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Powder Ridge Year-Round Snow Park Opening Delayed


The opening of the year-round snow park at Powder Ridge in Middlefield is delayed until September 2 instead of its original opening on August 5.

The delay was caused by a slowdown in production. But Powder Ridge does not anticipate any further delays and is confident that they are now on schedule for the new opening date.

Staff members said materials have all arrived.

During the grand opening ceremony, Powder Ridge will unveil a 500-foot run for skiing and snowboarding as well as two lanes for tubing. By the summer of 2018 they plan to expand the run to 2,800 feet, all the way to the top of the ridge. 

For more information, visit the Powder Ridge website.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Eclipse Chasers Say Get Ready for ‘Otherworldly’ Experience


In less than 20 days, millions of Americans will look up to watch the moon completely cover the sun. For a couple of minutes, the sky will become dark. Birds will flock to their nests. The temperature will drop significantly. Bright stars and planets will come out of hiding.

It’s a celestial event astronomers have spent years preparing for and so-called “eclipse chasers” from all over the world have booked up hotel rooms in its path months, even years, in advance. Some have changed their lives for it.

“I retired at the end of last year because of this eclipse,” eclipse chaser and amateur astronomer Jackie Beucher said.

Bolivia, Aruba, Greece, Siberia, China, Australia -- Beucher has been around the world and said she’s seen at least eight total eclipses.

“It’s a soul-searing experience,” Beucher said. 

She was in Hawaii when she saw her first total eclipse on July 11, 1991. Twenty-five years later, Beucher still remembers the “very, very strange” moment when birds went to roost and frogs began chirping. But most eerie, she said, was that the waves on the coast of Maui died down.

“You can never be ready for it,” she said. “You see that black hole in the sky and then the corona bursts out and it’s like it just hits you straight to your soul. And I’m sitting here at my kitchen table with goose bumps all over me just thinking about it.”

This year, Beucher won’t have to travel far to get those goose bumps. The path of the eclipse is headed right through her hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.

Millions of Americans from Salem, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina, will be able to see it, according to NASA.

With so many Americans in the path of totality, Beucher has made it her mission to convince as many people as possible to make an effort to see it. She’s become an eclipse evangelist of sorts, giving talks and lessons to the public.

“I start off my sermon and I say, ‘How many of you are planning to go to see totality?’ And I say, ‘Well, I’m here today to try to convince you to make the effort.’”

An entire generation of Americans haven’t seen a total eclipse. The last time totality passed over the contiguous U.S. was in 1979.

“There’s no question that this will be by far the most-witnessed total solar eclipse in America’s history,” said David Baron, eclipse chaser and author of “American Eclipse.”

Baron said many people have seen lunar eclipses in their lifetime, in which the moon passes behind the earth, and many have seen a partial solar eclipse, when the moon covers part of the sun.

“That’s all very interesting,” but something much different happens during a total solar eclipse, according to Baron.

“The best way I can describe it is like you are suddenly transported to another planet and you are looking at a completely alien sky,” Baron said. “When the moon’s shadow moves in, it pulls the blue sky away and it enables you to look toward the center of the solar system to see the stars, to see the planets and our sun together and you’ll see the sun like you’ve never seen it before.”

The sun’s outer atmosphere, the corona, is the star of the show during a total eclipse. According to NASA, astronomers have made many scientific discoveries while studying the corona during solar eclipses.

And for eclipse chasers, the moment they witness the halo around the sun is everything.

“It feels like I am seeing God. It’s that intense,” said Baron, who admits he isn’t religious. “You have a sense of how enormous and grand and beautiful the universe is and how tiny and insignificant you are as a human being.”

But the moment is sometimes difficult to put into words.

“You have this feeling and it comes, you know, from the middle of your chest where your heart is…man, it hits you there,” Beucher said.

“I can’t describe the feeling and the compulsion that you get when you see one and you want to see it again. It just drives you. It’s so meaningful,” said Kate Russo, a psychologist from Australia who became fascinated by eclipses after seeing one on the coast of France in 1999.

Like Beucher, Russo was infatuated after her first eclipse sighting.

“I really did not expect that I would become an eclipse chaser. I didn’t expect that I was going to be hooked on them. And I didn’t really expect that it was going to be so profound and that it would really change my life,” said Russo, whose book “Being in the Shadow” shares people’s personal stories of their first time seeing an eclipse.

Russo said she wrote her book because “people just didn’t get it” when she would come back from an eclipse trip and try to explain to them what it was like.

