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Crews Continue Clean Up After Storms


Friday was a busy day for Public Works crews and private tree removal companies in the areas hit hardest by Thursday afternoon’s storms.

Work on remodeling and replacing the Crowley family’s roof had finished just hours before a large tree came crashing down on Thursday.

Fortunately, nobody was hurt because no one was in that part of the house at the time.

With a crane, wood chipper and leaf blower, Dave Mcallister’s crew from Ron’s Tree Removal spent the morning cleaning up the Crowley’s yard on Lindy Street.

“We had some heavy rains this morning which made it a little more difficult holding the metal chokers and everything,” Mcallister said, “but we got the job done.”

In Woodbridge, Public Works crews stayed out late into the night Thursday clearing away a number of fallen trees off town roads.

“You had to wait until the heavy rains subsided then go deal with the problems as they arose,” Public Works Director Warren Connors said.

Connors said homeowners should be proactive in protecting their property.

“The best thing they can do is have an arborist come in and inspect the trees prior to the storms and make an assessment of the trees,” he said.

But sometimes, as was the case Thursday, Mother Nature proves to be too powerful.

“When you have certain wind conditions, there’s no guarantee because the live healthy tree becomes just as vulnerable to one that’s dead,” Connors said.

Having seen the damage up close on the Crowley’s home in Milford, Mcallister knows the family is very fortunate.

“All the walls all collapsed, they all caved in,” he said. “They’re really lucky because someone would of gotten maybe killed because it was in the house.”

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Brides Panic, Dial 911, as Bridal Chain Closes US Stores


Frantic brides-to-be descended on Alfred Angelo Bridal stores across the country Thursday amid reports that the company was closing all of its locations by the end of the day. 

Police responded to at least one location in Washington state where a group of angry customers gathered outside, banging and rattling the locked doors. And in Texas, San Antonio police tells NBC they received at least three 911 calls from desperate brides seeking help to retrieve their time-sensitive dresses.  

The bridal retailer boasts on its website that it helps brides "realize your wedding dreams," but by the end of day Thursday the promised wedding fantasy of so many had quickly turned to nightmares.

The abrupt closure of Alfred Angelo's more than 60 stores threw brides-to-be into limbo, leaving thousands of customers distraught over the prospect of finding another dress on short notice. 

"Panic, complete and utter disarray," Julie Jones, a bride-to-be who ordered several gowns from one of the retailer’s Southern California stores, told NBC San Diego. "I am crying hysterically. My poor fiance is tired of hearing about it because I can't stop crying about it."

The Wall Street Journal reports, citing company sources, that Alfred Angelo Bridal hired Miami-based law firm Stearns, Weaver, and Miller to guide the company through legal proceedings for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. NBC has not independently confirmed the WSJ report and Alfred Angelo and the firm did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

On Friday, the company filed to liquidate its operations in bankruptcy court. According to documents filed in the Southern District of Florida, the company lists its assets at $50,000 or less.   

At Alfred Angelo’s headquarters in Florida, employees were reportedly seen leaving the company’s corporate Delray Beach office Thursday “en masse,” according to the Palm Beach Post. And as social media buzzed of a rumored bankruptcy, the bridal retailer remained silent.

Angry customers turned to Facebook and Twitter to vent their frustrations over the sudden closures and the Delcompany's lack of a response

"@AlfredAngelo seriously your closing and half my bridal party doesn't have their dresses. #banruptcy," Jamie, of Pennsylvania, wrote on Twitter.

Ohio bride-to-be Amber McGraw said she didn't know how to describe the "sick feeling" she had paying "for a wedding dress I won't get." She added: "I'm getting married in 64 days and now have to look for a new dress and hope I find the money to pay for it #robbed."

"Alfred Angelo sounds like they won't honor the three bridesmaid dresses already ordered and paid for for mine & @JLynnWorden's wedding," wrote Twitter user Danny Surman.

Some customers say they were notified earlier Thursday to pick up their orders before stores shuttered their doors for good at the end of the day. Others learned of the closures through social media and arrived only to find the locations closed.

Brides who ordered Alfred Angelo dresses say they aren’t sure if they will ever get their dream gown while several customers reported stores were unable to process refunds because the credit card machines were no longer working.

"They said, 'We can't do any refunds, we can't do anything to help you,'" said Kathy Hunt, who told NBC Los Angeles she was out $1,100 for her daughter's dress.

But it's not just customers who were caught off-guard. Mollie Frish, a seamstress at the Alfred Angelo store in Manchester, Connecticut, said employees were advised at the beginning of their shift on Thursday morning that it would be their last day of work. 

