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Students Head Back to School in New Haven


Shara Teague and her family live in West Haven, but her oldest child is beginning seventh grade in the New Haven school system.

"They always have a lot to do after school, they always seem to have a lot of activities at this school," Teague told NBC Connecticut before picking up her son, Deleon. "He’s done newspaper club, he’s done band."

Teague has been a student at the East Rock Community Magnet School since third grade. Teague is one of about 3,000 students from New Haven’s suburbs to be enrolled at one of the school district’s 18 magnet schools.

"They know me by name, they know me by face," his mom said. "I’m always welcome and I like that."

At the start of this new school year, Interim Superintendent Dr. Reginald Mayo said New Haven schools are striving for progress in three areas.

"Our goals in New Haven are to cut the dropout rate in half," Mayo said Monday morning. "To cut the achievement gap in half, and certainly make sure that every student is prepared and financially able to go on to college."

Board of Education members are still looking for a new permanent superintendent as Mayo begins his second school year in the interim role.

The district has hired about 100 new teachers and administrators, Mayo said before greeting students for their first day at the John C. Daniels Interdistrict Magnet School of International Communication.

"We have a new principal here at John C. Daniels," Mayo said. "He’s fresh from Puerto Rico."

Over the summer, recruiters from the school district went to the Caribbean island in search of more Spanish speaking educators.

"We are working hard to develop our students and to develop our schools," Principal Daniel Bonet-Ojeda said. "To unify cultures and to have the next future of New Haven."

With school back in session, Mayor Toni Harp is urging state lawmakers to pass a budget by the end of September. She told NBC Connecticut schools in New Haven should be OK through the first quarter because of funding form the state’s education cost sharing grant program.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

NBC CT/Yard Goats Harvey Relief Drive on Thursday


NBC Connecticut is partnering with the Hartford Yard Goats baseball team to hold a Hurricane Harvey Relief Drive to benefit the American Red Cross.

The drive will take place at Thursday's Yard Goats game, the final home game of the 2017 inaugural season at Dunkin' Donuts Park in Hartford.  Red Cross Disaster Relief volunteers will be present at the game to collect monetary donations to assist the victims of Harvey.

You'll find Red Cross volunteers at the main entrance to the park at Trumbull and Main Streets and outside the CTFastrak Guest Services Station inside the park.  In addition, volunteers will be roaming the concourse to collect your donations.

The Red Cross will be accepting cash as well as checks made out to the American Red Cross.

The gates to the park will open at 6:00 p.m. with the game scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

NBC Connecticut anchor Gerry Brooks will be at the event meeting viewers and helping give away a special NBC CT gift to Yard Goats' fans who donate during the game.

If you can't make it to the game or don't have money with you, the Red Cross is also accepting donations online, which can be paid with a credit card or Pay Pal. You can call 1-800-RED CROSS or make a $10 donation by texting "HARVEY" to 90999.

Standing room only tickets are still available for Thursday night's game.  You can purchase tickets through the team's website or the box office at Dunkin' Donuts Park.

Click here for more information on the Red Cross' efforts to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

NBC Connecticut is proud to be Connecting You to Caring.

Town of Scotland to Run Out of Money by Spring


The quaint New England town of Scotland, incorporated in the mid-1850’s, is expected to run out of money by March or April of next year, said its First Selectman, Daniel Syme.

“If you could imagine running your home budget on 25 percent, it’s creating nightmares,” said Syme, a lifelong resident of Scotland.

The town faces as much as a $900,000 cut from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Executive Order that dictates spending while the state operates without a budget.

Under the House Democrats’ budget unveiled last week, the state would reduce spending for Scotland by $230,000, which Syme said is better, but still puts the town on a difficult fiscal path.

“If you could imagine running your home budget on 25 percent, it’s creating nightmares,” he said.

Syme said the town has already made efforts to reduce costs and share services on things like building management, tax assessment, and Scotland already shares a high school with two neighboring towns.

Syme said he’s explored having the Town of Windham handle Scotland’s tax collection, but said it would end up costing Scotland more than having a part-time tax collector on staff.

He said the town is also exploring options to share education from high school down to Pre-K as a way to save money.

Chris McClure, a spokesman with the Office of Policy Management, said of Malloy’s Executive Order, "Inaction was not an option for us and we needed to sharply reduce spending in many areas--including spending that we all agree is important and worthwhile... but we continue to hope to have a full budget adopted by October."

