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Driver Dead After Truck Plunges Down Embankment on I-91


The driver of a dump truck that plunged down an embankment on Interstate 91 North in Wethersfield is dead, according to state police.

State Police said the dump truck went off the highway near exit 27 just before 4 a.m. Friday, down a steep embankment and landed in a heavily wooded area.

The driver was trapped and it took rescue crews more than an hour to remove the person from the vehicle.

A firefighter who suffered from exhaustion and was taken to the hospital is expected to be released after observation by hospital medical staff.

All lanes of the highway are now open, according to state police.

The name of the victim has not been released.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Yard Goats Offering Employees Discounts on College Tuition


The Hartford Yard Goats are offering employees a 10 percent discount for programs at Albertus Magnus College.

The baseball club said they have reached a partnership with the college to offer the discount to full-time, part-time and seasonal Yard Goats employees for accelerated undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Albertus Magnus College is also waiving application fees for Yard Goats employees.

“This unique benefit is another great way to help us attract great employees and at the same time help better the lives of our staff, the majority of whom are Hartford residents,” Yard Goats assistant general manager Mike Abramson said in a news release.

To apply for a position with the Yard Goats, visit the Yard Goats website

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Second Suspects Charged in Hartford ‘Offer Up’ Robbery and Carjacking


Hartford police have arrested a second suspect accused of robbing someone who answered an ad on the website “Offer Up” to buy an iPhone.

Police responded to 2621 Main St. in Hartford just after 7 p.m. on March 11 to investigate an armed robbery and carjacking and the victim said he had arranged to meet someone he did not know to buy an iPhone advertised online.

When the victim arrived at the meeting spot, three people approached him and one pulled a gun, according to police.

The person with the gun, later identified as a 16-year-old Hartford boy, hit the victim with the gun and stole his personal items, money and vehicle, police said.

Police identified 21-year-old Raekwon Gaines as another suspect and obtained a warrant charging him with first-degree robbery, first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery, second-degree larceny, second-degree conspiracy larceny and conspiracy larceny in the third degree.

Major crimes division detectives previously identified the teenage suspect and obtained a warrant charging him with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, two counts of second-degree larceny, two counts of conspiracy to commit larceny in the second degree and third-degree conspiracy to commit larceny.

Gaines is being held on $500,000 bond.a

The victim of the robbery and carjacking received emergency medical care on scene for a head injury.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

'Beating Heart in a Box' Promises Major Medical Revolution


The most current method and technology available for heart transplants is an estimated 50 years old but new technology may revolutionize how heart transplant surgeries may change in the near future, reported NBC News. 

The current method starts by having the organ taken out of the donor then it is flushed with a cold salt solution, which includes preservatives to  keep the organ viable for transplant. It’s then put on ice and sent to a hospital where it is needed. 

But the new technique will allow donated organs to stay healthy outside of a human body for longer periods of time, so they can be sent farther distances to waiting recipients.

Photo Credit: Lester V. Bergman/CORBIS/Getty Images

White House Sends Mixed Messages on Battling Hurricanes


As hurricane season begins, and scientists predict the Atlantic Ocean could see another above-normal year, the White House is sending contradictory messages about whether it supports funding for better weather forecasting.

On the one hand, President Donald Trump in April signed a bipartisan Congressional bill that protects improvements to hurricane forecasting and tsunami warnings from budget cuts.

On the other, the president's proposed budget for 2018 fiscal year, released in May, would slash funding for those very programs, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its National Weather Service. NOAA accounts for much of the 16 percent reduction to the Commerce Department, of which it is a part.

"This budget would ensure that (NOAA's National Weather Service) becomes a 2nd or 3rd tier weather forecasting enterprise, frozen in the early 2000's," said David W. Titley, a retired rear admiral who oversaw the satellite and weather programs at NOAA and is now a meteorology professor at Penn State School of International Affairs. "This budget is the opposite of making America great:  It will make us more vulnerable and less prepared to face extreme weather in a changing and never-experienced climate."