"Many of these girls, this is their livelihood and they are without a job suddenly. Are they going to get paid? We don't know," Frish told NBC Connecticut.

Founded in 1933 by Alfred Angelo Piccione and Edythe Vincent Piccione, the company eventually grew to operating more than 60 stores nationwide and selling merchandise in more than 1,400 retail stores across the U.S. and around the globe.

Valen Studios Bridal Boutique, which carries Alfred Angelo dresses in its Chicago store, says it has about 50 orders pending and the company has been vague about what the closure means for her customers. The shop's manager, Erica Janel, told NBC Chicago that if Alfred Angelo Bridal doesn't fulfill her brides' orders, Valen plans to refund those customers out of their own pocket.

David's Bridal, a rival bridal chain, offered brides a light at the end of the altar: a special discount to bride's affected by the closures.

Customers with outstanding orders or who want to file a claim are directed to contact:

Patricia A. Redmond, Esquire
Stearns Weaver Miller
150 West Flagler Street
Miami, Florida 33130
Phone: (305) 789-3553
Fax: (305) 789-3395

Photo Credit: AP/FILE

Popular Manchester Bridal Shop Shuts Down Without Warning


For brides-to-be shopping at Alfred Angelo Bridal in Manchester, getting their hands on their dream dresses turned into a bit of a nightmare on Thursday.

"My dress that I wanted forever -- it was like my dream dress," said Connie Filintarakis, of Newington, who was in tears outside the bridal shop on Pleasant Valley Road.

Filintarakis said she had heard from a friend that the store was about to permanently close at 8 p.m. Thursday. She said she had already paid approximately $2,000 for her wedding dress, but was not scheduled to pick it up until Sunday.

With the doors about to lock for good, Filintarakis needed to get here fast.

"It was about 20 minutes and it was stressful. It was stressful thinking about what if they close," she said.

For much of the evening Thursday, brides-to-be, bridesmaids and their family members were racing inside to get what they already paid for.

"For them to call us and say 'We're closing the doors. You're not going to be able to get anything from us', it was shocking," said Sara Brewer, of Enfield, who went to the store to purchase and pick up a dress that her friend in Virginia was interested in buying.

Mollie Frish, a contract seamstress, has worked at the Alfred Angelo Bridal in Manchester for six years and said all of the employees at her store were told at the beginning of their shifts, that Thursday would be there last day of work.

According to Frish, a manager told employees that Alfred Angelo Bridal, which is based in south Florida, was shutting down dozens of locations nationwide because of financial problems.

"Many of these girls, this is their livelihood and they are without a job suddenly. Are they going to get paid? We don't know," said Frish.

Customers and employees said this store is in the process of shipping dresses to people who had already paid for the items but were unable to make it by closing time.

Officials from the Department of Consumer Protection said Friday that they are in the process of contacting the store.

They advise customers to gather all copies of contracts, proof of payments made and put together a summary of the status of transactions with Alfred Angelo, including estimated delivery dates, scheduled fittings and any other arrangements that were made and contact the department.

NBC Connecticut reached out for more information and comment from the corporate headquarters of Alfred Angelo Bridal multiple times Thursday but received no response. We tried again Friday morning and calls went to a voicemail box that was full.

A sign on the store listed an email address for cutomers to contact.  Click here to send an email to the store.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man in Critical Condition After Fight on New Haven Green


A 62-year-old man is in critical condition after he was assaulted during a fight on the New Haven Green Thursday night, according to police. 

Police officers responded to a report of a fight on the lower city green at 11:15 p.m. Thursday and found the victim, a 62-year-old New Haven man, unresponsive on the ground and another man was hurrying toward Chapel Street. A bludgeoning weapon was found with the victim, according to police. 

Officer John Moore spotted 39-year-old William Joseph McKinney, of New Haven, who matched the description of the assailant, as he hurried toward College Street. 

Police said his hands were bloody and officers asked him if he’d been in the fight. McKinney admitted he had been, but claimed self-defense, according to police who said they found a bludgeoning weapon with the victim. 

The victim, who suffered severe face and head injuries, was rushed to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he is in critical condition, according to police. 

McKinney has been charged with first degree assault. 

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Justin Trudeau Visits New England


Canada’s Prime Minister took the opportunity to take on the Trump Administration on the issue of free-trade during his visit to Providence for the Summer Meeting of the National Governors Association.

“Free trade has worked. It’s working now,” Trudeau told the group of about 30 governors in a ballroom in a downtown hotel.

Trudeau pointed out how there are nine-million jobs dependent on Canadian companies in the United States and they touch just about every state.