It was through her work as a psychologist for families experiencing loss that she says she realized why she was so moved by the eclipse experience.

“You really understand [life is] precious when you’re about to lose someone. This would be my day job where I was having these profound insights, but these were the same insights I was getting every time I was experiencing totality, without the loss,” Russo said. “It really made me think about the total eclipse as something really really unique as a human event and it made me fascinated by it even more.”

How Can I See It?
To see the total eclipse on Aug. 21, you’ll have to be in the path of totality. The 70-mile-wide path will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and North and South Carolina. All of North America that’s outside of the path will be able to see a partial eclipse.

“Here in the D.C. area, we’re going to get about 80 percent coverage, which is a lot, but we’re still gonna have plenty of light outside,” said NBC4 Chief Meteorologist Doug Kammerer said. “You will notice it if you’re out in the D.C. area.”

Kammerer is going down south to Clemson, South Carolina, to see the total eclipse and bring the experience to NBC4 viewers.

“This is history. This is something that I may never see again in my lifetime,” Kammerer said.

Safety First
Remember when you’re watching the eclipse to never look directly at the sun, except during totality.

NASA recommends going to local science museums, schools or astronomy clubs to find free eclipse glasses.

You can also check out NASA’s website for more ways to view the eclipse safely.

And be prepared to get hooked.

“They do say it’s a once in a lifetime event and that is absolutely true, but you don’t have to limit it to just once in a lifetime,” Russo said. “You too can become an eclipse chaser. We welcome you with open arms!”

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Mice Uptick Scurry Up Trouble in Montville


Mice are wreaking havoc in Montville, where they are invading homes and damaging cars.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection believes the mild winter and the end of the drought are causing the mice population surge.

Michael Howard, of Monville Hardware, said he is selling more mouse traps than usual.

“People are coming in all day long looking either for deterrent or a trap,” Howard said.

Once you figure out where the mouse are coming from and nesting, you can set up traps or deterrents.

But the damage the mice bring to cars is a little more difficult to deal with.

“They’ll chew on the wires. You’ll have lights go out in the back of the car. You’ll have no start conditions,” said Paul Nelson, of Ed’s Country Sales.

Montville residents are doing whatever they can to rid their homes and cars of these mice.

“We don’t think to open the hood and check and see if mice are in there, but he’s right, they can end up anywhere,” said Barbara Harvey.

However hard they fight though, it might be a losing battle. DEEP said that as long as these ideal conditions last, so will the mice.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspect in Tax Scheme Targeting School Employees Arrested


A 33-year-old citizen of Nigeria who is in the United States on an expired visa has been arrested, accused of a tax form phishing scandal that impacted 1,600 school employees in Glastonbury and federal officials said the ongoing investigation is also into a scheme that targeted Groton public schools.

Daniel Adekunle Ojo was arrested Thursday at his North Carolina home and charged with fraud and identity theft. 

Special agents from the FBI’s cybercrime squad in New Haven and the IRS made the arrest amid investigating “phishing” emails that were sent to various school districts in Connecticut earlier this year. 

In February, an employee of the Glastonbury Public Schools received an email that appeared to be sent by another Glastonbury school system employee and requested send W-2 tax information for all employees of the school system. 

The person who received the email responded with W-2 information for approximately 1,600 Glastonbury Public Schools employees.

Around 122 suspicious 1040 forms were filed electronically with the IRS in the names of victims of the Glastonbury phishing scheme and claimed $596,897 in tax refunds. 

About six of the returns were processed and $36,926 was electronically deposited into various bank accounts, according to federal authorities. 

Federal officials said Ojo used aol.com and gmail.com email accounts involved in a phishing scheme to obtain the Glastonbury school system employees’ personal identifying information and use it for personal gain. 

Officials said the ongoing investigation also includes phishing incidents that victimized the Groton Public Schools and the Bloomington Independent School District in Bloomington, Minnesota. 

The phishing incident targeting the Groton Public Schools happened in March and a school system employee emailed copies of W-2 information for around 1,300 employees. 

Around 66 suspicious 1040 IRS forms were filed electronically, claiming $364,188 in tax refunds, but they were flagged as part of an identity theft scheme so no money was sent, federal officials said.

In March, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents issued a warning about this type of scam to alert staff and said several other school districts received emails but staff recognized the scam and did not respond.