Syme said he hopes a budget is passed soon, or else the situation will only get worse, and the town will have to consider drastic options like dissolving.

“I never thought in my 64 years of being in this town that we even would dream of the possibility of this happening,” he said.

Man in Critical Condition After Hit-and-Run Manchester Crash


A 22-year-old man is in critical condition after a hit-and-run crash in Manchester on Monday night.

Manchester police responded to the crash on North Street around 6 p.m. and found the pedestrian who was struck by a vehicle was unresponsive.

The victim sustained serious injuries and was transported to Hartford Hospital where he remains in critical condition. 

The pedestrian was identified as Christopher Rickertt of Manchester. 

A witness described the suspect's vehicle as a tan or brown older model SUV, Manchester police said. 

Anyone who may have witnessed the incident or been in the area of North Main Street and seen a vehicle matching the above description is asked to contact Manchester Police Traffic Unit, Ofc. Justin Gaudino at (860) 533-8651.

Volunteers Come Out to Help Clean Up Mystic


Mystic is known for its beauty along the southeastern waterfront and staff at Mystic Aquarium wants to keep it that way.

That’s why they organized the Mystic-Wide Cleanup on Monday. The goal was to collect more than 500 pounds of trash and staff said they likely surpassed that figure.

About 100 volunteers put on a vest and gloves to clean Mystic with the hope of keeping the Long Island Sound clean and the ecosystem healthy so seals, sea turtles and other animals don’t get tangled in debris or swallow it.

Mystic Aquarium’s director of education and conservation, MaryEllen Mateleska, organized Monday’s cleanup along Coogan Boulevard and Jerry Brown Road, Route 27, Downtown Mystic and River Road and the Mystic River.

"What goes on the ground ends up in the Sound. So if we're not going to be the ones to clean it up and set a good example, who will," Mateleska said.

Just in the Mystic Seaport parking lot, Mateleska found shoelaces, rope, plastic, among other debris.

Community groups like the Boys and Girls Club, Clean Up Sounds and Harbors (CUSH), Mystic Aquarium staff and Big Y employees volunteered their time.

"Rags, pieces of cars, lots of doggie poop bags," said Kim Gladue, a Big Y employee describing what she found at last year’s cleanup event. This year she was picking up large pieces of plastic and beer bottles around downtown Mystic.

Addy Reid is on vacation from Orgeon visiting her grandma in Connecticut and put on a vest and gloves to help.

"I don’t like walking down the street stepping on trash," she said, adding the reason she’s volunteering is so trash, "doesn’t wash into the ocean and kill the sea creatures."

Three generations of her family came to help out. Her grandma, Sally Cogan, of Stonington, is a member of CUSH.

"We were out actually going on a shark/snorkel trip and there was plastic debris way out beyond Block Island," Cogan said. 

The town of Stonington waived all charges for disposing of the trash, according to Mystic Aquarium staff.

Everyone who volunteered was invited to an after-party at the aquarium Monday night to celebrate their efforts.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Harvey, Already a 'Landmark Event,' Threatens Round Two


Harvey remained a tropical storm off Texas' coast early Tuesday, but forecasters said it is expected to make landfall again sometime this week, continuing to threaten a region that has already been pounded by one of the heaviest rainfalls in U.S. history, NBC News reported.

Harvey is hovering over the Gulf of Mexico with maximum wind speeds of 45 mph. Forecasters expect it to turn back toward southeast Texas on Wednesday.

Since first making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday, the storm system has dropped nearly 40 inches of rain in some places of Texas, and much more is expected in the coming days. At least three deaths have been blamed on Harvey.

"This is a landmark event for Texas," said Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Texas has never seen an event like this."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Suspect Burglarized Three North Haven Businesses: Police


North Haven police are searching for a suspect accused in three break-ins at businesses on State Street Friday night.

According to police, the crimes occurred between 12:30 a.m. and 1 a.m. at the Valero Gas Station at 414 State Street, the Wine Cellar at 73 State Street, and the Sunrise House Chinese Restaurant at 91 State Street.

A witness spotted the suspect smash the glass door at the liquor store and called police.

The suspect fled in a silver sedan, police said. Anyone who recognizes the suspect or has any information on these crimes is encouraged to call police at 203-239-5321.

