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'He Didn't Die Alone': Man Tries to Save Tornado Victim


A tornado that ripped through Canton, Texas, Saturday night lifted a black pick-up truck off a highway and dropped it more than 200 yards away in an empty field, killing the driver.

Brandon Edwards was driving on Texas Highway 64 with his wife and two young daughters when the tornado touched down about a mile in front of him. Edwards said he could “clearly” see the Dodge Ram flying through air.

Edwards, a Marine with medical training, said he knew he had to help and ran to the pick-up after the tornado had passed.

"There were barbed-wire fences ripped across through here. I didn't look at any of it. I just ran through it,” Edwards said. NBC 5’s Texas Thunder Truck captured video of several bystanders running toward the truck to help the victim.

The driver of the Dodge Ram was trapped in the truck and critically injured. Edwards said the injuries "were not survivable from the beginning."

The man in the truck could only say one word.

"He said, 'Help,' is all he said. I just kept saying, 'Hang on, please stay with us. If you can speak, speak to me," Edwards said, choking back tears. “I tried to keep him alive for a minute and see if I can get him at least some help."

Edwards said when he realized the man wasn’t going to survive, he decided to remain by his side anyways. The Marine said he wanted the unidentified man to know that he didn't die alone. Edwards said he is also hoping to find the man’s wife.

"Let her know that her husband did not die in that vehicle alone last night. That there were people trying to help him," Edwards said.

Edwards said he’s a disabled veteran. His dream is to be a firefighter, but he can't because of his injuries from military service. When we asked what it is that makes him run in, he said, "I still want to help."

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Witness to East Windsor Plane Crash Saw Plane Shaking: NTSB


A witness to the airplane crash in East Windsor on April 18 that killed 61-year-old Robert Plourde, of Ellington, and 51-year-old George Janssen II, of Vernon, said the plane was flying low and shaking before the crash, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The two men killed in the crash were in Plourde's 1946 single-engine Luscombe 8A when it crashed on Rolocut Road, by Wells Road, about half an hour after taking off.

A witness who was standing at the departure end of the runway told investigators that the plane seemed to be lower and slower than most planes as it passed overhead, the report says.

Then he saw the plane shaking and tipping left and right before making a "drastic, sharp, and abrupt" turn north. Then, the witness said, he no longer heard the engine and the plane "dropped like a stone."

Plourde and Janssen were pronounced dead at the scene, according to officials.

The NTSB report says said Janssen, who had a private pilot certificate, had been sitting in the left seat, and Plourde, who also had a private pilot certificate, was in the right cockpit seat.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Dad, Daughter Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide in Norwalk: PD


A father and daughter were found dead after a standoff on Wilton Avenue in Norwalk, according to police, and they said it appears the 55-year-old man shot his 33-year-old daughter in the head sometime yesterday or last night, then shot himself this morning.

Norwalk police were called to a home on Wilton Avenue at 12:32 a.m. Monday after Melissa Wilkinson's coworkers found her dead, according to police.

They had been concerned because she did not show up for work Sunday evening, so they went to the house, looked through the window and saw her lying on the floor, covered in blood, police said. 

After kicking in the door, they found she was dead, according to police.

They also saw a man sitting on a couch, holding a gun, and mumbling to himself, police said.

Police identified him as Melissa's father, 55-year-old Mark Wilkinson, and said he had been staying with his daughter at her home.

Police tried to speak with him, but he refused. A standoff ensued for several hours until officers heard a gunshot.

When they sent in a camera, they saw Mark Wilkinson was dead, police said.

Neighbors were evacuated from their homes to a shelter at the fire department during the standoff. Around 7 a.m. police said residents could return home.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Tracking Showers and Thunderstorms Tonight


Severe thunderstorms continue to move through Pennsylvania and upstate New York. The thunderstorms will continue to move east towards Connecticut.

Most of the thunderstorm activity will weaken by the time the storms reach Connecticut. The area that has the highest chance for thunderstorms tonight is Litchfield county. 

Here's a look at 'Future Radar' which shows scattered showers and thunderstorms later tonight.

Scattered showers will continue through the late night hours and into first the early morning hours tomorrow. 