Ojo entered the United States on a visitor’s visa on May 23, 2016, and he failed to leave on June 8, 2016, as scheduled, according to federal authorities.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

1 Year in Prison for Owner of Dogs That Mauled Woman


A Plainfield woman whose Rottweilers mauled a health worker in 2014 has been sentenced to a year in prison for reckless endangerment.

Jenna Allen was sentenced today to one year in prison and three years of probation.

Police said Lynne Denning, of Canterbury, was caring for an elderly patient on Putnam Road in the Wauregan Village of Plainfield in December 2014 when Allen's dogs viciously attacked her.

Denning "suffered brutal injuries" to her face, chest, arms and legs and had at least 13 surgeries in the months after the attack, according to police and family members.

Months later, Denning said that despite the physical and emotional scars she sustained in the attack, she was blessed to be alive.

Town officials confiscated five Rottweilers and a Labrador from the home. The dogs, which were all present at the time of the attack, were quarantined at the Plainfield Animal Shelter.

Days later, officials announced plans to euthanize the dogs but said they were unable to prove four of the dogs took part in the attack and opted to return them to their owners, Allen and Corey Beakey. 

In June 2016, two of the dogs were euthanized.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Enfield Police Make Arrest in Death of 62-Year-Old Woman


Enfield police have made an arrest in the death of a 62-year-old woman.

Howard Bowen, 33, was arrested Friday morning and charged with murder in the death of Pamela Cote.

Cote was reported missing from the Windsor Court public housing complex on October 28, 2016. Her body was found in a wooded area behind Windsor court a short time later.

Cote died of asphyxiation, according to the medical examiner.

On November 3, detectives began investigating Bowen as a possible suspect and questioned him, according to police.

Investigators were able to establish probable cause to charge Bowen with Cote's murder, police said.

Bowen was already being held at the McDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield on an unrelated robbery charge.

He was brought to Enfield Superior Court on Friday where he was charged with murder.

Bowen is being held on a $1 million bond.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Dept. of Correction

Pickup Crashes Into Side of Garage in Cheshire


A pickup crashed into a house in Cheshire Thursday night and police said alcohol was involved. 

A photo from the scene shows a pickup after it crashed into the side of the garage. 

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Worker Dies After Tree Limb Hits Him in the Head


A 30-year-old man is dead after a tree limb hit him in the head during a work-related accident in Windsor Friday.

Police said they received a call around noon after the man, who was working for a tree company, was injured on private property on Bloomfield Avenue.

He died from the injuries he sustained, police said. The medical examiner is at the scene.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

5 Swimming Areas Closed for Water Quality


Swimming areas at five state parks are closed because of poor water quality and warnings have been posted about blue-green algae at two others.

The swimming areas are closed at Gardner Lake State Park in Salem, Gay City State Park in Hebron, Mashamoquet Brook State Park in Pomfret, Quaddick State Park in Thompson and Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middlefield.

Officials from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said they have posted warnings about cyanobacteria blooms, or blue-green algae, at the beaches at Kettletown State Park in Southbury and Indian Well State Park in Shelton.

Those swimming areas are open, but swimmers should stay away from algae blooms have created greenish patches on the surface of the water.

A similar warning has been posted at the boat launch on Candlewood Lake.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.dom

6 Places You Should Visit to See the Solar Eclipse


Summer is the perfect time to take a road trip — and now your journey can be driven by science.

On Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible in a belt of states across the country. In the "path of totality," travelers and residents can experience the complete darkness that occurs when the moon completely covers the sun. Only viewers in the path of totality will be able to see the full eclipse, so location is crucial.

Communities across the country have plans to host events to attract out-of-towners looking to view the first total solar eclipse in the continental U.S. since 1979. From minor league baseball teams to astronomy enthusiasts, many have plans to pause to appreciate the rare sight.

Experts predict traffic on the roads ahead of the eclipse will lead to headaches for travelers, with two thirds of Americans living within a day’s drive of the eclipse — so start planning now. Here are some of the places that are celebrating the eclipse’s arrival from coast to coast:

Salem, Oregon. The capital of Oregon is among the first U.S. cities that will experience the eclipse. The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, a minor league baseball team, will host an Eclipse BrewFest over the weekend and play a game on the day of the eclipse. Enjoy the eclipse with family at Camp Taloali, just 15 minutes away from the capital city. The camp offers cabins and space for tents and recreational vehicles, along with activities such as rock climbing and biking trails. The Great Solar Eclipse Campout at Powerland Heritage Park will focus on education, with activities available at museums to learn more about the eclipse. Space for recreational vehicles and tents will be available.