Photo Credit: North Haven Police Department

Ragtag Cajun Navy Searches for Houston Flood Victims


A crew of Louisiana natives who call themselves the Cajun Navy have flowed into the Houston area beginning Saturday to rescue Texans trapped by rising floodwaters from the devastating Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey, NBC News reported.

The volunteers, experienced in rescues since the group formed amid Hurricane Katrina, brought in fishing boats, jon boats, row boats, airboats, canoes and kayaks.

"We don't wait for help. We've been there before," said Clyde Cain, 54, one of the Cajun Navy's founders. "If we weren't out here doing this, then there might not be any other rescue units. I mean, we do it because it's what we're supposed to do — we're supposed to help our neighbors."

An administrator on a walkie-talkie app directed the boats to people who needed help. But not everyone who they came upon was convinced they needed rescuing.

Photo Credit: Scott Julian / for NBC News

Sleeping Woman Killed When Tree Topples Onto Mobile Home


A 60-year-old woman was killed Monday when an oak tree fell on her mobile home as she slept, Texas officials say, bringing Hurricane Harvey's death toll to three.

Montgomery County Sheriff's officials responded to the mobile home in Porter after a large oak tree toppled onto Lisa Jones' trailer home. Jones' husband told deputies he was sitting inside the home when the tree fell. 

He said he screamed for his wife, who was napping in the bedroom, but she didn't respond and he was unable to get to her. The man said he then left the home to try to find help.

Deputies found Jones dead in the bedroom.

Officials said days of heavy rain that has pummeled the area caused the tree to loose traction in the soil and dislodge. 

Members of the Porter Fire Department assisted in removing the tree from the residence.

Photo Credit: Montgomery County Sheriff's Office

Milford Target Employee Stole $2.4K Worth of Cell Phones: Police


An employee of a Target store in Milford is accused of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of cell phones while working at the store.

Police said they took 22-year-old Marissa Castillo, of Hamden, into custody Monday and she has been charged with third-degree larceny.

She is accused of stealing more than $2,400 worth of cell phones from the store on May 31, while she was an employee.

Castillo was released on a promise to appear.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Hartford Students Back to School as Budget Debates Continue


More than 20,000 students headed back to school in Hartford Tuesday morning, and while faculty and staff welcome them back, administrators are bracing themselves for how to deal with the effect of budget uncertainty and cuts.

A group dedicated to providing positive role models in Hartford, 100 Men of Color, greeted students like rock stars as they returned to school.

“It’s beautiful, really exciting. Just makes my heart melt. I love it because they’re congratulating the kids on their first day of school,” Tammie Oliver, of Hartford, said.

“I’m able to give back to the community and make a positive impact. That’s what matters to me,” said Brian Martin, a member of 100 Men of Color who greeted students at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School.

This comes at a time when district staff focuses on balancing the curriculum with ongoing budget issues.

Nearly two weeks ago, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced drastic cuts would have to be made in school funding across the state if a budget isn’t reached by October.

The city of Hartford is struggling with its own budget, and with no word on what to expect from the state, it's impossible for administrators to know exactly where to focus their efforts.

Hartford public school leadership literally stepped up to the plate Monday as Supt. Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez addressed thousands of teachers and staff at Dunkin’ Donuts park during the city’s annual convocation.

While she reassured everyone the quality of each child’s education wouldn’t be changed, she said the budget crisis and possible consolidation of schools will certainly bring other challenges. The district was already forced to cut 80 positions due to budget cuts.

Rawson Elementary principal Tayarisha Stone has already talked with her staff about how they’ll be facing these challenges.

“I know that it’s going to be difficult, and the message that I’ve given to the staff is that, although it is difficult, it’s not impossible. Our teachers are very resourceful, they’re resilient, and they’re ready for our students,” Stone said.

Torres-Rodriguez told NBC Connecticut the school’s leadership is prepared to make challenging decisions together and wants to reassure parents no matter what, this will still be a great school year for their kids.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hillary Clinton Coming to CT for 2 Book Signings


Hillary Clinton will be coming to Connecticut twice this fall to sign her new memoir, “What Happened.”  