The showers and thunderstorms are all part of a cold front that continues to move through the northeast. 

Winds will really ramp up tomorrow morning/afternoon following the passage of the cold front. We're forecasting sustained winds of 15 to 30 mph.

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Eminent Domain A Possibility In New Haven Redevelopment


The City of New Haven acquired several properties using eminent domain as part of the Ninth Square redevelopment in the 90s.

The Chairman of the Redevelopment Agency wants the city to take the same approach to revitalize other New Haven neighborhoods.

“That would be an excellent idea, ok because like I said, this right here is eyesore,” Gary Woodson said, pointing to a boarded up home.

Woodson said it is frustrating to walk by rundown properties in his neighborhood near Whalley Avenue.

“If a landlord can’t keep their property up, ok they don’t need it, that’s all, they don’t need it,” Woodson said. “They should get it taken away from them.”

“Minor city ordinances, minor fines are not going to stop a landlord who is making money by running down a property,” said Brian McGrath, the city’s acting chairman of the Redevelopment Agency.

When an owner refuses to sell at fair market value, McGrath wants the Redevelopment Agency to bring back the power of eminent domain to take over underdeveloped properties, like boarded up buildings and empty lots.

“I don’t believe that any properties are going to be taken without the neighborhood support,” McGrath said.

McGrath wants to try this plan in the Chapel West, Whalley and Dwight neighborhoods, which all have elected bodies representing the people who live there. He said the agency would work with them to identify properties that are neglected or a nuisance.

“If they want to fix a particular bad, blighted sight in their neighborhood, they would have this tool, the city would have this tool,” McGrath said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Montville Residents Frustrated With Vacant Properties


Montville residents said, while they are used to living next to eyesores, they will never get used to break-ins and squatters at abandoned homes in their neighborhood.  

CT Financial Partners LLC owns 37 properties along Derry Hill Road, Massapeag Side Road and Driscoll Drive, according to town records. The company owes more than $1 million in taxes and hasn’t paid since 2010, according to tax collector Jerl Casey.

“My house has been broken into, my car has been broken into and it’s all because of this abandoned house next door,” said Brenda Chopp, who lives next door to a vacant home on Derry Hill Road.

After living on the street for 31 years, Chopp said thieves have stripped abandoned house next door of copper and the siding to the garage. She said the home is prone to people squatting or hunting on the land. 

“Even though I have a security system now, when I leave my front door every day, I’m wondering who’s next door watching,” Chopp said, adding only recently the home was boarded up.

Montville Mayor Ronald McDaniel said the town could see some of that tax money as early as the end of June.

“(CT Financial Partners LLC is) in the middle of a refinancing program right now, which is being held up by some pending litigation,” McDaniel said. “I’ve been assured by the owner that once the refinancing goes through, he’s going to pay the taxes in full.”

If the company falls through on its promise to pay taxes in full, McDaniel said he’ll take action, even if it means foreclosure.

The company has been promising to pay, “since I’ve taken office and I’m sure before that,” the mayor said. McDaniel took office about five years ago.

The properties have been through several owners over the years. There had been talk of a golf course, condos, retail space and a marina, but no plans came to fruition. 

The mayor said the town’s blight ordinance also limits what the town is able to do with the properties, but police presence has been increased in that area.

NBC Connecticut called the attorneys representing CT Financial Partners LLC but have not heard back at the time this story was broadcast.

A man living on Massapeag Side Road, who wanted to remain anonymous, lives between two vacant properties. He’s most concerned about selling his home and getting a good value for it, let alone any buyer interest. He also said the empty houses have attracted raccoons.

But two men on Driscoll Drive said they don’t mind the vacancies behind their houses. Ray Wehling said he mows the properties’ lawns to keep out ticks and make it look like someone’s living there.

Plus, he enjoys the quiet. As does neighbor Lawrence Tirrell, who also doesn’t mind the empty lot.

“Hope it remains that way,” Tirrell said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Mass. Residents Arrested for Riding ATV's, Dirt Bikes in Hartford


Over the last two weekends, police have arrested a total of four people who came from Massachusetts and brought their ATV’s or dirt bikes to ride them in Hartford, which is illegal to do on city roadways. 