The bill signed by Trump, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, requires that NOAA protect its Hurricane Forecast Improvement Program, establish a plan to improve tornado warnings and develop meteorological forecasts for varying time frames, from two weeks to up to two years. 

But the proposed budget, in the broadest terms, halts NOAA's cutting edge work, such as trying to extend weather predictions beyond 14 days, and makes large cuts in its tsunami warning system, its climate research and its efforts to develop and test unmanned aircraft and undersea vehicles, among other areas, Titley said.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second ranking Republican in the Senate, in May called Trump's budget proposal "dead on arrival." Such proposals are more statements of priorities than legislation, he said, and both Republicans and Democrats criticized the cuts as too steep and questioned the accounting.

But if the budget has little chance of passing Congress, it does indicate the White House's priorities.

Rick Spinrad, a former chief scientist for NOAA, said that the cuts to research in particular would virtually guarantee that the United States would see little or no progress in the ability to improve forecasts of hurricanes' intensity or tracks.

"If we are satisfied that the current forecast capabilities are adequate, and that we are willing to accept the consequent losses of lives and property, then these cuts will be without consequence," Spinrad said. "More realistically, of course, without the needed improvements in observational systems, research on hurricane physics, and investment in high performance computing we will continue to see coastal communities and businesses suffer devastating losses."

Another former NOAA scientist, Scott Weaver, who is now a senior climate scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund, said Trump's budget disregards science and its ability to protect lives and property.

One example: a $5 million cut to programs for more reliable weather and storm forecasts through advanced modeling. It would slow the transition from models to real-life warning systems, hurting families and business owners preparing for severe storms, Weaver said. 

"Weather is essentially bi-partisan," Weaver said. "Improving weather forecasts, there's really broad agreement that that's something that no matter what political background you come from is important and necessary. So that is why this budget is so striking in that context — because it's just so outside the bounds, it's unbelievable."

The United States has lagged in accurate weather forecasting — the European model, for example, predicted Hurricane Sandy's trajectory correctly while the America model put it out to sea — and the cuts would derail U.S. efforts to catch up, Weaver said. 

In response to the criticism, the White House Office of Management and Budget countered that the budget was consistent with the intent of the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act and recognized the value of accurate and reliable weather forecasts to American businesses and communities.

"That is why the 2018 budget preserves the proper and appropriate weather forecasting capabilities for the National Weather Service (NWS)," it said in a statement. "This includes continued support for the current generation of weather satellites that provide critical data to weather models and targeted increases in funding for the systems NWS personnel rely on to produce and disseminate forecasts to the public."

Weaver said, however, that although the budget for maintaining the adminstration's current satellites increases slightly, the Trump administration will review the programs for 2019 and beyond.

"And so basically what that's saying is that in the later years, we're not going to be interested in developing any new satellite missions to replace our aging satellite infrastructure," he said.

The budget and the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act appear to be in agreement on the satellite programs. The act requires NOAA to consider buying commercially provided weather satellite data rather than launching government satellites.

One of Florida's U.S. senators, Democrat Bill Nelson has sought backups for NOAA's fleet of aircraft designed to fly in and around hurricanes. The Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act does require NOAA to have a reliable alternative but the budget does not fund it.

"The administration's budget is literally betting the house on there not being a big storm this year," Nelson said. "By cutting money to improve hurricane forecasting and failing to invest in a backup for the hurricane hunters, it's a risky and reckless bet that could endanger lives and property."

Florida's second senator, Republican Marco Rubio, and the mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For this year's hurricane season, which began on June 1 and continues through Nov. 30, forecasters from NOAA predict a 45 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 35 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.

An average season produces 12 named storms, six of which become hurricanes, three of them major with winds of 111 miles per hour or higher, according to NOAA.

