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Dog Food Recalled After Samples Test Positive for Euthanasia Drug


Party Animal has issued a nationwide recall of its Cocolicious dog food after lab tests of some products showed traces of the euthanasia drug pentobarbital.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, a retailer in Texas alerted Party Animal of the contamination after a customer presented two cans of dog food that tested positive for pentobarbital, a drug used for euthanasia mostly of dogs, cats, and horses.

The affected products include 13-ounce-cans of Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food (Lot #0136E15204 04) with a best by date of July 2019, and 13-ounce cans of Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food (Lot #0134E15 237 13) with a best by date August 2019. The company said the food had been manufactured and distributed in 2015.

Party Animal contacted two retailers that may have sold the customer the food and asked them to remove all remaining cans from these lots from shelves. Pet owners who have cans with the recalled lot numbers to throw them away or return them to the place of purchase for a full refund.

The company said there was one report of a pet who experienced discomfort, but there have been no deaths reported.

"The safety of pets is and always will be our first priority. We sincerely regret the reports of the discomfort experienced by the pet who consumed this food," the company said in a statement.

Photo Credit: FDA

Little Green Men? Alien Prank Calls Flood New ICE Hotline


Reports of space aliens and UFOs have flooded the telephone lines at Immigration and Customs Enforcement's newly launched VOICE hotline, established Wednesday through an executive order, which aims to provide public information and resources to the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, NBC news reported.

The calls are part of a protest campaign started on Twitter by Alex McCoy, 28, who encouraged others online to call the hotline and report encounters with extraterrestrial beings.

"I thought this was a chance to push back on how Trump has demonized the immigrant community. [The idea] really took off," McCoy told NBC News.

ICE spokesperson Bryan Cox confirmed to NBC News that the office received alien-related prank calls. He said additional operators will be added if future data reveals long wait times.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Man Arrested for Setting Norwich Apartment Building on Fire


One man accused of burning a Norwich apartment building has been arrested for arson. 

Daniel G. Elliot-Villarreal, 28, has been charged with first-degree arson and criminal mischief. 

Residents were taken to the hospital after fire broke out on the first floor of a home on McKinley Avenue in Norwich and 10 people have been displaced on April 20. 

The fire cased $50,000 in damages in the four-family residence. Nine adults and a child were displaced. 

Eight people were in the building at the time of the fire and three suffered smoke inhalation and transported to the William W. Backus Hospital for treatment. Two dogs and one cat died in the fire.

Two Norwich firefighters required medical attention for minor injuries. 

Elliot-Villarreal was one of the people transported to the hospital after being rescued from his burning apartment. He was later transported from Backus to Bridgeport Hospital for a higher level of care.

An investigation found that the fire ad started in Elliot-Villarreal's apartment and ruled it incendiary. 

Elliot-Villarreal's bond was set at $100,000. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

'I Finished Her': Florida Man Beat Wife to Death With Pipe Wrench


A Hollywood man beat his wife to death with a pipe wrench while their four children were home after learning she was pregnant with another man's baby, police said.

Claude Sejour, 48, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of premeditated homicide in the killing of 40-year-old Marie Carmel Joseph, Hollywood Police said.

Authorities said an officer responded to the couple's home on the 5900 block of Thomas Street Wednesday night after Sejour called 911 and said he killed his wife and was waiting outside for police.

An officer found Sejour outside the home with blood on his hands and cheek, according to a police report. Sejour told the officer that his wife had called her boyfriend, put the phone on speaker and the boyfriend revealed she was carrying his child, the report said.

"I did it. I finished her and called the police and went outside. I'm not crazy," Sejour told the officer, according to the report.

Inside the home officers found Joseph's body. She had severe trauma to her face and head, police said. Sejour told investigators that he hit her with a pipe wrench during an altercation.

The couple's four children, who range in age from 17 to 4, were also inside the home. The children are staying with a family member, the report said.

Sejour was being held without bond Thursday, Broward jail records showed. Attorney information wasn't available.

Photo Credit: Broward Sheriff's Office

Arrest in Massive New Haven Explosives Bust


Police have arrested a 49-year-old man after a large amount of explosives was found in a home in New Haven.

Emergency crews found hundreds of pounds of commercial-grade explosives in a home in New Haven that included the same types of explosive material used during the Boston Marathon bombing.

Police responded to 35 Westminster St. around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a domestic incident and responding officers found so many explosives that local officials said they could have leveled all the houses in the area had they gone off.

Pasquale Criscio was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with illegal manufacturing of explosives and bombs, illegal possession of explosives, illegal possession and storage of fireworks and risk of injury to a minor.

