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David Ortiz Recreates Famous Boston Movies


Former Red Sox player David Ortiz recreated scenes from famous Boston movies such as "Good Will Hunting" and "Fever Pitch" in a new campaign with Omaze. Fans can enter to meet David at his jersey retirement ceremony by visiting omaze.com/bigpapi.

West Street in Vernon Closed After Car Hits Pole


An accident briefly knocked out power to hundreds of people in Vernon Wednesday afternoon.

Police said a vehicle crashed into a pole on West Street between West Main and Union streets and took out a power line. The road is currently closed in the area and Eversource crews have been called in to make repairs.

There is no word on injuries from the crash.

Eversource intially listed 260 without power, but as of 1:45 p.m. power had been restored to all customers.

Police said the road will be closed for some time.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Trump Failing to Track Foreign Cash at His Hotels


Just before taking office, President Donald Trump promised to donate all profits earned from foreign governments back to the U.S. Treasury.

But MSNBC has learned the Trump Organization is not tracking all possible payments it receives from foreign governments, according to new admissions by Trump representatives. By failing to track foreign payments it receives, the company will be hard-pressed to meet Trump's pledge to donate foreign profits and could even increase its legal exposure, NBC News reported.

The Trump Organization does not "attempt to identify individual travelers who have not specifically identified themselves as being a representative of a foreign government entity," according to a new company pamphlet. The policy suggests that it is up to foreign governments, not Trump hotels, to determine whether they self-report their business.

That policy matches what several sources told MSNBC — Trump Organization employees are not soliciting information about whether reservations or business is from a foreign government.

A Trump representative said that "the pertinent accounting rules" are well understood in the hospitality industry. But experts told MSNBC that there is no standard accounting system to track profits from foreign dignitaries.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Torrington Man Charged in Connection with Overdose Death


Connecticut State Police have arrested a Torrington man accused of selling heroin that led to an overdose death of an 18-year-old woman.

Zachary Campanelli, 21, is accused of selling heroin to an 18-year-old Winsted woman, who died on Dec. 4, 2016.

According to the arrest warrant, Campanelli admitted to selling the victim, who was recently released from a rehab center, heroin. He told police the victim was “really bad off” but he gave her the heroin anyway because he thought if he didn’t, she would just get it from someone else.

Later the same day, the victim’s father found her unresponsive in her bed and called 911. The warrant said that the victim had multiple chemicals in her system. The cause of death was ruled acute intoxication due to the combined effects of hydroxyzine, fentanyl and morphine and manner of death was ruled accidental.

Campanelli was charged with illegal sale of narcotics and his bond was set at $100,000.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Serious Injuries Reported in Crash on I-395 in Killingly


Serious injuries are reported in a crash involving a tractor-trailer and a car on Interstate 395 South in Killingly.

State police said the crash is located near exit 43.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: @QVEC911 Quinebaug Valley Emergency Communications

Bullet Casing on Bus Was From Family Memorabilia: School


State police were called after an elementary school student in Marlborough said he found a bullet casing in the seat of a school bus Tuesday, but school officials said the casing actually came for a box of memorabilia belonging to the child's family.

State troopers responded to the Marlborough elementary school just before 9 a.m. Tuesday after a student said he found a spent shell casing and a training round tucked into the bus seat, according to state police.

On Wednesday, the principal and assistant principal wrote a letter to families saying that one of the younger students made a mistake and took two items from a keepsake box containing his great-grandfather’s memorabilia.

The child knew he knew he made a mistake by bringing the items onto the bus and came up with a story about finding them, according to school administrators.

Since the school shares buses with RHAM, administrators from the Marlborough elementary school reached out to that school, as well as DATCO and the Board of Education and Town Hall.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Stabbed During Altercation That Started in New Britain Club: Police


A 24-year-old man was stabbed several times during a fight that started in a New Britain club Tuesday night and he has life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Police said officers responded to Arch and West Pearl streets at 10:17 p.m. to investigate an assault and possible shots fired and found out that a disturbance had stared inside a club on Arch Street and spilled out onto the street.

Several people had left before officers arrived and officers did not find any victims, but they then learned that a 24-year-old man had arrived at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in a private vehicle.

He’d been stabbed several times and had life-threatening injuries, but was stabilized and eventually transferred to a Hartford area trauma hospital, according to police.