Forecasters this year predict a 70 percent chance of 11 to 17 storms powerful enough to be named. Five to nine could become hurricanes, and two to four of them major hurricanes.

"The outlook reflects our expectation of a weak or non-existent El Nino, near- or above-average sea-surface temperatures across the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, and average or weaker-than-average vertical wind shear in that same region," Gerry Bell, the lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

How climate change is affecting hurricanes is still under study. In a report released in March, NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory said it was premature to conclude that human activities, and in particular the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, have already had a detectable effect on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity.

But it also said human activities might have caused changes not yet detected, because they were too small or because of observational limitations or not yet modelled. 

Climate warming will likely cause hurricanes in the coming century to be more intense globally and to have higher rainfall rates than present-day hurricanes, it said.

Photo Credit: AP

Former President Bush Congratulates Yale Baseball Team

Macron Targets 'Make Our Planet Great Again' Site at US


In the wake of the United States' withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, French President Emmanuel Macron fired back on Thursday with the launch of a new website titled "Make Our Planet Great Again."

On the site’s homepage, Macron calls President Trump's decision to withdraw from the agreement "unfortunate" but adds that the decision “only reinforced our determination.” He calls for those working on climate issues to do so in France. 

"To all the scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, responsible citizens who were disappointed by the decision of the President of the United States, I want to say that they will find in France a second homeland," Macron said in a video address on the site’s homepage. "I call on them, come and work here with us to work on concrete solutions for our climate, our environment."

The site cost €22,000 (approximately $24,637) to build is produced and managed by Business France. according to Politico.eu.

By clicking on the "I Want to Make Our Planet Great Again" button on the homepage of the website, users can describe why they are fighting climate change. They can also detail current projects and "dreams" of carrying out the fight against climate change.

"The planet needs your innovative skills. So are you IN to change (literally!) our daily lives and make our planet great again?" the site reads.

The title, a play on President Donald Trump's signature campaign slogan "Make America Great Again," reflects the increased efforts to combat climate change by France and other signatories of the Paris agreement. Macron first used the modified slogan in an address from the Elysée Palace on June 1, after Trump announced the withdrawal.

You can visit the Make Our Planet Great Again site by clicking here.

Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
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Massachusetts Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash in Union


A 27-year-old Brookfield, Massachusetts man is dead after a motorcycle crash in Union on Thursday evening.

Police said Christopher Larson, 27, of Brookfield, Massachusetts, lost control of his motorcycle while negotiating a curve and hit a tree, according to state police.

Police said the crash happened on Route 171 at 5:24 p.m. and Larson was thrown from the motorcycle and sustained fatal injuries.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to call police at 860-896-3222, extension 8037.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Construction at Entrance of Bradley Could Lead to Delays


Construction begins today at the entrance of Bradley Airport and drivers should be prepared for delays.

The Connecticut Airport Authority said it is beginning reconstruction and realignment of the main airport entrance roadway, Route 20 and Schoephoester Road.

The work will include realigning Schoephoester Road along with part of the airport's lower roadway system and construction of a modern rotary.

The airport authority said the project will provide a new entrance to the airport from Route 20 and open up a 19-acre site for the future development of Bradley's ground transportation center.

Construction will not interrupt access to the airport from the Route 20 connector, the airport authority says, but shifting and reduction of lanes might cause slight delays, the airport authority warns.

There are six phases of work, which is scheduled to be completed by fall 2018.

Learn more about this project here. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Boy, 4, Suddenly Dies of Possible 'Dry Drowning' Week After Swim


A 4-year-old avid Mets fan from Texas went swimming with his family over Memorial Day weekend. Six days later, he abruptly woke up during the night, took a deep breath and died, the apparent victim of a rare phenomenon often referred to as "dry drowning." 

Little Frankie Delgado III was briefly knocked over by a wave while playing in shallow water during a trip to the Texas City Dike, a fishing and recreation area in Galveston Bay, over the holiday weekend last month, his heartbroken parents told "Today" Friday. 

