submitted for testing and found half were carrying the bacteria that can cause Lyme disease.

“This is rather unusual and it spells trouble for the upcoming month,” said Molaei. "We usually do not receive this many ticks at this time of the year.”

A number of factors are contributing to the abundance of ticks in the northeast, Molaei said, which means a greater risk for more cases of Lyme disease.

“Climate change, unusually warm winter that we have experienced, high number of deer population as well as higher number of rodents,” he explained.

Both mice and deer can infect ticks that feed on them. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through ticks bites. It is easily treatable by antibiotics, but if not treated right away there can be more serious medical consequences.

“These rashes may develop to something serious, arthritis like, pain, head ache, joint pain and so on,” Molaei said.

Preventing ticks from creating a habitat around your house is one step Molaei said you should take now to protect yourself.

“And if they see rodents, active particularly this year in their backyard, they have to consult expert in order to come up with a solution,” Molaei said.

Wearing insect repellent and long sleeves are ways to reduce the risk of becoming infected when exposed to ticks.

“If they are bitten by any tick, CDC suggests they have to remain vigilant and alert for at least four weeks,” Molaei said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

International Women's Strike Aims to Help 'Marginalized'


When people around the world came together on Jan. 21 to speak out against misogyny in America, spectators gawked at pools of pink “pussy” hats and protest signs. Now, organizers are looking to make a similar splash through an International Women’s Strike on Wednesday.

“The time was right,” said Tithi Bhattacharya, associate professor at Purdue University and a member of the International Women’s Strike USA’s national planning committee. “This was an important opportunity for us to talk about feminism once more in this country in a very clear and politicized way.”

Employees will ditch work. Students will walk out of class. Some companies may halt operations in solidarity.

Bhattacharya and her colleagues have detailed a platform focused on six key issues: gender violence, reproductive rights, environmental justice, labor rights, the development of an anti-racist and anti-imperialist feminism, and full social provisioning. According to the group’s website, the organizers aim to represent and empower “women who have been marginalized and silenced by decades of neoliberalism,” from women of color to disabled, queer, and trans women.

But in an attempt to give a voice to some of the United States’ most underrepresented populations, the strike may put the women it means to defend at risk. During the "Day Without Immigrants" strike in mid-February, dozens of protesters were fired from their jobs, many of them restaurant workers or painters in low-income positions, NBC News reported.

“It is the vulnerable women that will struggle the most to participate, and of course that’s not something that’s lost on the organizers,” said Lauren Leader-Chivee, author and founder of women’s empowerment group, All In Together.

For those who cannot skip work, whether domestic or otherwise, there are alternatives. Megan Shade, lead organizer for Women’s International Strike Miami, said that women can stand for a few minutes at 6 p.m., though that implies a sedentary environment, which many manual workers do not have. Sympathizers can also wear red, either at home or on the job, though those with uniforms could be punished for breaking protocol.

Paulina Davis, vice chair of the New York City chapter of National Women’s Liberation and a member of the Women of Color Caucus at NWL, said some women are even striking by not going above and beyond at work on Wednesday, or by not smiling at their coworkers.

For those who choose not to report to their jobs despite possible consequences, Davis said, “It’s up to each individual woman to decide how she’s willing to strike, and to take into consideration the risks she wants to take.”

Experts cited Fight for 15, aimed at boosting the minimum wage, as a movement organized primarily by vulnerable demographics who were willing to lose their jobs for what they believed. They said the United States has a history of speaking out against poor labor conditions, if the cause is worth it.

Indeed, this is not the first women’s strike of its kind. For years, Global Women's Strike has organized protests on International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8. But on the heels of the Women’s March and with input from its leadership, "A Day Without A Woman" has garnered quite a following as the globe waits for a second act in a post-Trump system.

The strike coincides with International Women’s Day, inaugurated in 1909 to celebrate American workers who protested against unfair treatment at garment factories the year before. Domestically, the holiday has become more of a flowers and chocolates celebration in recent years, according to Bhattacharya. 