“It is illegal both under state law and by local ordinance to ride these quads, these ATV’s on our city streets and our cops are going to be very, very serious about enforcing that law," Hartford's mayor Luke Bronin said.

But those arrested aren’t local and police are concerned that riders are coming from across state lines.

“All residents from Springfield Mass that are taking UHaul in both cases driving them down here in Hartford, unloading them in the city and then riding around and heading back," said Deputy Chief Brian Foley with the Hartford Police Department.

NBC Connecticut saw a rider on an ATV riding along Curcombe Street on Monday afternoon. We flagged him down to speak with us but he rode off.

It's a similar problem police face when they want to speak with riders, but they are quick to leave the scene.

Carmen Plaza said they’re dangerous for drivers, like her, especially if they're driving recklessly.

“They get into the way of traffic, I don’t know I get so scared when I see them, I really do,” Plaza said. 

Police told NBC Connecticut the new trend has sparked their attention and this weekend they plan to be out in full force.

Lewis Canby, of Hartford, who is a fan of dirt bikes, said there’s another idea the city could consider.

“I think that they should be allowed to do it but only when, like, say you get a permit or something to do it on a certain road you know something like that somewhere where it’s sanctioned," said Canby.

The mayor said his focus is getting bikes like these off the streets of Hartford.

“We really need residents to make sure that they're calling with tips, especially if they know where these vehicles are being stored or kept," Bronin said.

The four people arrested over the last two weekends have been given a promise to appear.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Group of Teens Attack Trinity College Students on Campus


A group of teenagers allegedly attacked a group of Trinity College students during an outdoor event at St. Anthony Hall on Saturday night, according to the school.

The school said a group of approximately 20 to 25 teenagers, who were not Trinity students, gained access to a registered outdoor party at St. Anthony Hall at 10:45 p.m. on Saturday. 

When Trinity students asked the teenagers to leave, they were assaulted by the group. Trinity students did report injuries but no one was hospitalized, the school said. 

A Hartford Police Officer hired to assist campus personnel during campus patrols was called to the scene but the teens had fled, according to the school. 

In a letter sent out to the Trinity College community, Dean of Campus Life Joe DiChristina and Director of Campus Safety said:

As this semester concludes, we will be especially vigilant regarding campus safety and have put in place the following additional security:

  1. A Security officer (contracted security personnel) will remain in the area of Vernon and Summit Streets throughout the evening and early morning hours.
  2. A Campus Safety officer has been assigned to work specifically in the area where the assault took place. The officer will make frequent walk-throughs of Ogilby Hall (the residence hall adjacent to St. Anthony Hall) to verify that doors are secure and students are safe.
  3. Two additional Securitas personnel will be hired for the remainder of the semester and will increase patrols of campus and around the perimeter of campus.
  4. Trinity will continue to contract with HPD to have an officer work Friday and Saturday evenings. Throughout the week, HPD will increase patrols of the area.

 Students may also call the Campus Safety emergency line at (860) 297-2222.

Police are investigating the incident. 

Photo Credit: Justin Fortier

Lottery Failed to Report 5 Card Cash Fraud Concerns: Report


Connecticut lottery officials were aware of the potential for cheating with the 5 Card Cash game before the game was even instituted, but did nothing, according to a new report provided by the Department of Consumer Protection.

Tickets for the Connecticut lottery’s 5 Card Cash Game haven’t been sold since an investigation into fraud concerns began in 2015. The state learned from retailers that there were concerns over cheating in the cash poker-style game that allowed people to manipulate the tickets to win. 

On Tuesday, lawmakers revisited the issue in a public hearing at an information hearing. The Public Safety and Security Committee invited the public to discuss the investigation into the game as well as the severance package awarded to the former Connecticut lottery CEO Anne Noble.

According to the new investigation report, Connecticut Lottery Corporation officials were warned of concerns from other state lotteries about the potential for fraud with games set up in the same style as 5 Card Cash, but did not pass that information along to DCP’s Gaming Division.