Clinton is scheduled to be at Costco, at 200 Federal Road in Brookfield, on Sept. 16. The book signing is at noon

She will be back in Connecticut on Oct. 21 for a signing at Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore, at 413 Main St. in Middletown. The book signing is at 2 p.m. and you will need a ticket, which costs $30 plus tax per person, to attend the event.  

Clinton will also be signing copies of her illustrated children’s book, “It Takes a Village,” at RJ Julia that day. The webpage for the event says she will sign a maximum of two books for each attendee, but will not personalize the books or sign any memorabilia.  

“What Happened,” which will be released on Sept. 12, is about what Clinton was thinking and feeling during the presidential election and what it was like to run against now-President Donald Trump. 

Photo Credit: Cliff Owen/AP

Archdiocese of Hartford to Collect for Harvey's Victims


The Archdiocese of Hartford will have a special collection for the victims of Hurricane Harvey on Sept. 9 and 10.

The archdiocese confirmed they would be collecting funds at all masses over that weekend to support humanitarian and recovery efforts for Catholic Charities USA, and to provide support for pastoral and rebuilding efforts at impacted dioceses.

The decision was made in response to a request from Archbishop José A. Gomez, vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost homes and businesses along with their sense of peace and normalcy. We also stand with our brother bishops in the region who have the difficult task of providing pastoral care in these most trying times while managing their own losses. Our prayerful and financial support is urgently needed," said Archbishop Gomez in a statement.

Tens of thousands of people in Texas have been forced from their homes by storm damage and rising floodwaters, and the storm isn’t over yet.

For more information on ways to help the victims, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Joel Osteen Responds to Claim He Closed Megachurch to Flood Victims


Televangelist Joel Osteen denied allegations that he closed his Houston megachurch's doors to flood victims in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and said the Lakewood building is "prepared to house people once shelters reach capacity."

"We have never closed our doors. We will continue to be a distribution center for those in need," Osteen said in a statement late Monday to NBC News. "We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives."

On Tuesday, Lakewood Church tweeted that the have begun receiving people in need of shelter as well as emergency relief supplies.

"Lakewood is receiving people who need shelter. We are also receiving supplies such as baby food, baby formula and other shelter needs," the church tweeted.

Osteen has faced criticism for not opening his massive Lakewood Church — a 16,000-seat former arena that served as the home of the NBA's Houston Rockets from 1975 to 2003 — as a storm shelter. On Sunday, Lakewood issued a statement on its Facebook page announcing that the church was "inaccessible due to severe flooding."

The statement raised eyebrows after several people posted photos and videos on social media appearing to show that the area around the building had not been damaged or flooded by the torrential rains.

Texas native and singer Travis Garland tweeted that he was "deeply disappointed" by Osteen. "That House belongs to God + was built for people in need. you should have been the first to open your doors," he added.

However, Olsteen shared images with NBC News that appeared to show standing water in the church's basement and parking garage. 

Osteen also released a statement to his congregation offering prayers and suggesting ways they could volunteer for a relief effort the church was organizing.

"Over the last couple of days, as the enormity of this storm was being realized, we have been working to organize relief efforts for the Houston area with our friend Franklin Graham and the disaster relief organization that he oversees, Samaritan’s Purse,” the statement on Lakewood Church's website said.

"In the meantime, know that our prayers for strength and comfort for each of you will continue, as well as our prayers for God’s help as we navigate the upcoming days and months together," he added. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Suspects Captured on Surveillance Footage Stealing ATV: PD


West Haven police are trying to identify two suspects captured on surveillance footage stealing a small ATV Monday night.

According to police, the suspects took the ATV, a pink and white 110 cc model, from a Trumbull Street address around 11:15 p.m. The image shows that one of the suspects has a tattoo on his right forearm.

Anyone who recognizes the suspects or has other information on this crime is asked to contact police at 203-937-3900.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

Girl On Mission to Hug Police Officers in all 50 States


A young girl traveling the country on a mission, made a stop in Connecticut this weekend.

Rosalyn Baldwin has a goal to hug police officers in all 50 states.

She checked Connecticut off her list by visiting with Hartford police at Hopewell Baptist Church in Windsor.

"I know I'm a little girl...but I have a big heart," Rosalyn said on her blog.

Her mission, the blog says, "is to journey throughout the country as a beacon of light, love and joy. She wishes to unite communities by demonstrating her sincere love and appreciation for those who have committed their lives to serving and protecting the people of our nation."