The victim is expected to survive and anyone with information is asked to call Detective Linda Glimpse at 860-826-3147, submit an anonymous tip to the New Britain tipline at (860) 826-3199 or email to the police department’s website at http://www.newbritainpolice.org/anonymous-tips.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Newborn Baby Found Behind Danbury Grocery Store Expected to Be OK


A newborn baby boy found behind a grocery store in Danbury late Sunday night is expected to be OK.

Danbury Police found the baby after receiving a call about an infant near a grocery store on Main Street around 11:38 p.m. Sunday.

"A gentleman was walking by and heard the cries," Danbury Police Chief Patrick Ridenhour said.

Neighbors said the baby was just hours old.

The caller directed officers to the back of the Zaytuna Grocery Store, at 397 Main St., and first responders found the baby wrapped in several pieces of women's clothing, a statement from Danbury police says.

“It was a very dangerous situation, leaving it where the baby was left,” Ridenhour said.

Medical personnel were called to the scene and evaluated the baby boy, who was then admitted to the neonatal care unit at Danbury Hospital.

“As far as I know, the child was in good condition. I don’t know if it was full-term, but it is expected to survive,” Ridenhour said.

The child remains in hospital care. Police are now looking for the mother and want to ensure she is OK too.

Anyone with information on the newborn or his mother are urged to call police at (203) 797-4662 or (203) 790-TIPS.

Connecticut's Safe Haven Act for Newborns indicates that a parent of an infant 30 days or younger can bring their baby to the nursing staff of an emergency room. For more information on the state's safe haven laws, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Revised Budget Could Shut Down Camps For Special Needs


There are concerns over possible budget cuts for camps that serve those with special needs.

Governor Dannel Malloy’s revised state budget proposal released last week, would cut funding used to operate Camp Harkness and Camp Quinebaug, according to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

Under the governor’s proposal, the state is expected to save about $560,000 in each of the next two fiscal years.

Not only could that close operations at Camp Quinebaug in Killingly and Camp Harkness in Waterford, but also the camp's beach.

Jessica Heeran, of Southington, is devastated by the thought of Camp Harkness and the beach closing because it is a place her son, 11-year old-Joey, loves. He has a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism.

"It’s a little hidden gem in the special needs community here in Connecticut," Heeran said. "It's a place where we can go and not get the stares from people wondering what’s wrong with our children. We can all go there and be the same. We’re with other families who know how we feel."

The beach is at risk of closing because there wouldn’t be enough funding to staff a lifeguard under Malloy’s recently revised budget plan.

It makes Heeran wonder where her family would spend their summer.

"If he goes to a regular beach area, he’s too over stimulated, there’s too many people, it’s too loud," Heeran said.

The property has an estimated 35,000 people visit each year, which includes its campers that attend Camp Harkness, a camp for people with special needs.

High Hopes Therapeutic Riding in Old Lyme comes to Camp Harkness every summer so campers can ride the horses and not being able to do this any longer is upsetting for executive director Kitty Stalsburg.

"The actual residents that integrate with therapeutic riding are several hundred people for whom this would no longer be an opportunity," Stalsburg said. 

DDS runs both Camp Harkness and Camp Quinebaug in Killingly, which is also a camp for those with special needs that would close under the governor’s proposal.

Katie Rock-Burns chief of staff for DDS Commissioner Jordan Scheff said the department is working on logistics to try and keep the camps open for at least this summer.

"DDS will be honoring our commitment to the community and families to operate both Camp Harkness and Camp Quinebaug for Summer 2017. We are currently working to recruit, hire, and train staff to operate these camps for the summer, including direct support staff, lifeguards, and others. As we await the final budget for the next biennium, we continue to explore the full impact of the proposed budget option for future years. We will develop a plan based on the final budget," DDS Commissioner Jordan Scheff said. 

DDS still plans on going forward with the hiring process for the employees needed to operate both camps.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Photo Booth Company Fails on Services, Takes Money From School PTO


To make first grade at Emerson Williams Elementary School a little extra fun, Colleen Mattatall and her fellow Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) parents organized a school dance, where students can bring an adult.

To make the day picture perfect, they hired Bumble Bee Booths out of West Springfield, Massachusetts.

"We opted not to use the photo booth company that we used last year because it was going to save us so much money," said Mattatall.

The PTO signed a contract a few weeks before the March 18 event and paid the entire $549 fee up front.

But, the day before the dance, Bumble Bee cancelled in an email saying they had a break-in and their equipment went missing.