Jackson, Wyoming. Jackson Hole, a popular vacation spot for skiing and located at the base of Grand Teton National Park, is a summertime destination for its location in the path of totality. Snow King Mountain Resort will offer passes to watch the eclipse on its scenic lift that will include access to a bungee trampoline and miniature golf. Gros Ventre Campground Amphitheater, in the Grand Teton National Park, will treat visitors to presentations from astronomers and park rangers and provide telescopes. Four Seasons Jackson Hole will give attendees the opportunity to view the eclipse from telescopes and hear from astrophysicist Ryan Hennessey.

St. Louis, Missouri. While St. Louis may be slightly off the main path of totality, a short drive from the city provides several locations to view the eclipse. "View It Live Just Off I-55," an official NASA eclipse viewing site at the Herculaneum High School in Herculaneum, Mo., will have food vendors and other activities for viewers. The Totality Solar Eclipse Viewing Festival at the Chesterfield Amphitheater, just over 20 minutes outside of the heart of St. Louis, will feature a Journey tribute band, food trucks, vendors and educational sessions.

Nashville, Tennessee. Known for its music scene, Nashville is the largest city in the eclipse path of totality. The Nashville Sounds, the city's minor league baseball team, along with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and other city agencies announced an eclipse viewing party for the city. The event will include music from the Nashville Symphony, scientific demonstrations and a Sounds baseball game. The Adventure Science Center will host an official NASA viewing site event, packed with activities, live music and food vendors.

Columbia, South Carolina. The South Carolina state capital lies in the path of totality. The South Carolina State Museum will host an eclipse event with an appearance by Apollo 16 astronaut Gen. Charles Duke, and access to a Planetarium Eclipse Show, "Shadows From Space." The Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia is encouraging guests to observe animal behavior during the solar event.

Charleston, South Carolina. As the only state on the Eastern seaboard in the path of totality, South Carolina is set to be host to a large number of visitors. Charleston will commemorate the eclipse with a number of events. The Charleston RiverDogs, a minor league baseball team, will allow early entry into the team’s game to view the 2:48 p.m. eclipse ahead of the 4:05 game. At the Citadel Mall, an eclipse event will feature kids' activities, food trucks and entertainment, with proceeds benefitting Darkness to Light, a non-profit aimed at preventing child abuse. Astronomers at the College of Charleston Observatory will host a viewing event free to the public.

Photo Credit: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan via Getty Images

Police Departments Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors


Police across the state are working to install carbon monoxide detectors in cop SUVs after an officer crashed in Auburn, Massachusetts on Wednesday.

This is the third reported crash, after incidents in Louisiana and California, where the officer passed out behind the wheel and rammed into another car.

Officials believe the accidents could be connected to carbon monoxide fumes, which has tested positive in several other police cruisers.

Now, police departments in Connecticut are taking action over the potential carbon monoxide dangers.

A spokesman for the Bloomfield Police Department, Captain Stephen Hajdasz, said they have installed detectors in 14 marked cruisers and three other vehicles on Thursday.

"Our number one goal is to keep employees safe. They cannot protect the public and keep the public safe, if they're not our number one priority." Hajdasz said.

If dangerous fumes are present in the vehicles, the strip on the detector will change color.

"It’s a dot that's currently yellowish-gold and if it is indicating the presence of carbon monoxide it's going to start turning gray and depending on the severity of it, it could get totally black if up to 100 parts per million,” Hajdasz said.

Windsor Police Captain Tom Lepore told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters said while his department hasn’t had any issues, he doesn’t want to take any chances.

“We don't have an issue here in Windsor that we are aware of, but out of an abundance of caution, (Thursday) morning the chief and I decided that we were going to purchase carbon monoxide detectors,” Lepore said.

Seventeen detectors are on the way to Windsor. In Wethersfield, newly purchased carbon monoxide monitors will be arriving for Ford police interceptor SUVs by next week.

"They're our family they mean everything to us. We would certainly not want anything to happen to our officers so anything we can do to alert us to any problems and potentially avert a tragedy or accident we'll do,” Lepore said.

Meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating reports of carbon monoxide leaks in some Ford SUVS, but not any in Connecticut.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Tree Falls on SUV in New Hartford


A Connecticut family escaped injury after a huge tree fell on their SUV during a storm at Satan's Kingdom State Recreation Area in New Hartford Friday afternoon.

The Bermudez family was in the vehicle as hail fell during an afternoon storm. One of the family members was taking video of the hail with a cell phone when the tree came crashing down.