Tara and Francisco Delgado said their son got right back up and seemed normal. For nearly a week he was his usual self, running around playing football with his father. Then came Saturday, June 3 -- and "our world turned upside down." 

Frankie was awoken by sudden pain; he showed signs of a stomach virus, including vomiting and diarrhea. 

"He went 'Ahh,' he looked at me with these painfully hurtful eyes like I've never seen him before," Francisco Delgado said. "Then he just took a deep breath; he took a deep breath and rolled his eyes back and laid back down." 

An ambulance took Frankie to the hospital, but he didn't make it. The Delgados say emergency room doctors told them the boy's likely cause of death was "dry drowning," which can happen hours or even days, as in Frankie's case, after a child breathes water into his or her lungs. 

The lungs become irritated and start to fill with fluid, leading to breathing problems and coughing, doctors say. The child's behavior may also change; he or she may get more fatigued than usual. Doctors say all those are signs of possible lack of oxygen flow to the brain. 

Doctors say the phenomenon is extremely rare, but there have been cases. And Tara and Francisco Delgado, despite dealing with their personal horror, want to spread the word about what happened to Frankie. 

"Dry drowning -- bring that out to the world and let everybody know that this exists," Tara Delgado said. "Spread awareness, because I don't want to one to go through what we're going through." 

Photos the Delgados shared of Frankie show a smiling, happy boy with a serious passion for the New York Mets. He's seen wearing a blue and orange Mets cap or shirt in a series of photos, though flips back to the Astros for a Texas game.

Francisco Delgado cried as he reminisced about his constantly grinning boy. 

"I loved him so much," he said. "He was my best friend." 

Funeral services for the boy are scheduled for Saturday in Texas.

Photo Credit: The Delgado Family

School Bus Catches Fire on I-84 East in Hartford

Man Shot as Bullet Comes Through Ceiling of New Haven Home


A 28-year-old New Haven man was shot while sitting in his apartment early Friday morning when a gunshot came through the ceiling from an apartment above, according to police. 

Police responded to the 300 block of Sherman Parkway at 2:47 a.m. and learned the victim was shot in his left thigh. 

Police said the shot had been fired through the ceiling from a third-floor apartment. Police went to investigate, but no one was in the unit the bullet came from. 

The victim was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and has been released.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Soccer Teammates Cut Hair To Support Girl Confused for a Boy


Members of a Nebraska girls' soccer team have chopped their hair short in support of a teammate, Mili Hernandez, who said her team was disqualified from a youth tournament because she looks like a boy. 

The 8-year-old's story went viral over the weekend when her family said tournament organizers focused on the girl's appearance and short haircut for the disqualification.

"I cut my hair because it's not fair what they're doing to Mili," one Azzuri Cachorros Chicas teammate, Rosy, told local NBC affiliate, WOWT-TV. "Just because she has short hair doesn't mean she's a boy, and I did it because I wanted to support her."

Although a clerical error made by the team listed Mili as a boy on a form, the Hernandez family told WOWT that tournament organizers refused to accept an insurance card and medical form as proof of Mili's gender.

"Just because I look like a boy doesn't mean I am a boy," Mili said to the television station. "They don't have a reason to kick the whole club out."

The tournament's organizer, Lanyard Burgett, told ESPN.com that the disqualification had nothing to do with her appearance, and instead was due to rules infractions about putting some club members on multiple teams.

But the Nebraska State Soccer Association has apologized and said in a statement Monday that the incident does not represent its core values of teamwork and inclusion.

Mili has also gotten support from former U.S. soccer stars Abby Wambach and Mia Hamm on social media, with Hamm inviting the 8-year-old to one of her soccer camps.

"You don't look like a boy. You look like a girl with short hair - and that's okay," Wambach said in an Instagram video. "You can do anything you want to do and you can be anything you want to be. And guess what? You can look like whatever you want to look like to do it."