The company had offered to reschedule but that wasn’t an option. Luckily for Emerson Williams, a different company stepped in to help out, but the financial burden still lingered. 

"They’ve done this to multiple people," Mattatall said. "We need to try to find a way to get our money back, but I don’t want to do business with this company."

The company registered with the Town of West Springfield in September 2015, but appeared to start falling apart mid-January 2017 when one of the owners backed out, weeks before the PTO reached out for the school dance. 

By mid-February, another owner took himself off of the business license and late February, the business was officially discontinued.

Meanwhile, the Massachusetts attorney general has received two complaints citing a similar issue as Mattatall’s and 11 customers have taken their frustration to Google reviews.

NBC Connecticut Responds called, emailed and visited the most recent license holder, Aloysius Alamed, in person, but he had no comment.

Until further action from either Massachusetts or Connecticut state agencies, Mattatall will consider this a tough lesson learned, albeit one she never thought she’d face. 

“These are elementary school kids,” Mattatall said. "It’s a PTO. It’s a non-profit. And a lot of other companies that hired them, it was for birthday parties or weddings or other school events. It’s just really rotten, so shame on them.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Reporter Says He Was Body-Slammed By US House Candidate


A reporter said the Republican candidate for Montana's sole congressional seat body-slammed him Wednesday, the day before the polls close in the nationally watched special election.

Greg Gianforte was in a private office giving an interview when Guardian newspaper reporter Ben Jacobs came in without permission, campaign spokesman Shane Scanlon said.

In an audio recording posted by the Guardian, the reporter asks the congressional candidate about the GOP's health care bill, which was just evaluated hours earlier by the Congressional Budget Office.

"We'll talk to you about that later," Gianforte says on the recording, referring Jacobs to a spokesman.

When Jacobs says that there won't be time, Gianforte says "Just--" and there is a crashing sound. Gianforte yells, "The last guy who came here did the same thing," and a shaken-sounded Jacobs tells the candidate he just body-slammed him.

"Get the hell out of here," Gianforte says.

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office said it's investigating allegations of an assault involving the wealthy Bozeman businessman. At a news conference, Sheriff Brian Gootkin said authorities were interviewing witnesses and Jacobs and plan to talk with Gianforte but that he has right to decline. He says the office hasn't seen any video of the incident.

It is a last-minute curveball in Thursday's race, which was partly seen as a referendum on Donald Trump's presidency. The majority of voters were expected to have already cast ballots through early voting, and it was unclear how much of an effect it may have.

Gianforte and Democrat Rob Quist, who declined to comment, are seeking to fill the state's seat in the U.S. House left vacant when Ryan Zinke resigned to join Trump's Cabinet as secretary of the Interior Department.

The Gianforte campaign released a statement blaming the incident on Jacobs. It contends he "aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg's face and began asking badgering questions" before being asked to leave.

Gianforte asked Jacobs to lower a phone that was being used as an audio recorder, then tried to grab it, the campaign said in a statement. Jacobs then grabbed Gianforte's wrist and both fell to the ground, Scanlon said.

The 45-second recording does not contain a request from Gianforte that Jacobs lower his phone.

Alexis Levinson, a reporter for Buzzfeed who was outside the office where the incident occurred, tweeted that she heard angry yelling and saw Jacobs' "feet fly in the air as he hit the floor."

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee says Gianforte must quit the race and the Republican Party should publicly denounce him.

Requests for comment went unanswered Wednesday night from House Speaker Paul Ryan and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Gianforte had been scheduled to attend a meet-and-greet with campaign volunteers at his headquarters in Bozeman, but he left early.

As a candidate, he has already had to apologize for his treatment of the press, including after an incident last month at a meeting of a Christian group where a man complained about reporters and said he wanted to "wring their necks."

Gianforte pointed out a reporter covering the meeting and said, "It seems like there is more of us than there is of him," according to the Helena Independent Record newspaper.

Photo Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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Electrical Issues Kept Niantic River Bridge From Opening


Electrical issues stopped the Niantic River Bridge from opening on command for the past couple of weeks, causing headaches for some boating businesses ahead of the holiday weekend.

On Wednesday, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) confirmed it the bridge back up and running normally.

"I was pretty worried about it," Tobey Russ, owner of Three Belles Marina, said.

 Russ said his marina likely houses the most sailboats within the Niantic River.

The bridge has about a 30-foot clearance, depending on the tide, and the sailboats need the bridge to open to pass through.