The focus of his comments was on President Donald Trump’s campaign, and now presidential promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, struck in the 1990’s between Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

Trudeau says he is open to changing the agreement, but won’t weaken his country’s position.

“We think it should be modernized as it has been a dozen times over the past quarter century and I have every expectation that it will be to the ultimate benefit of working people in all three partner countries,” Trudeau said.

He also provided veiled warnings about the consequences of the United States attempting to strong-arm any renegotiation. Trudeau says the agreement has only benefitted the entire continent.

“This is the most successful economic partnership in the history of the world. It’s worth about a trillion dollars each year and most importantly, it’s well-balanced,” Trudeau said.

He said the countries have to remain partners, and not adversaries when it comes to trade and remain competitive with the rest of the world.

“Sometimes the dependence and ease of a relationship can lead to us paying too little attention and when that happens the principals invariably live to regret it,” Trudeau said.

Who Is the Russian Lobbyist Who Met the Trump Team?


As a lobbyist bridging the worlds of the former Soviet Union and the United States, Rinat Akhmetshin has the reputation of a charming, skillful, behind-the-scenes operator, NBC News reported.

But now Akhmetshin, 49, finds himself in the spotlight after being revealed as the man who accompanied Moscow lawyer Natalia Veselniskaya to a meeting with top Trump campaign officials in June 2016, including Donald Trump Jr., the president's son.

His background in counterintelligence in the Soviet military for a couple of years as young man is under scrutiny, along with his client list, and court cases that include unproven accusations of involvement in hacking and smear campaigns.

Akhmetshin denies he is doing the bidding of Russian intelligence.

Photo Credit: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty via AP

N. Korea May Have More Bomb Material Than Known: Think Tank


Thermal images of North Korea's main nuclear site show more plutonium than previously thought, which can be used to grow its nuclear weapons stockpile, a U.S. think tank said on Friday.

The analysis by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korean monitoring group, was based on satellite images of the radiochemical laboratory at the Yongbyon nuclear plant from September until the end of June, NBC News reported, citing Reuters.

Images of the uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon could also indicate operation of centrifuges used to increase North Korea’s stock of enriched uranium, its other source of bomb fuel, 38 North said.

North Korea has been working to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the U.S. Last week North Korea tested its first intercontinental ballistic missile, which experts said had the range to hit all of Alaska and parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File

GOP Weighs Nearly Unprecedented Move to Pass Health Bill


Republicans are considering advancing their health care bill without an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on a major new provision that insurers warn would wreak havoc on customers, NBC News reported.

The CBO analyzed a previous version of the Senate bill last month, finding it would cover 22 million fewer people than current law. That was also before GOP leaders added a new amendment pushed by conservative members that would allow insurers to sell unregulated plans without protections for pre-existing conditions and without requirements that they cover various benefits guaranteed under the Affordable Care Act.

The CBO score on the new bill is expected to be announced early next week, days ahead of the expected vote. But senators say the score may not include the sweeping changes to insurance regulations initially proposed by Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.

It's extremely rare for significant legislation to be voted on without a score from the CBO.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File

Waterbury Police Search for Vandals Throwing Rocks at Cars


The Waterbury Police Department is investigating eight incidents in the last several weeks of cars being damaged with large rocks.

Devin Aurio, of Waterbury, was driving his Toyota Corolla Thursday at about 1:20 a.m. on East Main Street near the Boys and Girls Club, when a rock was thrown onto his windshield from what appeared to be an upper level window.

“I was driving home coming up East Main Street from downtown and all of a sudden this rock came smashing through the windshield," Aurio said. “I ended up stopping for a second, but then I drove away because I didn’t want to stand there and wait for whoever threw the rock. So I go home, I call police, I filed a police report, but you know there was just glass everywhere.”

It wasn’t the first time a rock was thrown at his car.

On Sunday night, his car and his mother’s 2004 Honda Civic were parked outside their home on Celia Avenue between 11 and 11:30 p.m. when their cars were damaged by rocks again. One cracked Aurio’s windshield and another rock damaged the side of his mother’s car.

Waterbury Police are asking anyone who sees suspicious activity to call them.

Hartford Police, Saint Francis Hospital Host Gun Buyback


Hartford police and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center are working to get guns off the street with a gun buyback event.

The event is Saturday at the Johnson Stewart Community Center on Martin Street from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Residents will be able to turn in firearms for a Stop & Shop gift card. Weapons can be turned in anonymously, no questions asked. The amount of the card depends on the type of weapon.