"So we were filming and then you know we were like and then we heard a lightning strike and then the tree came down on the windshield," Brandon Bermudez said. "If we were like a little few inches to the side, there could have been casualties."

The family was at the park tubing on the Farmington River.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Watertown Police Relaunch Bike Patrol Unit


Some Watertown police officers will now be patrolling on two wheels instead of squad cars. 

The bike patrol unit is making a comeback after nearly 20 years thanks to a grant from the Thomaston Savings Bank.

"I ride every single week for part of staying in shape," Watertown Police Corporal David McDonnell told NBC Connecticut.

Now, riding one of the department’s new mountain bikes with 29-inch tires is part of McDonnell's job with the Watertown Police Department.

"Being in a police car really closes you off from the community," McDonnell said. "Being up close and person, being able to hop off it, visit with business owners, meet with the public is just, it brings a whole new dimension to police work."

Three outfitted officers will rotate riding the two bikes the department purchased with the grant money, patrol commander Lt. Tim Gavallas said.

"When manpower allows, they’ll be out on the bicycles," Gavallas said. "They’ll be covering the main streets, plazas our parks, greenways."

Watertown residents told NBC Connecticut they are looking forward to seeing the bike officers on patrols in areas like Main Street.

"I think the more exposure they have and the more interaction there is between them and the citizens is only good, only good can come of it," Tammy from Watertown said.

There are benefits to the bike program beyond just building even better community relations, Gavallas said.

"They can get in places where a car can’t," Gavallas said. "They’re very stealthy, too."

In the bikes’ tail bag, officers will carry basic first aid, bike supplies and ticket books.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

13-Year-Old Boy in Hamden Wakes Up to Skunk in Bed


A 13-year-old boy in Hamden was in for a smelly surprise when he woke with a skunk in his bed, police said. 

Hamden Animal Control responded to the home on West Easton Street at 6 a.m. on July 25. 

When officers walked in, they said a "poignant smell of skunk" emanated throughout the house. 

A 13-year-old boy sleeping in an upstairs bedroom was awakened by a skunk in his bed and family members were able to remove the animal from the home, police said. 

Police said the resident brought a trash can, which had a hole, from outside and didn't realize it contained a skunk.

Photo Credit: AP

FIRST ALERT: Strong to Severe Thunderstorms Saturday


Our team of meteorologists have issued a First Alert ahead of Saturday severe weather threat.

The severe weather threat is the result of a cold front that will move through the state tomorrow morning. The front will bring in rain and thunderstorms beginning in the morning.

We're forecasting thunderstorms to move into the state between 6 and 9 a.m. Saturday. The thunderstorm and rain threat will continue into the afternoon hours.

The main threat with these storms will be heavy rain, frequent lightning, small hail, and damaging winds within the strongest storms. There is also a very slight chance of a small tornado somewhere in the state. 

Take a look at First Alert Future Radar at 7 a.m. You can see storms are beginning to fire through portions of Litchfield and Fairfield counties. 

The front will slowly move across the state and will move into central portions of the state between 9 and 11 a.m.

Eastern Connecticut can expect thunderstorms from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The thunderstorm threat will come to an end by the ladder by of the afternoon and especially by the early evening. 

In addition to the thunderstorms the cold front will also be responsible bringing in much cooler and drier air. Humidity levels will go from oppressive humidity to comfortable by Sunday afternoon. High temperatures will also be in the upper 70s and low 80s through next Wednesday.

Check the First Alert 10-day forecast to see how next week is looking. 

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Fall Camping Cut for State Parks With No State Budget


There will be no fall camping at any state park in Connecticut as budget issues persist. 

Without a state budget, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) said there are no plans to have fall camping this year. 

Dennis Schain, director at DEEP, said the department has not been taking any camping reservations after Labor Day. 

Schain said the elimination of fall camping could change depending on what happens with the state budget. 

Usually, camping at state grounds goes until Columbus Day. 

Last year, DEEP had to cut back fall camping to two state parks. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

New Images of Vernon House Explosion Emerge 1 Year Later


It has been one year since a home explosion on East Street in Vernon and impacted the Kerstetter family.

On Thursday, NBC Connecticut obtained exclusive video from first responders who filmed footage right in the midst of all the rubble on Aug. 4, 2016.

The house was completely leveled and the three adults and four children inside the home suffered serious injuries but survived.