During testing before the game’s launch, lottery officials discovered bet details could be seen by retailers on customer history screens, and the lottery took steps to monitor retailer activity as a result. However, this information was not passed along to DCP.

The DCP report states that as early as July or August of 2014 the lottery knew there were issues with bet details because of the information provided on the customer history screens, but no action was taken.

Eventually retailers found there was a way to essentially find out of a bet was a winner, then slow down the system and avoid losing tickets.

Despite lottery officials knowing about potential problems over a year before, the first report to DCP that there may be an issue with 5 Card Cash until October 29, 2015. That November the game was temporarily suspended and the lottery said it had plans to install new software to enhance security and eliminate the problem.

Multiple lottery merchants were arrested on cheating accusations, and lottery officials estimated some retailers earned tens of thousands of dollars through the fraud. Some of the money was recovered.

Iinvestigation led to a permanent suspension of the game. The state concluded that some lottery officials were in violation of reporting requirements and that there was cause to question the “suitability” of certain lottery employees.

Anne Noble, who was one of the officials under investigation, announced her resignation in August 2016 and officially surrender her license and stepped down in September. However, she stayed on as a paid adviser to the lottery board for several more months. 

"DCP takes the investigation into the 5 Card Cash game incredibly seriously," said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull in a statement. "We remain ready, willing, and able to provide the information we can to the legislature and the public. Our investigation is coming to a close and we will provide further information upon its completion. I want to thank our gaming division for working so diligently on this matter, and the public for their patience as we work to finish our investigation as thoroughly as possible."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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Expenses, Alzheimer's, ISIS: What the New Budget Deal Covers


The $1 trillion-plus deal that Republicans and Democrats worked out to keep the government funded through Sept. 30 averts a government shutdown and also contains a variety of smaller, but still noteworthy, appropriations, NBC News reported.

Among the pieces of the big bill, which must be passed by Saturday, is expenses to cover President Donald Trump's security in New York City and and his southern Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, to the tune of $68 million.

Some of the added military funding allocated in the new budget, $2.5 billion of $15 billion, is only released if Trump details his plan for how to defeat ISIS to Congress.

And while the White House requested cuts to the National Institutes of Health, Republicans and Democrats alike wanted more federal funding for research, adding $2 billion to its coffers, some of which is directed towards research on Alzheimer's.

Photo Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images, File

Warm Calif. Temperatures Expected to Accelerate Snowmelt


Melting of this year's massive Sierra Nevada snowpack will cause California rivers to surge and possibly overflow their banks well into the summer this year, officials said Monday.

Among the first to be affected will be the Merced River running through Yosemite National Park, which is expected to hit flood stage by mid-week with waters rising a foot above its banks, forecasters warned.

Large amounts of water are being released from reservoirs downstream from the Sierra Nevada to lower their levels in anticipation of the heavier-than-normal melt off of snowpack, which is nearly double its normal size.

Reservoirs on tributaries of the San Joaquin River have been lowered and authorities will continue lowering their levels through June to avoid the possibility of using spillways for emergency water releases, reservoir managers said.

People who flock to the Tuolumne River for recreation should be prepared for rapid and dangerous river water, said Calvin Curtis of the Turlock Irrigation District.

"The water is going to be fast. It's going to be colder than it has been," he said.

The snowmelt flows downhill during warm months into reservoirs and canals, which supply one-third of the water used by residents of the most populous U.S. state. It also irrigates crops in the nation's most productive farming state.

The heavy snowpack today blanketing the 400-mile (644-kilometer) long Sierra Nevada stands in contrast to two years ago when barely any measureable snow remained at this time of year amid California's drought, state water managers said.

The California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program on Monday measured that snowpack contains nearly twice the amount of water typically found in the snow at this time of year.

While the heavy snow and its high water content will help prevent water shortages that California residents endured over the last several years, the tough winter was cruel to mountain wildlife — killing off bighorn sheep and lengthening hibernation periods for bears.

During California's drought, the iconic Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep moved from lower elevations higher up into the mountains in search of food, said Jason Holley, a wildlife biologist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

But the heavy snow may have killed 100 of the 600 or so bighorn, he said.