"We actually had several customers already starting to request refunds in the event that the bridge was going to be inoperable for some period of time,” Russ said.

An outside electrical surge took out the Niantic River Bridge’s electrical control system, according to Kevin Nursick, a spokesperson for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

The state staffed people to manually open one side of the bridge at 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. as they brought in outside contractors from Cianbro Corporation to help with the work, Nursick said.

The challenge is that the bridge's electrical controls are about 25 years older then the technology used today.

"They know it's our livelihood and it's a tough business to be in as it is,” Captain Joseph Devine of the MIJOY 747 said.

Devine said the state DOT offered to open the bridge whenever necessary so they didn't have to jeopardize business, but he didn't take them up on it because the tide was outgoing and they could turn the boat around before reaching the bridge.

The DOT struck luck too when they found an old circuit board in a warehouse that could be used as a fix instead of surfing for vintage parts.

Unrelated to the most recent issue, there is a plan in place to update the bridge’s electrical system in four or five years, according to Nursick. But he assures that the bridge has been very reliable over the years and will continue to be reliable.

“That’s a great relief to us and I'm sure all the marinas on the Niantic River,” Russ said.

East Lyme Harbor Master Richard Morris said he knows of only one woman who had to wait a week and a half to move her sailboat.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Police Search for Suspect Who Robbed Mansfield Bank


Police are searching for the man who stole money from a bank in Mansfield on Wednesday.

Connecticut State Police were called to the TD Bank North on 95 STorrs Road at 4:37 p.m.

The suspect wearing a baseball hat, glasses and a sweatshirt deamnded money from the teller, police said.

He left the bank with an undisclosed amount of money and got into a ligher colored, smaller sized pickup truck and fled in an unknown direction, police said.

If anyone has any information, please contact Detective Scott Crevier, #726 at the Connecticut State Police Eastern District Major Crime Squad, Troop C, Tolland, CT at (860)896-3233.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Pedestrian Struck by Car in Middletown

Warm Weather Brings ‘Waiting Season’ to DMV Branches


It’s “waiting season” at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as the warm weather rolls into the state.

“You have boats, you have trailers, you have camp trailers, you have motorcycles,” Bill Seymour with the DMV explains.

Just six months ago, the agency told the public that once they take a ticket at the DMV, the average wait times at some branches had been cut in half to 40 minutes.

Jeff Barske, who went to the DMV’s Old Saybrook branch last Wednesday, said his wait was much longer than that.

All Barske wanted to do was register his new RV but the Old Saybrook branch told him it would take him three hours and 46 minutes at 10:30am, in the middle of the work week, at what is statistically one of the faster DMV branches in the state.

“If this is better, this is not, this is not good enough,” Barske said.

The DMV explains every year around this time it expects scattered but significant upticks in customers due to a surge in people registering vehicles for the summertime.

There is also the split between the DMV and AAA offices in Fairfield and New Haven counties that happened earlier this year. Customers who used to get drivers licenses at those locations are going elsewhere, to DMV offices and other AAA offices in northern Connecticut.

Meanwhile, the DMV is rolling out other time saving measures. Starting next month, it will slowly roll out a new way of issuing drivers’ licenses. Instead of waiting hours for a new photo license, customers will get a paper license and then receive a photo license in the mail. The agency won’t commit to this bringing a ton of relief this summer, however.

The DMV said to avoid long waits this summer, arrive at a branch before it opens, don’t go on Tuesdays or Saturdays— which are traditionally the DMV’s busiest days—and if possible, use online services that will keep people from having to come to a branch. The agency also suggests avoiding branches on or near the coast this time of the year, since they are most often the ones dealing with higher volumes of customers.

In addition, residents can check wait times at their local branch online, or on the DMV app

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Aaron Hernandez's Brother Makes First Public Statement


Aaron Hernandez's brother, Jonathan Hernandez, has made his first public statement since the death of the former New England Patriots star. 

"From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who has supported my mother and me during such difficult times.My younger brother Aaron was far from perfect, but I will always love him. Many stories about my brother's life have been shared with the public -- except the story Aaron was brave enough to share with our mother and me. It's the one story he wanted us to share with the world.It is Aaron's truth," Hernandez writes.

Hernandez is the older brother of the former NFL player who was once convicted of murder. Shortly before his death, Aaron Hernandez's conviction was overturned by a judge.

Jonathan, once known as DJ, was a former University of Connecticut football quarterback. 

