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Concerns Over Police Response Times in Waterbury


Concerns about police response times have turned into concerns about safety in Waterbury.

One state representative said she’s received numerous calls from families about the issue and tonight there is a public forum to address it.

That forum starts at 6 p.m. inside the gymnasium at Chase Elementary School. The public is encouraged to come.

State Representative Stephanie Cummings, who serves the 74th House District of Waterbury’s East End and East Mountain neighborhood, told NBC Connecticut over the last few months that she has received approximately 20 complaints from her constituents related to the response time it takes for Waterbury Police to arrive on

"Some of the situations are you know people will get into fender benders and they’ll have to wait hours for the police to come. Now that situation, as terrifying as it must be for the person encountering it they may not realize what else is going on within the city," Cummings said.

Jesenia Morales of Waterbury said police response time is a concern she has.

"One time my fiancé got in a car accident we called the cops at like 7 at night and they didn’t get there until almost 2 in the morning," Morales said.

Now, Cummings is teaming up with the department to make sure everyone’s concerns are heard.

"I was able to coordinate with Chief Riddick and Deputy Chief Apicella a community forum where people will be able to come and hear a presentation from the chief and deputy chief and have their complaints heard," she said.

Police said they will address some of those concerns by presenting information on why people may be seeing longer response times.

They will also discuss what is happening to fix the issue.

NBC Connecticut reached out to police who would not comment until after tonight’s meeting.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Nonprofits Struggling, Looking for a State Budget


Nonprofit organizations in Connecticut that depend on funding from the state to operate say they need to see a proposal soon or risk the closure of some providers.

“We want to see a budget that adequately funds the services we provide,” said GianCarl Casa, who leads a coalition of nonprofit organizations.

The groups have seen funding cuts totaling tens of millions since the fiscal year ended in June, and the state has worked without a budget since.

That lack of a budget has led to some facility closures, furlough days, and service cuts for different organizations around the state that provide everything from mental health services to assistance for adults with developmental disabilities.

Barnett Baron’s son has been in a group home for adults with disabilities for more than two decades and he fears what budget cuts could mean for him and other people who live there.

“These clients are being hurt and everything that we’ve done to help these clients seems to be in a downward spiral,” he said.

Baron added, “I would hope as we look back on history a little bit, our children and our grandchildren are going to say did they do the right thing, did we take care of these clients.”

West Haven Police Seek Sexual Assault Suspect


West Haven police are searching for a man wanted on sexual assault charges.

Police said 35-year-old Kanaji Cooper is wanted on charges of first-degree sexual assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, and risk of injury.

No other details were immediately provided.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the West Haven Police Department at 203-937-3900. Tips can remain confidential.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

Police Investigating Homicide at Keney Park in Hartford


Part of Keney Park in Hartford is taped off and closed as police investigate the death of a man in his 20s who was found with several stab wounds Wednesday morning.

Two park workers found the man’s body around 10 a.m. near a bridge in a marshy area of the park, police said.

The victim had been stabbed in the face and neck several times, according to police, and they believe the homicide happened overnight.

"He's suffering from several puncture wounds to the face, neck and possibly more," Deputy Police Chief Brian Foley. 

Around half a dozen police cars responded to the scene, which is near the pond house, and they are hoping surveillance cameras will have caught something. 

This has been the 19th homicide of the year in Hartford. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Detective Charged With DUI Used Racial Slurs: Police


A Hartford police detective was charged with driving under the influence in Plainville early Sunday morning and an investigation discovered that during his arrest, the detective used several racial slurs.

Plainville police said they stopped Robert Lanza, 44, of Wolcott, after Bristol police received reports of an erratic driver swerving and weaving all over Route 72 at 12:18 a.m. on Aug. 27. Witnesses said he crossed over the fog lines and almost hit the guardrail several times.

Officers saw Lanza’s gray Honda Accord pull into 72 Commons and approached the car.

Lanza told police he is a Hartford police officer, according to the prosecutor’s report, and he appeared intoxicated, slurred his words and smelled of alcohol even with chewing tobacco in his mouth, according to Plainville police.

Lanza refused to say whether he had anything to drink and declined medical attention, police said.

Responding officers performed a number of sobriety tests on Lanza.

On Wednesday, Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley said while Lanza was arrested, he used several racial slurs that were captured on video and audio.

Lanza was charged with DUI and interfering with an officer and released after posting $10,000 bond. He is due in Bristol Superior Court on Sept. 5.

Lanza has been with the Hartford Police Department for more than 11 years and is assigned to the Special Investigations Unit.

Mayor Luke Bronin provided the following statement on the case:

“We expect all members of the Hartford Police Department to hold themselves to the high standards of their noble profession, and Detective Lanza’s behavior appears to have fallen far short. I am deeply troubled by his use of racial and ethnic slurs during this incident, which is not only offensive and unacceptable, but also undermines the tremendous work our police do every day to build a true partnership with our Hartford community based on trust and respect. I commend Chief Rovella for immediately initiating an internal investigation, and for the Department’s ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Photo Credit: Plainville Police

State Police Investigating After Dead Body Found in Tolland


State Police are investigating after a dead body was found near the shore of Shenipset Lake in Tolland Wednesday night. 