"They've triggered some avalanches," Holley said. "Others got caught in areas with no natural food."

The snowdrifts have also kept many bears hibernating in the remote wilderness inside their dens one month longer than normal because food is still scarce, Holley said.

Hikers heading to the mountains are sure to find damaged roads leading to prized campgrounds that may not be repaired until next year, said Stanislaus National Forest officials.

In Yosemite National Park, rangers warned that visitors will need to be careful when they are near swift-flowing rivers and waterfalls with much higher water flows than normal.

Inexperienced hikers heading into the mountains should be prepared for snow lasting longer than normal this spring and should hike with more experienced people or consider heading to coastal mountains not covered in snow, said Kathryn Phillips, director of the Sierra Club California

"Not only is it technically difficult, it is pretty uncomfortable," Phillips said. "If you've never done it before, go with somebody who has."

Photo Credit: AP file

GOP Health Care Bill: 20 Republicans Say They'll Vote 'No'


House Republicans are working to get enough votes to pass their amended health care bill this week, NBC News reported.

GOP leaders are hoping to get 216 Republicans to vote in favor of the new plan. So far, 20 Republicans have told NBC News they plan to vote against it, including Charlie Dent. R-Pa., David Young. R-Iowa, and Leonard Lance, R-N.J. 

In order for the bill to pass, there can only be 22 "no" votes from Republicans.

This third round of Republican vote whipping comes after the American Health Care Act failed to reach the floor for a vote and a subsequent attempt to revive it died before Congress went into a two-week recess.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File

'Broke My Heart': San Diego Pool Party Victim Worked With Gunman


The victim of a shooting at a San Diego apartment complex said he worked with the gunman at a car dealership and remembers him as a nice guy.

“Broke my heart. I couldn’t believe it," Drew Phillips told NBC 7 in an interview Monday.

Phillips, 39, was attending a birthday pool party for a friend he has known for 15 years at the La Jolla Crossroads apartments in the University City neighborhood.

The gunman, identified as 49-year-old Peter Selis, opened fire at the party, killing one woman and injuring seven other people. 

Selis lived at the apartment complex but he was not a guest at the party.

Phillips said he was approximately 30 feet away from Selis with his back turned when he heard what he thought were fireworks for the party. But he quickly realized that the sounds were actually gunshots.

"Pete was over there, just firing into the crowd," Phillips recalled.

According to San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, Selis called his ex-girlfriend after the shooting began because he wanted her to hear the rampage.

Investigators said Selis used his mobile phone to call his ex-girlfriend to tell her he had just shot two people and that police had arrived. He then stayed on the phone as he continued to fire his weapon into the crowd of partygoers and then, eventually, at police.

Phillips told NBC 7, he worked with Selis at Mossy Ford five years ago.

"If I had known it was Pete sitting there, I would have came and spoke to him...because the Pete that I remember was a great guy," Phillips said.

He said if he had a chance to approach Selis before the incident, maybe things would have turned out differently.

"If I went over there and maybe saw the gun on his lap...I probably would have been like 'Hey Pete, what are you doing? These are my friends. What are you doing,'" Phillips added. "Maybe that would’ve been enough to reel him off the edge."

The woman who was fatally injured in the shooting was later identified by friends as Monique Clark.

Phillips didn't identify Clark by name when talking to NBC 7 but he did say she was the "nicest person you ever met," noting she was the first person to greet him at the party.

"She just didn’t deserve it," he said.

Phillips said he jumped over the wall to escape during the shooting, but a friend who was behind him was shot.

Phillips believes that Selis did not aim for him, instead shooting at people on either side of him.

"And I'm a pretty big target," he said, adding that the odds were against him.

Phillips said once he got over the wall, he saw his injured friend lying on the ground. He administered first aid to the man until paramedics arrived on scene.

"I ain’t no hero. I did what anybody would’ve done," he said. "You see someone who needs help so you just help them."

He added that in the moment, he wasn't worried about what would happen to him and just wanted to help the other victim.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for the victims to help with all of the medical costs.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Study Ranks 'Most Fun' States of 2017


Looking to venture out of state for some fun? WalletHub has you covered with its analysis of the 2017 Most Fun States in America – and some of the states that top the list may not be where you’d expect.