  • $450 gift card for an assault rifle
  • $250 gift card for a semi-automatic handgun
  • $150 gift card for a revolver
  • $100 gift card for a shotgun/rifle

The guns will be destroyed, unless forensic testing shows been used in a crime. The Newtown Action Alliance, which will collect the guns, said they plan to turn them into garden tools, which will be donated to community gardens.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Los Imperios Entertainment License in Limbo


The town of West Hartford is considering suspending the entertainment license of Los Imperios restaurant on Farmington Avenue.

As loud as living off one of West Hartford's busiest streets can become, Mary Alice Sullivan says the real boom begins every night when she's trying to wind down.

“It's very loud and that shouting sometimes it sounds kind of violent,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan says the sound that comes from the Los Imperios restaurant and night club has kept her up for years and is convinced suspending the restaurant's entertainment license won't change a thing.

“Music is not the problem, I never hear any music at all what I hear is people coming out from the party continuing right on the street,” Sullivan said.

West Hartford Police and the restaurant's owner and attorney met for nearly and hour-long hearing Wednesday to review the possible suspension of the restaurant's entertainment license which its attorney says would include putting an end to the music but still allowing alcohol.

The city adopted the ordinance last October which requires businesses to turn off music at least a half hour before they close.

“I think it's after the party,” Alexander Leykiah said.

The restaurant's attorney says the owner plans to challenge two out of the three recent disturbance violations and in a statement said,” With the exception of the first misstep that occurred in January for which accountability is accepted, Los Imperios has been in full compliance with the entertainment ordinance."

While not all neighbors like Sullivan say the place should be shut down for good they do hope its patrons can quiet down the party.

“The town I think it's really kind of stuck” Sullivan said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Pence Sells GOP Healthcare Plan at Governors' Conference


With a captive audience of more than 30 of the most powerful politicians in America, Vice President Mike Pence told the nation’s governors that the administration in the White House is looking out for them when it comes to healthcare policy.

“The truth is, America’s governors have a friend in President Donald Trump,” Pence told the group at the National Governor Association’s Annual Summer Meeting, which was held at a hotel in Providence, Rhode Island.

Pence focused his remarks on the healthcare debate, and most of those comments were directed at sweeping changes to Medicaid funding.

Currently, states receive reimbursement from the federal government based on the money they spend on Medicaid patients’ healthcare. The GOP plan crafted in Senate would cap the amount sent to the states, in either a block grant, or funds could be distributed on a per-capita, per-person basis.

Those changes, appropriating a set amount of money for Medicaid for the first time in a federal budget, the Vice President said, puts the decisions about healthcare back in the states’ hands for the first time since Obamacare was enacted.

“When it comes to Medicaid, not only does the Senate’s healthcare bill expand state flexibility, it ensures that every state in America has the resources you need to take care of your most vulnerable,” Pence told the audience to a smattering of applause.

Governor Dannel Malloy, who did not applaud any of Pence’s remarks on healthcare, said he doesn’t understand how anything the vice president described would help people in Connecticut.

“Either he’s intentionally misstating the facts or incredibly out of touch with reality,” Malloy said during an interview following Pence’s remarks.

Malloy said the existing system allows Connecticut residents who need help paying for healthcare achieve the outcomes they’re hoping for. He’s said in the past that the GOP proposal in the US Senate is cruel to the neediest citizens.

“Medicaid is working,” Malloy said. “If you want to know how well it’s working, ask anyone who has a relative in a nursing home at the age of 95. If you want to know how well it’s working, ask anyone with a disabled child who has chronic or health challenges.”

Republicans in the US Senate would need at least 50 votes to approve the proposed healthcare reform.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Yard Goats, Former Whalers Players Visit Patients at UConn


It was a special day for patients of the UConn John Dempsey Hospital Friday. Members of the Hartford Yard Goats baseball team and the former Hartford Whalers hockey team visited patients as part of the Yard Goats celebration of the “Whalers Alumni Weekend.”

Yard Goats pitchers Matt Bierpont and Ryan Castellani and former players of the Hartford Whalers – Norm Barnes, Bob Crawford, Grant Jennings, Mike Rogers – spent Friday morning putting a smile on patients like Thomas Lozada-Trimmier.

He, along with other patients, were given a signed autographed poster. Lozada-Trimmier has been in the hospital for four months with a stomach ailment.

“This is better than the opening game!” he said.

“It makes us feel pretty good to see somebody who was just that excited for us to come and talk to them he didn’t get to come out for opening day but really excited to see us,” said Bierpont.

Errol Misquita’s lung recently collapsed, but he couldn’t help but smile when the players surprised him in his hospital room.

“When they came in I was like whoa, I wasn’t expecting this like I was… I woke up and I feel better,” said Misquita, who lives in Windsor.