According to police, troopers from Troop C and detectives from Eastern District Major Crime are on scene. 

No other deatils were made immediately available. 

We have a crew headed to the scene and will update this story as more information becomes available. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Aerials of Harvey's Flooding From Houston to Galveston


Houston's NBC Affiliate KPRC flew one of its helicopters from Houston to Galveston to survey the damage from Hurricane Harvey.

Serious Crash Under Investigation in Plainville


Police are investigating a serious crash on Johnson Avenue in Plainville overnight.

LifeStar was called, but then cancelled, according to officials.

Video from the scene shows an overturned vehicle, but no additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Red Cross Text Donations Delayed After Influx of Messages


If you tried helping Harvey relief efforts by texting the American Red Cross to donate, you might have received an unexpected message back.

But the Red Cross said that's no reason to worry.

"What’s happening is that the American public is extraordinarily generous and we’re so thankful for this," said Catherine Rabenstine, the regional spokesperson for the American Red Cross of Northern Illinois. "There has been an inundation of text messages to our text-to-give line." 

Some who texted to donate reported receiving a message back that read: 

Hello! Because of the overwhelming response to Hurricane Harvey, donations are taking longer than usual to process. If you'd like to join the queue to donate via text, reply CONTINUE now. It may take up to 48 hours for you to receive a prompt to confirm your $10 donation. Alternatively, if you are eager to make a gift now, visit http://lil.ms/1td5/415uqz.

Rabenstine said those who reply with "continue" will see their donations processed between 24 and 48 hours of their text. 

"Nothing has stopped being processed, it’s just a little bit delayed and we’re so thankful that so many people are being so generous," she said. 

So far, more than 35,000 people have sought refuge at Red Cross and partner shelters following "catastrophic" flooding in Texas. 

Harvey made landfall in southeast Texas late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane. It lingered over Houston as a tropical storm, causing unprecedented flooding and stranding residents who remained in their homes. Early Wednesday, Harvey made a second landfall, this time hitting southwestern Louisiana.

The Red Cross is also calling for blood donations, being accepted throughout the country, on its website. 

NBC Universal and our parent company Comcast are working to assist the American Red Cross in supporting Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

"We are just so thankful that the American public has seen the need to give and help support these efforts," Rabenstine said. 

Several other organizations in the Chicago area and nationwide are accepting donations to help with the relief efforts. Click here for more ways to donate. 

New Housing Developments Could Be Boost For New London Businesses


A new condo development is one step closer to being built in New London.

It’s one of several housing projects in the works as Electric Boat continues to build its workforce in the city.

New London Mayor Michael Passero and Louis Tagliatela, Jr. of Franklin Communities, the financial backer for the project, signed a development agreement for Shipway 221 on Wednesday.

The complex will be built on Howard Street. It's not the only plan for new housing in the area.

On Bank and Howard Streets, A.R. Building Company plans to put up 90 rental units. It’s the first time that land has generated tax revenue in 40 years, according to Peter Davis, executive director of the Renaissance City Development Association (RCDA), New London's development partner.

A.R. Building Company is also working on the Mansfield Road Apartments that could open in late fall.

One of the goals is to tap into the growing Electric Boat employee base. The sub-maker plans to reach a peak employment of 18,000 by 2030.

“There should be some wonderful housing here for these young engineers coming here,” Tagliatela, Jr. said.

It’s the first piece of land in the Fort Trumbull area to see development – putting it back on the tax roll for the first time in about 17 years.

Since these plans are for market rate housing, Mayor Passero said this could bring a new demographic and new life to the city’s downtown.

“Where you can basically live, work and play in the same place. And what that’s gonna mean (is) a lot more disposable income,” Passero said.

Many business owners agree the nearby housing projects will be a boost for them, as well.

“(Electric Boat employees) right now are having a hard time with parking and living. This is the one-stop shop for them. They can park, they can live, they can go to work and then they can come and see us here in downtown New London,” said Candace Devendittis, owner of Dev’s American Bistro on Bank Street.

“It’ll actually probably entice people to come down and open small little shops,” said The Bistro owner David Bureau.

Tagliatela said final plans still need to go through planning and zoning but they hope to break ground in the spring.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Plainfield Firefighter Accused of Sex Assault at Station


A captain in the Plainfield Fire Department is accused of sexually assaulting a member of the department and has been arrested. 

Police started investigating after the victim reported on Aug. 8 that 27-year-old Captain Kevin Wells, of Plainfield, sexually assaulted the member of the department inside the fire station, according to police. 

Officers served a search warrant at the fire department around 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 and mutual aid departments were put on notice to provide coverage to the Plainfield Fire District area.  

Wells turned himself in to police around 7 a.m. today and was charged with three counts of sexual assault in the second degree. 

Wells secured a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear at the Danielson Superior Court on Sept. 11. 