Nevada tops the list as the most fun state in America, followed by South Dakota, Colorado, North Dakota, New York, Wyoming, Oregon, Louisiana, Montana, and Hawaii.

Naturally, the definition of “fun” depends on the person. The study focused on finding the greatest variety of entertainment for the best cost, and looked at 22 metrics including everything from movie costs to national parks to casinos per capita.

So where to go? Well, if you’re a person that fancies outdoor recreation and exploring national parks, you can head to South Dakota, which has some of the country’s best access to national parks and a high number of golf courses per capita. The state also spends some of the highest amounts of money on parks and recreation per capita. North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming are similarly ranked. 

If you’re into winter sports, check out Colorado or Montana, which have huge number of ski and snowboarding facilities.

If you’re more into casinos, nightlife, and the theatre, you’re going to want to check out Nevada and New York, which are going to cost you a bit more but boast some of the highest variety of arts, entertainment and recreation establishments, and the most performing arts theaters per capita.

Hawaii may be an expensive flight, but if you’re looking for more of that outdoor recreation in a gorgeous beach setting, head on down.

And while Connecticut ranked 37 overall, we’re tied for the most marinas per capita, according to the study. So if you’re into boating and water recreation, home isn’t such a bad place to be.

For more information and a breakdown of what factors contributed to the rankings, click here. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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CPSC Issues Hoverboard Warning After Fatal House Fire


Federal safety regulators issued an urgent warning advising consumers to immediately stop riding or charging LayZ Board hoverboards after the device was linked to a house fire that killed two girls in Pennsylvania.

The girls, ages 10 and 3, were killed March 10 in Harrisburg. They are believed to be the first in the U.S. to die in a fire caused by a faulty hoverboard.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Monday it believes the LayZ Board device sparked the deadly blaze.

More than 3,000 of the self-balancing scooters were imported into the United States from China, the CPSC says. 

Consumers should dispose of their hoverboard at their local recycling center for safe handling of the lithium-ion battery, the CPSC said.

The LayZ Board is a two-wheeled, battery-powered, self-balancing scooter that has a pivoting platform intended for the rider’s feet and does not have a handlebar. The name LayZ Board appears on the front of the product.

More than 3,000 of the hoverboards, manufactured in China, were imported into the United States. The CPSC notes the safety warning applies to LayZ Boards hoverboards, and not the similarly named Lazyboard hoverboards, which is a different product.

LayZ Board has not responded to a request for comment.

Photo Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Caught on Cam: 2 Babies Saved From Car Stuck in Texas Flood


A group of good Samaritans saved an infant and a 2-year-old from drowning inside an upside down pickup that was filling with rushing water during severe storms in North Texas Saturday.

The rescue was caught on video.

Emily Ocheltree, 21, told Telemundo 39's Carlos Zapata she and her family were on their way to a storm shelter when powerful winds and heavy rain caught up with their vehicle, causing her husband, Phillip, 25, to lose control.

The heart-wrenching video shows a group of people who stopped to rescue the family outside Myrtle Springs.

The rushing water made it difficult to open the vehicle's doors.

Thomas Mitchell, the man who shot the video, said the baby was limp and appeared to be turning bluish-gray when pulled from the vehicle.

At one point, Mitchell put the phone in his pocket to help give the baby CPR, but he kept the recording going and we can hear what happened.

"It was something that I can't believe happened," Enrique Martinez, overcome with emotion, told NBC News on Monday. "People were crying, there was a lot of confusion. The parents were still in the car at the time. Everyone was trying to do as much as they could do."

The good Samaritans performed CPR as a woman nearby prayed for Jesus to let the baby breathe.

"When they said they are breathing, I said, 'Please, let me have my babies, let them be in my arms," Emily Ocheltree said. "I see my daughter's lifeless body just sitting on the back of the truck, and you just don't know what to do. I can't go over there. It's a miracle what they did."

"There's no debt in the world that I could repay them," she said.

At last check, both children were recovering in the hospital.