The risk of injury to a minor charge stemmed from the fact that there were a 15-year-old and a 6-year-old children in the house along with the explosive materials, police said.

Criscio lives in the house, but is not the homeowner, according to police.

"We're talking several hundreds of pounds of black powder that you can obtain legally, but with all the other chemicals that were there, rightfully so, they elevated it to an explosive manufacturing factory," said New Haven Fire Chief John Alston Jr., who gave credit to the officer who noticed the substantial amount of explosives and acted quickly. 

On Wednesday evening, the New Haven Police bomb squad, as well as state police, were called in and authorities determined there was no imminent public hazard and the house was secured overnight until crews obtained a search warrant Thursday.

During a news conference on Thursday afternoon, officials said the explosives were found throughout the home, as well as in storage outside.  

"This was not stored in any organized way. There are piles and piles in virtually every room of this home. This was a tinderbox waiting to go," Officer David Hartman said.

Alston said they had concerns about heat, friction and shock impact that could cause the materials to explode.

"It's very close to other residences, so you could have had a major catastrophe had that officer not given the heads up right away," he said.

The investigation is still ongoing.

"There's a lot in that house. There's a lot for investigators to go through, so this is going to take some time," Hartman said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Connecticut Couple Stumped in Tree Removal Contract Dispute


A Connecticut couple is in a dispute with a tree removal contractor who they said didn’t finish the job.

Ted and Edie Sowa were excited to start building their retirement home; a tranquil log cabin by the lake. Before starting construction, all they needed were some trees cleared from the lot.

The Sowa’s solicited bids through a community forum and in January and signed a contract with the owner of one tree service, who said he could get started right away and finish in two weeks.

“It sounded perfect. I was so happy,” Ted Sowa told NBC Connecticut Responds he was initially delighted with the contractor’s timeline.

They accepted the contractor’s $3,500 bid for the job and agreed to pay half of that upfront as a deposit. However, the completion date listed on the bid passed, they said, with no communication from the contractor. Worried when they couldn’t reach him and unable to check on the lot earlier, the Sowa’s visited their property three weeks later.

With progress weeks behind deadline, the Sowa’s were dismayed to find some trees felled on top of other trees and brush and, they said, it didn’t appear any trees or brush had been cut and stacked for fuel as the bid specified.

“My stomach sunk- sunk to the ground. How could he do that?” Ted Sowa recounted.

When the Sowa’s demanded a refund, the contractor told the couple they owed him more money for the work he said he completed. Both sides are threatening legal action to recoup money they believe they’re owed.

There are few standards and guidelines specific to cutting trees or tree service businesses in Connecticut. Contractors do not need a state license to cut trees, and permitting rules vary from town to town.

The state Department of Consumer Protection has some tips to help residents make sure they get the work they expect:

  • Request quotes from multiple companies to help hone in on what to expect in terms of pricing, and what may be considered standard services.
  • Contact local, established businesses with reviews and references residents can check out on their own.
  • Make sure the contractor has a valid certificate of insurance and is clear about who will pay for any damage, whether it’s to their equipment, their property, or their neighbor’s property.

“Read your contract, get references, make sure you know what you’re signing before you sign it. Ask all your questions that you have so you don’t end up in a place where you’re unsatisfied with the work someone does,” Lora Rae Anderson, the director of communications for the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), told NBC Connecticut.

The Sowa’s have filed a complaint with the state attorney general’s office. In the meantime, they’re looking for a different service to continue the work and clean up the mess.

“So far, it’s got a little snag going, that’s all. We’ll get through it,” Ted Sowa said.

Anyone experiencing a problem with or have any concerns about the health of trees on your property can consult an arborist. The state’s Department of Energy & Environmental Protection does license arborists, who have knowledge pertaining to different species of trees and insects. To find a DEEP licensed arborist, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Mitchell College Student Beaten With Crowbar-like Object: Police


A Mitchell College student was hospitalized after he was hit in the head with a crowbar-like object, but the person responsible is still at large, according to New London Police.

About ten people, students and non-students, were involved in the brawl on the New London college campus on April 7 just before 1 a.m., said Acting New London Police Chief Peter Reichard.

“I heard screaming, which coming from a college, I thought it would be normal. It would be some sort of party or people being loud and obnoxious. But it sounded kinda more like a devious scream. Like a higher pitch, I would say. It just sounded odd, it sounded different,” described Christian Kai-Nielsen, a junior at Mitchell College.