“It shouldn’t just be a sentimental day to look back at history and say, ‘Oh, look how far we’ve come,’ and pat ourselves on the back,” said Davis.

Mary Ebeling, sociology professor at Drexel University, noted that when she lived abroad, the day took a much more political tone. She chalked up some of the lack of action in the United States to its lower rates of unionization, which make it more difficult to protest against civil infractions. 

Unlike the women’s marches, the international strike was not founded with an explicitly anti-Trump agenda. Organizers from more than 50 countries got in contact in October 2016 to propose a global protest against mistreatment of women. But after President Donald Trump was elected a few weeks later, the strike took on a new significance. 

“We want everyone to be against Trump,” said Bhattacharya. “Anti-Trump is the sort of starting point of this movement.”

But, she added, the strike promotes “a core message that we’re not just against Trump, but we’re against the conditions that create Trump.” She wanted to make clear that “the alternative version to Trump cannot be a neoliberal version of Hillary Clinton.”

Regardless of the movement’s intentions, in practice, it has attracted anti-Trump sentiment. Shade decided to lead International Women’s Strike Miami when a fellow member of the Anti-Trump Action Committee approached her about the possibility. At Columbia University, a walk-out that will join the International Women’s Strike New York City march was organized by the student group Columbia Against Trump.

“To make the connections between the misogyny that a lot of people see in the Trump administration, it wasn’t much of a leap,” said Ebeling.

Davis distinguished between partisanship and politics and said that the strike did not appeal to a single party. When NWL organized its own strike during inauguration day, it meant to critique not only the incoming Trump administration, but also the Democratic establishment that had failed its members.

“The reality is that in building this movement, we also have to be truthful about those policies that are being put forth that specifically target the erosion of women’s rights,” Davis continued. “And so if that’s what’s coming out of one party disproportionately … we have to be honest about that and we do have to call that out.”

For Charmaine Yoest, senior fellow at American Values and former president and CEO of Americans United for Life, a platform that is unapologetically pro-choice is partisan and excludes many women. 

“Are pro-life women included?” she asked. “Are conservative women included? Are homemakers included? Or is this yet another masquerade for liberal feminist women to claim the mantle of women’s rights for themselves?”

Yoest also pointed out that the strike’s platform didn’t lend itself to a unified message.

“If you’re going to strike, you need a pretty clearly designed objective,” she said. She added that part of why the anti-abortion movement was making so much inroads was because its organizers had thought deeply about how best to communicate their outlook to the American public.

Ebeling countered that the idea of messaging is “a thing that is made by the media and by historians."

“I think it’s a lot to ask a large movement to have one issue and one way of presenting what they’re fighting for,” she continued. “If we’re going to have a movement based in justice, then it has to be intersectional.”

But Leader-Chivee noted that the majority of Americans don’t even know what “intersectional feminism” means, and “the anti-Trump and pro-liberal movement is going to need to get more focused.”

While the Women’s March provided Trump critics with much needed catharsis, Leader-Chivee said, “Doing regular mass demonstrations, I think, is not necessarily going to advance the aims of the folks who are participating.”

Just this week, she said, the travel ban and the Republicans’ proposed alternative to the Affordable Care Act both provided fodder for protest for the women’s movement. If the strikers chose one of those policies and fought against it instead of using vague rhetoric that covered a slew of issues, they might gain some ground.

“While there’s value in this collective action tomorrow, I think to really make progress, … the specifics are going to matter a lot,” she continued.

But Ebeling believed that organized bursts of action, like the strike and the march, are motivating young women to get engaged and are important. She cited one of her staffers who recently resigned to run for local office as evidence.

“They’re actually kind of galvanizing millions of women to become activists and to get involved in politics in ways that they probably could have never imagined before,” Ebeling said.

“This is one event, one mass action in a struggle to build and continue to build a strong women’s liberation movement,” Davis said. “I think there is room to continue to build on each of these issues in more focused ways.”

Davis added that tomorrow is “certainly not a beginning, and not an end.”

Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

2 Transported to Hospital Following Crash on Route 165 Griswold

Honeywell Flies Boy With Autism to Connecticut for Birthday


A boy with autism received a birthday celebration to remember.

Grandy Miller of Skeegan, Michigan, is seven years old and has autism. He loves fire alarms. He has even memorized the many makes and models of them.

When Grandy started making the sound of a fire alarm to feel save, a stranger left a negative note for his mother, Brittany Miller, at their local grocery story in August 2016. 

"Buy that kid a muzzle!", the note reads. 

The note went viral after Brittany posted it on Facebook, and it has prompted people and companies to be kind.

Honeywell, which makes fire alarms, joined in on the acts of kindness. The Northford-based company flew Grandy and his mother to Connecticut to give him a 7th birthday celebration he would never forget. 

“Connected with the mom and from there our distributor from Michigan helped facilitate to bring them here for his birthday to make it extra special,” said Dick Baur, the vice president of sales for Honeywell.

The birthday celebration began with a tour of Honeywell. Grandy checked out the dozens of fire alarm models and tested them out.

North Branford firefighters also visited him so that he could see their firetrucks.

Lastly, Granby was greeted with an old fashioned birthday party: a room filled with balloons, wrapped up toys and a cake in the shape of his favorite type of fire alarm. 

“I mean that note was so I guess it was such a shock and it was hurtful at first when I got it but now 8 months later it has been the best blessing in disguise that I could have ever imagine,” the boy's mom said. 

Miller and his mom said thank you to all of those who made his birthday a reality -- including the person who wrote the note.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

911 Call for Emaciated Autistic Boy's Death in Hartford Released


The 911 phone call a mother made in February before her severely autistic 17-year-old boy died in Hartford has been released.

"My 17-year-old son– I don't know what it is– but he might have gall-gall stones because he's been vomiting for the past 24 hours. Now his belly is bulging. But he hasn't urinated anything. I mean, I used to have gall stones before and I know what it feels like and how it looks like."

Seventeen-year-old Matthew Tirado was pronounced dead at 5:15 a.m. on Feb. 15, hours after he was brought to the hospital, and the medical examiner reached out to police to report some suspicious findings, according to Hartford Police.

Matthew Tirado’s mother, 33-year-old mother, Katiria Tirado, called 911 at 2:53 a.m. Tuesday and said her son was vomiting at an apartment on 519 Park Street and had “gall stones,” police said. Emergency crews responded to the home and brought Matthew to the Hartford Hospital.

Tirado was arrested the day after her son died and was charged with cruelty of a person.

When the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner called detectives, police began to investigate the incident as a possible homicide.

Hartford Police learned the 5-foot-9 teen weighed approximately 88 pounds, was severely autistic and had cuts; bruises on his arms, face and chest; and broken bones, Hartford police said.

Tirado said her son would eat uncontrollably, so she allegedly screwed cabinet doors shut and padlocked the refrigerator in order to "protect" her son, according to court documents.

Court documents revealed that for the month prior to her son’s death, Tirado would give him protein powder with meals because he kept losing weight. Instead of taking the 17-year-old to the hospital, Tirado would search the internet for remedies, according to documents.

"I want to know happened. I want to know why she did this if she did," the boy's father, Pedro Gomez, said. Gomez hadn't seen his son for six months.

Tirado's bond was set at $200,000 and she is expected to appear in court on Mar. 21.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Norwalk Student Arrested for Making Threats Towards Students, Staff


A 14-year-old has been arrested after making threats against other students and staff members at Brien McMahon High School.

On Tuesday, Norwalk police were contacted by administration at the school after the student made an illustration that was perceived as threatening towards other students and staff.

The student also made a list of students and staff who might be the subject of the threat.

After obtaining the illustration and list, the School Resource Officer and investigators from the Special Victims Unit began an investigation and determined the student did not have the means by which to carry out the threat.

The student was arrested and charged with 21 counts of Breach of Peace.

All of the individuals named on the list were made aware of the threat.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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