The storms the Ocheltree's were caught in is the same one that spawned seven tornadoes Saturday night in North Texas that killed four people and injured dozens of others.

Photo Credit: Thomas Mitchell

Norwich Police Clear Scene After Investigating Suspicious Item


Norwich police investigated what they called a suspicious item on Central Avenue, between 12th and 13th streets, but said it was nothing dangerous.

The state police explosive unit had been called to the scene, according to Norwich police.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Schools to Hold Hearing on Proposed Budget Cuts


The City of Hartford is facing a $50 million shortfall, and Tuesday the city’s school district will hold a public hearing to discuss proposed cuts and layoffs that are needed to keep the system afloat.

Two weeks ago, the district requested an additional $3 million, but even with that money the district would still have to eliminate more than 80 teachers and administrators.

The district also plans to freeze wages and change health insurance to prevent adding to the existing $26 million budget gap.

Administrators are also discussing future school consolidation.

The city is asking to partner up with the state for help, but the state faces a nearly $5 billion shortfall for the next two years.

The Hartford Public Schools hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fox Elementary School on Maple Avenue.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Charged with Negligent Homicide in Stratford Crash


Stratford police have charged a man with negligent homicide in connection with a fatal crash on Canaan Road in February.

Police said that Idis Wilson, 27, was driving well over the speed limit when he was involved in a crash on Canaan Road near Mary Avenue on February 17. Wilson hit 47-year-old Richard Rodriguez, who was riding a motor scooter. Rodriguez was seriously injured and later died at Bridgeport Hospital. 

Wilson was driving 59 miles per hour in an area where the speed limit is 25, police said. He is charged with negligent homicide, misconduct with a motor vehicle, second-degree reckless endangerment, and reckless driving.

Wilson was held on a $15,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on May 9.

Photo Credit: Stratford Police Department

Derby Dad Faces Deportation


For one of the many immigrants in the crowd at the New Haven May Day rally, time is running out before immigration officials say he has to leave this country.

“It’s 25 years ago I left my country,” Luis Barrios told NBC Connecticut, adding he doesn’t know how it is now in his native Guatemala.

“I know it’s very dangerous,” he said.

Barrios, 52, does not want to leave his family in Connecticut, but the dad from Derby has a deportation order to take a one-way 4 a.m. flight from New York to Guatemala Thursday.

“I have my four kids with my wife,” he said. “We try to be good citizens in this country.”

Barrios said he has been on the radar of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, since police pulled him over in 2011 because a taillight on his truck was out.

“I don’t have any record like criminal record,” he said, “but now they say I have to leave the country.”

Barrios shared his story on the New Haven Green at the May Day demonstration.

“It signifies the workers’ struggle, but I think this year in particular, it’s bigger than ever,” Ana Maria Rivera-Forastieri, of Junta for Progressive Action, said. “This administration has gone out of its way to talk about how they’re going to be attacking immigrants, refugees.”

Connecticut Shoreline Indivisible is another group that set up a booth at the May Day event.

“We’re also here to support immigrants and that they know their rights, their legal rights. if they have to confront ICE or police, so we have put together ‘know your rights’ packets,” Gini King, of Connecticut Shoreline indivisible, said.

Barrios has attorneys working to postpone this week’s deportation so he can seek asylum.

“Hopefully, they listen to us and give me another opportunity to review my case,” Barrios said.

An ICE spokesperson told The New Haven Register the agency is closely monitoring Barrios’ case “to ensure his timely departure in compliance with the 1998 final order of removal.” 

U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seeking reconsideration of the decision to deport Barrios.

Blumenthal and Murphy said they have repeatedly reached out to ICE officials and have received no information to justify the action.

“It does not appear that Mr. Barrios poses a threat to the integrity of the immigration system. Mr. Barrios has no aggravated felonies, felonies, or misdemeanors in the United States, is a productive and valued member of his community, and has four U.S. citizen children. Based on these factors, we respectfully ask that his request for prosecutorial discretion be granted,” the senators wrote.

Immigrant activists are planning a rally Tuesday at noon outside of the ICE office in Hartford’s federal building on Main Street.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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