Kai-Nielsen heard people scurrying and then looked out his window to find police cars filling the road. 

“Obviously the first thing I think of is, ‘Wow, something dangerous happened.’ But I didn't think to that extent,” Kai-Nielsen said. “Because normally we have police here for like, minor things.”

The group of people, who were mostly under 21 years old, were involved in a fight on campus, said Reichard. That’s where a 20-year-old male seemed to be beaten in the head with a crowbar-type object. An email sent later that day to the college community confirmed it was outside the residence halls on upper campus.

Officers are reviewing surveillance video, conducting interviews and still looking for the person responsible for the violent attack.

“A local nightclub that was hosting an under 21 party,” Reichard said. “Something transpired at that party, which was not too far from the campus. And after that, the assault. They confronted each other back on the campus of the school.”

Mitchell College freshman Breanna Gagnon said she was at that club that night, but saw nothing there. She did hear yelling when she got home and said she alerted her resident assistant (RA), who called campus safety.

“There was a lot of yelling so I told the RA and she went outside and told us to ‘just stay inside.’ And I was worried about my friends,” she said.

Mitchell College released a statement that reads, in part, “The College has a strong security presence in place and responded very quickly to the incident. The College will also continue its ongoing commitment to implementing security measures and will respond vigorously at times of heightened risk.”

The school said Campus Life saw the group enter Mitchell College and immediately alerted Campus Safety, who responded within 63 seconds. According to call logs, New London Police were on scene within two minutes.

The school also sent out emails to students and staff about the incident, hosted informational meetings and increased security. New London Police, Connecticut State Police and campus safety officers monitored the entrances to campus in the days following the assault.

“They definitely stepped up what they’re doing to protect us,” Gagnon said.

A spokesperson for Mitchell College said the school has maintained close contact with the victim and his family. The school will continue to provide support as he begins to return to classes.

Safety records reviewed back to 2010 show no similar instances, according to school representatives, who call the incident “a rare occurrence,” in a statement.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Best Day to Buy Gas in Connecticut Is Monday: Study


If you don’t need to fill up your gas tank immediately, you might want to wait until Monday to go to the gas station because that’s the day the prices are lowest in Connecticut, according to a new study.

Gasoline prices are the most expensive they’ve been in more than 19 months and will continue to increase with summer driving season approaching, according to GasBuddy, which analyzed three years-worth of fuel price data

They found that average prices are lowest on Monday in Connecticut, as least this year. 

GasBuddy.com lists the average price of gas in Connecticut as $2.51. Check the gas map to check the differences in prices at gas stations near you.

Thursday is the worst day to buy gas in some states, but the worst day to fill up in Connecticut is Saturday. 

“The rise in average prices towards the weekend could be to blame on an influential report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued weekly on Wednesdays, which could push prices higher the day after, depending on if data in its report is as expected or a surprise,” Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy, said in a statement. “Since commodities trading isn’t active over the weekend, it typically allows stations to ‘let it ride’ over the weekend, culminating in lower prices by the start of the work week.”

They said, should every driver in the United States buy gasoline on Thursday for an entire year, they’d collectively spend an extra $1.1 billion versus filling up on Monday.

In 2017 so far, Monday is the best day of the week in 23 states.

Photo Credit: GasBuddy.com

Groton Man Accused of Threatening Woman With AR-15


A Groton man who was making sexual advances towards a woman who came back to is home is accused of threatening her with a shotgun, police said.

A woman reported that she had met Alexander Pickett at a bar in New London just after midnight on March 9. The two went back to Pickett's residence on Buddington Road. 

The woman said while she was at Pickett's home, he pulled out a shot gun but put it away after she asked him to do so.

Quickly after putting the gun away, he began to make sexual advances towards the victim. When this, the woman said she hit Pickett in the face with a drinking glass which resulted in cuts to their hand, according to Groton Police. 

Pickett then grabbed his shotgun again and started to point it at the woman, saying he would shoot her. The victim begged for him not to kill her and eventually convinced him to go to the gas station to get her cigarettes, police said. 

At the gas station, the victim called a taxi to come pick her up. 

On March 10, police located Pickett at home and executed a search warrant at the residence. Groton Police found an AR-15 lower receiver.

Pickett turned himself into police on Thursday. He is charged with threatening, reckless endangerment, possession of an assault weapon and carrying a firearm while under the influence.

His bond was set at $100,000. 

Photo Credit: Groton Police

GOP Provides Budget with No Tax Increases


Republicans in the General Assembly's House and Senate provided their vision on what spending should like for the next two years.