Photo Credit: WOWT-TV
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Naked Man Standing on Car After Minor Crash Causes Traffic


A minor crash in West Hartford led to a bizarre incident in Hartford where police subdued a naked man they said was under the influence of PCP and marijuana.

West Hartford police said there was a minor crash in town and the driver fled the scene, then got into another crash near the 7-Eleven just over the line in Hartford.

Hartford police said the man had PCP and marijuana, was involved in several minor crashes, evaded police, went to 7-Eleven and was eventually subdued.

One Twitter user posted photos of the scene and said the man was naked when he got out of the car and stood on top of the vehicle. 

Hartford police said the man will face drug and motor vehicle charges.

Photo Credit: @anthonieros

Woman on Phone Tumbles Down Sidewalk Opening in New Jersey


A woman who was walking while on her phone didn’t notice an open sidewalk access door in front of her and plunged down the hole on Thursday, officials say.

The 67-year-old woman suffered serious injuries after dropping six feet down the stairs and into a basement.

Officials say she was walking down a sidewalk in Plainfield, New Jersey, before the fall.

She was distracted by her phone as she approached the open access door at Acme Windows.

Moments later, shocking security video shows her tripping over the access door and flipping into the basement. Passersby reach out to help her, but she is already mid-fall and disappears into the hole. 

Martin Delgadillo was standing outside his barbershop on Somerset Street just before noon when he saw the woman plunge through the access door. 

"She was looking at her phone — the last minute — she hit the door and fell right in," Delgadillo said. 

The video shows the woman being taken away in a stretcher by paramedics and firefighters. She was listed in serious condition at a hospital on Thursday night. 

Officials said the access door was open because crews were working on gas lines. At least one worker wearing a hardhat can be seen in the video after the woman falls. 

"I thought texting and driving was a bad thing," Delgadillo said. "Now it's texting and walking." 

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4 Bartenders, 3 Liquor Permit Holders Charged in Connection With Fatal Stamford Crash


Four bartenders and three liquor permit holders who had served under-aged patrons, including two 20-year-olds who died last February in a car crash, have been charged. 

In February, a 20-year-old driver, Thomas Molgano, and 20-year-old passenger, Lucas Salem, died after a crash on Hope Street.

Stamford police said they responded around 1:15 a.m. to Hope Street at Barnstable Lane for the crash. According to police, a 2002 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup, driven by Molgano, of Stamford, was going north on Hope Street when he lost control and swerved into the southbound lane then hit a tree.

Lucas Salem, of Stamford, later passed away at the hospital. Another 20-year-old passenger was treated for injuries and released from Stamford Hospital.

The Medical Examiner determined that Molgano was intoxicated at the time of the fatal crash. 

Stamford police launched an investigation into the young men's movements prior to the crash on Feb. 4. Investigators were able to execute nine search and seizure warrants and interview 30 witnesses. 

Six under-aged people had been served alcohol the night before and night of the crash at various establishments that had liquor permits, the investigation found. 

Seven arrest warrants were applied for and granted for three liquor permitees and four bartenders:

  • Ernst Buggisch, 59, of Stamford
    Permittee of Vinny’s Backyard Restaurant on 1078 Hope Street
    Charges: Sale of Alcohol to Minor (three counts), Allowing Minors to Loiter on Permit premise (four counts)
    Bond: $25,000 

  • Cynthia Torres, 28, of Darien
    Charges: Sale of Alcohol to Minor (three counts)
    Bond: $10,000

  • Melissa Santoro, 24, of Stamford
    Charges: Sale of Alcohol to Minor (three counts)  
    Bond: $10,000 

  • Kaley Walsh, 24, of Stamford
    Charges: Sale of Alcohol to Minor (three counts)  
    Bond: $10,000 

  • James Duggan, 65, of Stamford
    Permittee of Track’s Restaurant on 920 Hope Street
    Charges: Sale of Alcohol to Minor (four counts), Allowing Minors to Loiter on Permit premise (four counts)
    Bond: $25,000 