The first responders video shows up close images of the shocking aftermath after a liquid propane gas explosion destroyed the Vernon home. 

A lifetime of memories vanished after the propane gas explosion. It is a day that neighbors won’t soon forget,

"We did see the house collapse," one neighbor told NBC Connecticut back in August. "People came running up to us, saying, 'There's people trapped inside'."

The footage was filmed by the Connecticut State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit and shows crushed cars, clothes, furniture and memorabilia tossed around like trash. The front door was blown across the street.

The videos also show where it all started: a dryer, according to investigators. The gas was leaking from a quarter-inch hole connected to a propane line in the basement.

Troopers later closed out and cleared the investigation. No one will ever know what actually ignited the explosion and investigators previously reported there weren't any issues with any of the propane tanks.

Last month, the Kerstetter family, through an attorney, told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters they disagreed with the state poli findings, and were doing their own investigation. They also wanted NBC Connecticut to remind viewers of their gratitude and thanks to the community for all they've done for them.

On the one year anniversary, NBC Connecticut was told, understandably, that the family is still not ready to share their story.

Silver Alert Issued for 2-Year-Old Boy in Waterbury


A Silver Alert has been issued for a 2-year-old boy in Waterbury, police said. 

Joel Minnis was reported missing on Friday.

He is described as having black hair and brown eyes, weighing about 40 pounds. 

Police said he may be in a silver 2001 Acura MDX with Connecticut plates: AK36314.

Anyone with information is asked to call Waterbury Police at (203) 574-6911.

NBC Connecticut is working to get more information.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police

Alcatraz Ferry Rescues 10 Passengers from Sinking Boat


Crew members for an Alcatraz Island ferry are being hailed as heroes after rescuing 10 people on board a sinking boat in the San Francisco Bay.

The crew late Thursday had just picked up about 400 passengers from Alcatraz Island and heard the distress call from the sinking boat.

"I looked at the side of the boat and noticed their boat was going down pretty quick," Alcatraz Clipper Capt. Erik Anfinson said.

Video of the rescue recorded by a French Canadian tourist showed the boat was quickly sinking. Anfinson in the video can be heard yelling "Get 'em on the boat! Get 'em on! Get them on the boat now!"

The private boat ran aground on a rock formation known as "Little Alcatraz" usually seen at low tide.

"They were fine, they were all wearing life jackets," Anfinson said.

Once all 10 people on the sinking boat were aboard the ferry, the tourists who were on their way back to shore from their Alcatraz tour erupted into applause.

The rescue was a highlight of an Alcatraz tour on Friday.

"I wish I could have been there to see those guys jump in and save them," tourist Austin Pool said.

A salvage company will start searching Saturday morning for the sunken boat.

Jennifer Gonzalez-Arias contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Simon Houde
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Chicago to Sue Justice Department Over Grant-Slashing Threat


The city of Chicago will file suit Monday against the U.S. Justice Department over Trump administration threats to cut off federal funding for being a sanctuary city, officials confirmed to NBC 5.

“It is wrong on a values basis; immigrants are part of our community,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

The suit claims the Justice Department can’t impact grants due to a policy change about undocumented immigrants, Emanuel said.

The Justice Department declined to comment. The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last May local governments refusing to cooperate in deporting convicted criminals risk losing their Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security grants.

The $3.2 million Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, which is used in Chicago to buy police equipment and technology, is on the chopping block under the administration’s threats.

Sessions issued a memo in response to an executive order issued by President Donald Trump in late January directing the attorney general and the secretary of Homeland Security to ensure that sanctuary cities will not be eligible to receive federal funds.

"These are exactly the kind of training and technology you want to be investing in right now," Emanuel said.

Sessions said the order "will be applied solely to federal grants administered by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security, and not to other sources of federal funding," NBC News reported.

Speaking Friday morning at the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Emanuel showcased his immigrant roots. He said this year marks the 100-year anniversary of his grandfather coming to Chicago from the Russian-Romanian border at the age of 13.

"He came to meet a third cousin he never knew in a city called Chicago he couldn’t pronounce," Emanuel said. "His grandson is the mayor of that city—don’t anybody tell you that this city, this country is not a welcoming city,” he said, adding “and it always will be."

Emanuel also called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign legislation that would make Illinois "like California, a welcoming state."

The Justice Department is also reportedly targeting New York City, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Miami, Milwaukee, and California, a city official confirmed. 

More states and cities are likely to follow Chicago: California is preparing to sue the Justice Department over the AG's plan as well, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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