For one patient, the visit was extra special. Ebum Cooper has sickle cell, a very painful red blood cell disease. Her son threw the first pitch game. And this time, it was Cooper they surprised.

“Thank you so much,” she said. “With the Yard Goats and the icing on the cake – the Whalers! I’ve always loved the Whalers.”

“It’s amazing to do something like this and to see the people and just what they’re going through and how excited they are,” Rogers said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Shelton Man Killed in Bethany Crash


A Shelton man was killed in a crash in Bethany Friday night.

Connecticut State Police said that 43-year-old John Kwochka was driving on Cheshire Road (Route 42) in Bethany shortly before 5 p.m.when his car collided with a vehicle traveling the opposite direction.

Kowchka was pronounced dead on scene. The driver of the other vehicle was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Anyone with information should contact Trooper Beaudoin at 23-393-4200 ext. 3016.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Serious Crash on Shewville Road in Ledyard

Owens Brook Boulevard in Simsbury Closed After Crash

Hospital Employees Exposed to Radioactive Substance


Hazmat crews responded to St. Raphael’s Hospital in New Haven after someone broke into a nuclear medicine lab, according to fire officials.

New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said employees discovered the lab had been vandalized when they came in around 8 a.m. Saturday.

Twelve employees were exposed to an unidentified radioactive substance in the basement-level lab.

“Depending on what type of radiation it is, and the amount, and the energy source it is it can be devastating,” Alston said.

Three employees underwent decontamination due to a black powder on the bottoms of their shoes. None of the employees were exhibiting any symptoms.

The bottom floor of the hospital and the immediate area above were evacuated as a precaution.

The fire chief said that because the medicine is made in small doses, exposure was limited. The victims are expected to be fine.

It is unclear at this time if anything was stolen from the lab. Authorities are reviewing surveillance footage to determine who broke in and why.

“People break in to all types of buildings. They don’t really know sometimes what they’re breaking into,” Alston said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Man Stole Liquor Bottles and Attacked Delivery Driver: Police


New London police have arrested a man accused of assaulting a delivery driver while stealing liquor bottles out of a delivery truck.

According to police, 35-year-old Reynaldo Cartagena, of Groton, stole liquor bottles out of a delivery truck that was parked near 345 Bank Street around 11:30 a.m. Friday. When the driver attempted to stop Cartagena, the suspect attacked the driver and ran off.

The victim suffered a minor injury to the area around his eye.

Police located Cartagena about two hours later. He was identified by the victim, and charged with third-degree robbery, third-degree assault and sixth-degree larceny. He was held on a $25,000 bond.

Photo Credit: New London Police Department

ISIS Leader in Afghanistan Killed by US Airstrike: Pentagon


The leader of an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan was killed in a U.S. airstrike on the groups’ headquarters this week, the Pentagon said Friday.

Abu Sayed, the emir of ISIS in the Khorasan Province, called ISIS-K, died in Tuesday’s airstrike in Kunar Province, a region on Afghanistan’s northeast border with Pakistan.

"This operation is another success in our campaign to defeat ISIS-K in Afghanistan in 2017," commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson told NBC News.

Senate Armed Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Arizona, last month said the U.S. has no strategy to end what he called a stalemate in Afghanistan after 16 years of war.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

'Shoot Hoops Not Guns' Honors Teen Killed in Hartford


“Shoot Hoops Not Guns.” That’s the name of a new Hartford youth basketball league that launched Saturday night.

It’s meant to offer kids a safe activity and steer them away from potential violence.

Nearly 200 kids played basketball at the Wilson-Gray YMCA in Hartford Saturday.

On their shirts was printed the image of the 15-year-old they were honoring, Keon Huff Jr.

“I knew Keon for a long time. Like, we used to come here and ball together all the time. So I’m just here to support him,” said Tahjae Young of Hartford.

In March, Keon was shot and killed in the hallway of an apartment building on Garden Street. Another teenager was charged with Keon’s death.

“Basketball was his love. You know, he stayed 90 percent in this building,” Glenn Mauldin, the sports director at the YMCA explained.

In remembrance of Keon, the Y decided to start this summer program.

“Shoot Hoops Not Guns” hopes to offer kids a safe place to go on Saturday nights and to keep them off of the streets.

“Living in this neighborhood it’s just tough to always do what’s right when you have people pulling you from different directions,” Mauldin said.

Several organizations donated the money to make this possible. And friends of Keon think the games could make a difference.

“I think they are good places for kids to stay out of trouble. It gives them a place that’s safe where they do what they love, play sports,” said Amari Wells of Hartford.

This league runs from 2 p.m. until 11 p.m. each Saturday and it lasts until the end of August, right before the kids go back to school.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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