Their spending plan is a two $40 billion plan that spends $300 million less than Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget that proposed back in February and it removes some of the most controversial elements that the governor had proposed.

The budget includes no tax increases, maintains the state's payments for teacher pensions without shifting costs to cities and towns, changes the way local education is funded which is aimed at sending more money to cities and towns.

Republicans say their budget should be the starting point for negotiations with Democrats, which they claim weren't serious over the past two months.

“We can be a better state than what we have but we got to get real with the consequences facing our state," said Sen. Len Fasano, the Republican President Pro Tem. "We have to get real with what we have and what we see and not turn a blind eye and get to business. It starts now.”

There are some cutbacks, however, in the GOP plan. Even though it spends less than the Malloy proposal, it withholds more than $300 million that had been reserved for cities and towns, meaning operating budgets would need to be adjusted. It also cut property tax breaks for middle class families without children, saving $80 million in the budget, but taking $200 away from hundreds of families that claimed the break.

The GOP budget was unveiled on the same day news circulated that income tax receipts are down by a combined $1.1 billion over the next two fiscal years. The update could prove to be devastating to already fragile state finances facing a $3.5 billion budget over the next two-year cycle.

Malloy's spokesperson Kelly Donnelly said in a statement that the GOP plan, "appears to be an earnest effort to balance our state budget."

Democratic House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz said he wants to put partisanship aside and come up with a bipartisan solution.

"Let’s just stop, no political stuff, no reelection stuff, let’s just get into a room and do what’s right for the state of Connecticut.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Lembo Enters Already Heated Governor's Race


Connecticut Comptroller Kevin Lembo entered the 2017 governor's race Thursday, becoming the third Democrat vying to replace Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Lembo announced that he would for an exploratory committee, aimed at raising enough money through small contributions to qualify for public financing.

The focus for Lembo on his first official campaign day was to showcase what could look like a campaign aimed at middle class workers and building the state's economy.

He said the state's strategy for both crafting a budget and recruiting business has been problematic due to revenue issues that have led to difficult decisions.

“It’s really hard to grow when you don’t what the rules are going to be and you don’t know what the path forward really looks like," Lembo said.

Lembo, who is in charge of the state's checkbook, has also taken a stand against initiatives of the Malloy administration. He voted against a package of bond projects that included $22 million for Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund, based in Westport.

“I don’t think it’s a really good idea to take money and shovel it over to hedge funds, the really wealthy hedge funds in the world, when we’re not focusing on middle class job growth.”

The same week Lembo announced his candidacy, Democrat Chris Mattei unveiled an a pledge to not take any lobbyist money. He asked all candidates to sign on.

During an interview, Mattei said of the pledge, “This, to me, should be an easy thing, right?" Mattei asked. "It shouldn’t be hard to say that as people who are considering public office, the only people we want to represent are the average people who are voting for us.”

Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton, a Republican who has also formed a statewide exploratory committe criticized Mattei for not prosecuting more Democrats when he worked in the Office of the US Attorney, and also asked him to sign on to a different pledge to not raise taxes if elected, and to look out for the rights of law-abiding gun owners.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

'Major, Major Conflict' Possible With North Korea: Trump


President Donald Trump warned on Thursday that the U.S. could be headed toward a "major, major conflict" with North Korea over the country's nuclear and missile programs, NBC News reported.

The president spoke in an interview with Reuters, adding, "We'd love to solve things diplomatically, but it's very difficult."

Trump also said he hoped the North's 33-year-old leader, Kim Jong-Un, is "rational." The president said taking over a regime at a young age is "a very hard thing to do."

The interview comes just hours after a North Korean propaganda outlet released a video simulating an attack on America, with the White House and aircraft carriers superimposed with targets.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP Images, Files

Death of Infant Found in Bridgeport Ruled Homicide


The death of an infant found in a Bridgeport apartment building has been ruled a homicide, police said. 

Bridgeport Police said they responded to a report of an unresponsive baby boy on April 24 at 11:15 a.m.

The baby was transported to Bridgeport Hospital before being transferred to Yale-New Haven hospital for advanced care. He passed away the following day. 

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner performed an autopsy and classified the infant's death as a homicide on April 26.

The investigation is ongoing as detetives continue to process evidence and interview witnesses. 

The victims identity will not be released due to his age.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call Bridgeport Police at 203-576-TIPS (8477).

Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim to Run For Governor: Sources


Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim is taking a chance at a statewide office, sources tell NBC Connecticut.

The one-time federal convict will announce plans on Friday for a campaign exploratory committee with his eyes on the highest state office: governor.