  • Linda McQuillan, 50, of Stamford
    Charges: Sale of Alcohol to Minor (four counts)  
    Bond: $10,000 

  • Alex Rosado, 32, of Bridgeport
    Permittee of Mystique Gentleman’s Club on 44 Poplar Street
    Charges: Sale of Alcohol to Minor (six counts), Allowing Minors to Loiter on Permit premise (six counts)
    Bond: $25,000 

All three establishments will be referred to the Department of Consumer Protection’s Liquor Control Commission, police said. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Haven Board of Education Searching for New Superintendent of Schools


The New Haven Board of Education is still looking for the next superintendent eight months since the former head of the school district stepped down.

This week the Board of Education sent out a district wide email announcing the superintendent search.

As that search gets underway, Jane Rivers said her family will soon start looking for a school for her daughter, Naomi, to attend kindergarten in the fall of 2018. Rivers said she hopes her daughter will enroll in New Haven’s Edgewood Magnet School.

“I’d like to see somebody who’s got extensive experience in education,” Rivers said about what she wants in the next superintendent. “Someone who has taught, I would hope, seven to eight years and preferably many of those years in public schools.”

Garth Harries left the superintendent job on Nov. 1

Back in the fall, Mayor Toni Harp, who is one of nine Board of Education members, told NBC Connecticut she hoped the position would be filled by July 1.

“I wish that they had started the search a little bit earlier and I hope they don’t rush into making a decision,” Rivers said.

NBC Connecticut reached out to the entire Board of Education for comment on the search.

“This board will make a decision which is not based on some made up deadline,” search committee chair Darnell Goldson said in an email. “Instead we include as many stakeholders as possible and will be deliberate in our process. We will not be rushed. This decision will affect a generation of children.”

The Board of Education agreed to pay Harries through June 30, on top of the salary for interim Superintendent Dr. Reginald Mayo.

“I’m sure there are better ways to use those funds,” Rivers said.

Jamell Cotto is a parent of two high school students in New Haven schools.

“I think Garth made a great superintendent,” Cotto said. “I do think that there were some personal things that should never have gotten in the way.”

Cotto is running for a Board of Education seat in a November primary against Dr. Ed Joyner.

“I’ve sat around most of my adult life and watched the shenanigans of politics dwarf the mission of the Board of Education,” Cotto said.

Cotto also wishes the superintendent search began sooner and he agrees with Rivers.

“I really hope that the search is public and that we, parents and citizens have some input,” Rivers said.

Goldson said in his email that Mayo agreed to stay on a little longer.

The next chance for parents and teachers to weigh in on the superintendent search is at Monday evening’s 5:30 Board of Education meeting at the Beecher School.

Joyner did not reply to NBC Connecticut’s request for comment for this story.

Below is the email sent out about the superintedent search:

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Active Police Scene in Canton

DMV to Roll Out New Drivers' License Program to Help Wait Times


Connecticut DMV is changing the way it and participating AAA branches issue drivers' licenses and IDs in an effort to lower average wait times.

Over the next four to six weeks, starting at the Willimantic DMV, new licenses will be mailed out to residents. 

A resident will have to go to the DMV to obtain a temporary paper license and then a permanent license will arrive in the mail up to 20 days later. 

The new license program may drop average wait times a few minutes or so.

In a year, the second phase of this program will allow people to "Skip a Trip", renewing their six year drivers' licenses online, before having to go to a branch again.

"Technically you won't have to come to a DMV branch for up to 12 years" to get a license, DMV Commissioner Michael Bzdyra said.

The DMV urges customers to renew licenses or IDs a week or two before their birthdays to allow time for their permanent license to arrive in the mail. Also, mailing licenses won't cost the state anything extra. The company that manages the license program is absorbing that expense.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Pedestrian Struck by Car in Manchester

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