Connecticut was the 21st state Rosalyn has visited on her journey, according to her RosalynLoves Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

SBA Chief Linda McMahon Goes to Texas With President Trump


Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon traveled to Texas with President Donald Trump Tuesday to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey caused destruction in parts of the state since making landfall Friday night.

McMahon, a Connecticut businesswoman who served as the chief executive officer at WWE before stepping down in 2009 to run for the Senate, has run the Small Business Administration since February.

She said via Twitter that the SBA has 900 disaster assistance staff members and activated more staff to provide help to victims of the storm

Trump, McMahon, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson arrived in Corpus Christi for a briefing and they are expected to travel to Austin as well for a tour of the Texas Department of Public Safety's Emergency Operations Center

Radio Stations Collect Drinking Water for Harvey Victims


A group of radio stations in Connecticut is collecting drinking water for Hurricane Harvey victims in Texas. 

Full Power Radio set up the sites on Tuesday to collect gallons or cases of water. 

Radio 104.1 was at Highland Park Market in Manchester, Jammin 107.7 and Soft Rock 106.5 were at Parade Plaza in New London and Bomba Radio was at Edwin’s Barbershop in Hartford. 

The National Guard will then transport the water to Texas, according to DJ Metrix with Bomba Radio. 

“I feel like they’re all my brothers and sisters and we need to be there to help them. We never know when that’s going to happen to us as well,” said Sheila Fernandez, one of the people who donated six cases of water. “As a nation, we need to make sure that we’re caring and being compassionate and loving and helping them and giving them a hand when they need it the most.” 

There are several ways to help victims affected by Harvey, which and has caused devastating flooding and damage in Texas. Find out how to help here.  

The Archdiocese of Hartford is also taking donations. There will have a special collection at all masses on Sept. 9 and 10 for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. The funds collected over that weekend will be used to support the humanitarian and recovery efforts of Catholic Charities USA and to provide pastoral and rebuilding support to impacted dioceses, according to a statement from the Archdiocese.

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair authorized the collection in response to a request from Archbishop José A. Gomez, vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), to the leaders of all Catholic dioceses.

"Our hearts and prayers go out to the families that have lost loved ones and to all who have lost homes and businesses along with their sense of peace and normalcy. We also stand with our brother bishops in the region who have the difficult task of providing pastoral care in these most trying times while managing their own losses. Our prayerful and financial support is urgently needed," Archbishop Gomez said in a statement. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

8 Displaced After Apartment Fire in Bridgeport


One person was taken to the hospital and eight people were displaced after an apartment fire in Bridgeport Monday night.

According to Bridgeport spokesman Av Harris, crews responded to 158 Beechwood Ave. around 10:30 p.m. for a reported domestic incident and found a fire upon arrival.

Harris said that all the occupants were out when firefighters arrived. One person was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. No other injuries were reported.

Firefighters contained the fire to the third floor of the building, but eight people were temporarily displaced. The American Red Cross has been notified for assistance. The building did have working smoke detectors.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

‘Find My iPhone’ Feature Finds West Hartford Burglar: Police


A West Hartford man helped find a burglar by using the “Find My iPhone” app on his missing iPad, according to police.

The Bramley Road resident returned home around 10 a.m. Tuesday to find that there had been a burglary at his home and his iPad was missing, so he called the police and used the location feature, according to police.

Police said they found the suspect, a 54-year-old Hartford man, just east of Bramley Road, at South Main Street and New Britain Avenue, and he had the iPad as well as items that were stolen from a home Knollwood Road.

Police said several charges are pending and the suspect was also wanted on an outstanding warrant for burglary charges.

If “Find My iPhone” is enabled on your missing device, you can use it to find your device and take additional actions that can help you recover it and keep your data safe, according to Apple.

First, sign in to icloud.com/find on a Mac or PC, or use the Find My iPhone app on another iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Find your device, open “Find My iPhone” and select a device to view its location on a map. If the device is nearby, you can have it play a sound to help you or someone nearby to find it.

Then turn on “Lost Mode.” By using Lost Mode, you can remotely lock your device with a passcode, display a custom message with your phone number on your missing device's Lock screen, and keep track of your device's location. If you added credit or debit cards to Apple Pay, the ability to make payments using Apple Pay on the device is suspended when you put your device in Lost Mode.

Learn more here. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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