Ganim won the Bridgeport mayor's race in 2015. He held the job from 1991 until 2003. 

The mayor spent seven years in a federal prison on corruption charges until his release  in 2010. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Truck Carrying Strawberries Overturns on I-95 North Ramp in Old Saybrook


A tractor-trailer carting strawberries crashed on Route 9 South in Old Saybrook.

The exit 1 ramp to I-95 North was closed, but has reopened.

Police said the truck, which is carrying 30,000 pounds of strawberries, was on its side, but it has been turned back to its upright position.

No injuries are reported. 

Traffic is being diverted to I-95 South and Consumer Protection was been called to the scene.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Death of Woman in Torrington Ruled a Homicide


The medical examiner has ruled the death of a 79-year-old woman in Torrington a homicide.

Phyllis Gervais died of blunt-impact injuries to her head and upper extremity, according to the office of the chief medical examiner.   

Police found Gervais early Saturday morning. They responded to a home on Cider Mill Crossing around 4:15 a.m. Saturday to check on an unresponsive person and determined the death was suspicious. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Strong Thunderstorms Possible Tomorrow Morning


Temperatures were quite warm today. Inland areas climbed into the low to middle 80s, the warm weather was even experienced along the shoreline where temperatures reached the middle 70s.

Stepping out this evening? The weather will be quite pleasant with partly cloudy skies and temperatures falling into the upper 50s and low 60s.

We're monitoring the threat for strong thunderstorms early tomorrow morning. Here's a look at 'First Alert Future Radar' which shows a line of storms moving through the state.

Some areas could see lightning, gusty winds, and even small hail.

We're forecasting the storms to move into the state between 4 and 6 a.m. The storms will move through the state rather quick and should exit by 9 a.m. 

The weather will turn gorgeous by tomorrow afternoon. A wind out of the west will allow temperatures even along the beaches to reach the upper 70s.

Here's a look at our forecasted high temperatures for tomorrow.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Plan for Third Casino Moves Forward After East Windsor Vote


Plans to build a third casino in Connecticut are moving forward after residents of East Windsor rejected an ordinance, submitted by petition, that town leaders said could have shut down casino plans. 

During a town meeting, residents debated the proposed ordinance that would have required a minimum distance between a gaming establishment and a state-licensed residential treatment facility, which many believed the proposed casino would violate. 

"This proposed ordinance is about doing something the town already does plenty of: regulating what, where and how certain private and business activities can be carried out in our neighborhoods," said Brianna Stronk, who submitted the petition. 

"Do we really want a gaming facility within a 10-minute walk of a facility that currently provides mental health and addiction support?" asked another East Windsor resident who was in favor of the ordinance. 

Town Counsel Joshua Hawks-Ladds said the proposed ordinance was illegal and that it would invite lawsuits and other problems down the road. 

"What happens once the casino is built and there's a state order to build a facility? You’re going to have a million dollar empty building on your hands?" Hawks-Ladds said. 

Supporters of the ordinance argued that it wasn't about eliminating the casino, but others said that's exactly what it boiled down to. 

At the end of the debate, town residents lined up to vote to accept or reject the ordinance. If they had accepted the ordinance, it would have gone to referendum. The proposed ordinance was rejected, 198 to 112. 

The Mohegan and Mashantucket Pequot tribal partnership -- MMCT Venture – wants to build a casino at the site of the abandoned Showcase Cinema and Wal-Mart off Interstate 91 in East Windsor. 

"While we think it is unfortunate that the residents of East Windsor have been denied a chance to voice their opinion on hosting a casino in their town, the news of the past few days regarding the state's finances has been eye-opening. Given the magnitude of the growing-by-the-day fiscal crisis, it would seem like a really bad idea to jeopardize a guaranteed revenue stream of $250 million a year -- which is what the Attorney General has said might happen if the Legislature approves a casino in East Windsor," Uri Clinton, senior vice president and legal counsel for MGM Resorts International, said in a statement. 

The state legislature still needs to approve the building of a casino.

Photo Credit: Tecton Architects

Fire Closes Route 20 West Near Bradley

Bristol Girl Reported Missing After Going to Carnival Found


Police have canceled the Silver Alert for a 14-year-old Bristol girl who had been reported missing after leaving home to go to a carnival. She has been located and she is safe.

Police said Monica Da Silva left home around 3:30 p.m. Thursday. She told her mother she was going to the local carnival on North Main Street, then left her Chestnut Street home.

The alert was canceled just after 8 a.m. 

Photo Credit: Silver Alert
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