Photo Credit: AP

Ballpark Legal Fees Mounting For Hartford


The bloated expenses of Hartford’s Dunkin Donuts Park are only getting bigger.

Since 2016, the city has paid attorneys more than $370,000, according to city auditors.

The updated numbers were released Wednesday afternoon at the internal audit commission meeting. The planned development around the new stadium halted in 2016 when multi-million dollar lawsuits were filed between the City of Hartford and original stadium developer Centerplan Construction.

Until the issue is resolved, the Downtown North, or “DoNo”, development is on hold. In the city’s application for bonds to help pay for the stadium, they asked for an extra $6 million solely to pay down the bond interest incurred until the restaurants, bars and hotels could get built as part of DoNo.

Originally, that waiting period was expected to last for two years. The stadium authority currently has a budget deficit of more than $5 million, according to auditors.

Jury selection in Centerplan’s lawsuit against the city is scheduled for March 13, 2018, according to the Connecticut Judicial branch website.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Route 5 In North Haven ‘Too Dangerous To Cross’ On Foot


Two pedestrians were seriously injured after being hit by cars on Route 5 in North Haven in recent months.

Many people in the town are raising concerns about the dark stretch of roadway, also known as Washington Avenue, near the Wallingford line. The incidents happened in the general same location, where Route 5 meets Scrub Oak Road.

"Sometimes bad choices have terrible consequences," Michael Freda, First Selectman in North Haven, said.

Freda said that crossing between road between the Meadowstone Motel and the Sunoco gas station is not worth the risk.

"Please do not walk across a four lane highway at night in a dimly lit area when there's a speed average of about 50 miles per hour," Freda said.

The first selectman's word of warning comes after those two pedestrians were struck by cars in this spot. One man was hit on January 30 and another man was hit on May 11, according to town officials. Both of the men survived.

"As we got closer, he was like 'Oh God, there's a guy laying on the ground'," said North Haven resident, Jake Maturo, who pulled up to the scene moments after the more recent incident.

“When people try to cross it, especially at night, that's when it turns into a big issue," Alphonso Iovanna, of North Haven, said.

When it comes to finding a fix, the hands of town officials are somewhat tied, Freda said.

Route 5 is a state road, which means that approval for changes near where the road meets Scrub Oak Road would be difficult to obtain.

Freda said it was unclear if any additional traffic signal in the area would even help with the particular safety issues at hand.

Freda said, for now, to best avoid the dangers of Route 5, do not cross it on foot. “My message is to use common sense," he said.

Despite the challenges that would come with seeking state approval, several people who live and work in the area said that something has to be done to improve safety.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Ben Carson Calls Poverty 'State of Mind'


Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban development, is facing criticism after calling poverty a "state of mind," NBC News reported.

Carson was asked in a SiriusXM radio interview with Armstrong Williams that aired Wednesday what can be done to reduce the number of people living in poverty, he credited his own success story to his headstrong mother.

But then Carson delved deeper, saying, "I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind." He added that people — no matter what they have — need to have "the right mindset."

Carson spoke frequently about his rise from abject poverty and his approach to social progress while running for president during the 2016 primaries.

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images, File

RV Carrying Kids Erupts in Flames After Chase, Shooting: PD


Police said a man is dead after leading authorities on a chase in a recreational vehicle with his two children inside through four counties after shooting a woman early Thursday.

Authorities said a Caddo Mills officer initially spotted the RV in Hunt County at about 3 a.m. Authorities said the driver was speeding at up to 90 mph when a woman jumped from the vehicle.

Arlington Police Department spokesman Lt. Chris Cook said the woman, who might have been in a relationship with the man, texted 911 that she had been shot three times and needed help.

Multiple police departments joined the pursuit of the RV on westbound Interstate 30 during the next 30 minutes through Rockwall and Dallas counties.

Garland police said they used spike strips on the RV, damaging several tires and slowing the pursuit to about 20 mph as the driver approached Grand Prairie.

The pursuit continued on westbound I-30 into Arlington until the driver stopped near Fielder Road when the vehicle caught fire at about 4:40 a.m.

Police said the man let the two children out of the vehicle. As officers grabbed the children, they said they heard a single gunshot.

Arlington police spokesman Lt. Chris Cook confirmed the driver was found deceased in the RV.

Officers were seen escorting the children to an ambulance and transported to a hospital in Arlington.

As of 6:25 a.m., all westbound lanes of I-30 were closed at Fielder Road. All eastbound lanes were opened by 7 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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