Police said the case is still active and the investigation is still ongoing.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police

Fleet Feet Collecting Shoes, Socks for Harvey Victims


A West Hartford athletic supply store is doing its part to lend a helping hand, or in this case, a shoe to Hurricane Harvey victims.

"Anytime there's is a disaster I think we all watch and our hearts break we want to do something to help," Stephanie Blozy said.

As the owner of Fleet Feet in West Hartford, Stephanie Blozy helps push people toward their goals no matter the mile.

"It's an idea amongst all the Fleet Feet stores, why don't we send you shoes that you can give away," Blozy said.

Now she's encouraging others to help those in need more than 1,500 miles away by donating their running shoes and socks to Hurricane Harvey victims.

"They're staging all the donations from all 160 stores across the country and we're putting them in a big pot and we're taking them down to the store in Houston," Blozy said.

Blozy's West Hartford athletic supply store is part of a bigger effort to help those who have lost everything from head to toe.

Samantha Haynes was at the store on Wednesday and plans to donate several pairs of sneakers that are in her closet in hopes of helping heal those affected by the storm.

"It kind of is an emotional feeling thinking that I'm actually connecting with them, we come together as one nation to help them so far away," Haynes said.

The store will be taking donations through Labor Day.

Georgia Officer in Dashcam Footage: 'We Only Kill Black People'


A police lieutenant in Georgia can be heard in newly unearthed dashcam footage saying that officers "only kill black people."

The officer, a 27-year veteran of Cobb County's police department identified by his attorney as Lt. Greg Abbott, has been moved to administrative duty pending the outcome of an internal investigation, authorities said.

In the July 2016 footage, first reported by a local Atlanta television station, a white woman who had been pulled over can be heard telling an officer that she was scared to put her hands down because she had "seen way too many videos of cops." The officer interrupts her and says, "But you're not black. Remember, we only shoot black people."

Abbott's lawyer said his client was cooperating with the internal investigation and had been "attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger."

The local police chief said that no matter the context the officer's statement was unacceptable.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

Manchester Farm Allowed to Offer Goat Yoga Again


A Manchester farm will be able to offer goat yoga again. 

Aussakita Acres in Manchester, like other farms across the nation, started to offer yoga with goats, but the owner of the farm was in a battle with the town over a cease and desist order until the zoning board of appeals overturned it last night. 

A town zoning official had sent a cease and desist letter that said Aussakita Acres wasn’t zoned for yoga, even if it did include goats. 

“It’s a brand new way to interact with the animals in a farm setting,” Tracy Longoria, co-owner of Aussakita Acres, said. “I think it's ridiculous. It doesn't make any sense. We are zoned a farm. This is a farm activity. It's part of agritourism.” 

So, she appealed the order and many residents who attended the meeting spoke in favor of goat yoga, arguing it supports farmers during a time when their industry continues to decline. 

Supporters also said people from outside Manchester, as well as beyond the Connecticut border, visit the farm to try goat yoga, shop in local stores and eat in local restaurants. 

The motion to overturn the cease and desist order passed, four to one. 

Longoria said she will continue offering goat yoga and wants to begin offering alpaca hikes. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

South Windsor Man Charged With Child Porn Possession


A South Windsor man has been arrested on child pornography charges after authorities in Florida reached out to them about a local man who was communicating with an arrestee there. 

Charges filed against Patrick Joyce, 63, of South Windsor, stem from an online investigation into users in a chatroom seeking images or discussing young children, according to police. 

Following the tip from authorities in Florida, police said they found 20 images of child pornography on Joyce’s computer. 

Joyce was arrested today and charged with importing child pornography and possession of child pornography. 

He was held on a $100,000.00 surety bond and will appear in Manchester Superior Court later today. 

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Hurricane Irma Becomes Category 2 ; Expected to Intensify During Slow Move


As the United States continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the National Hurricane Center announced a fourth hurricane, Irma, of the 2017 season – and it is expected to continue growing while moving slowly near the Caribbean.

An 11 a.m. weather advisory confirmed that Irma is a category 2 hurricane, with winds of 100 miles per hour while moving west northwest at 10 miles per hour.

The storm is expected to intensify, possibly becoming a category 3 storm by the end of Thursday, as it still remains in the warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

NHC officials expect Hurricane Irma to continue with its current motion through Friday with a slight shift westward into Saturday.

Irma will be a growing concern for the Lesser Antilles over the next week with the rest of the Caribbean and Southeastern United States keeping a close eye on this storm.

Trump Policies on Immigrants, Tariff Could Hurt Harvey Help


During President Donald Trump's visit to hurricane ravaged Corpus Christie in Texas he pledged to provide immediate recovery assistance, "We are going to get you back and operating immediately," but economists do not have the same level of confidence as Trump does, NBC News reported. 

According to a survey from the National Association of Homebuilders, there will be a significant shortage of workers for construction.  

The survey revealed more than 70 percent of builders reported shortages of framing crews and carpenter and more than 60 percent reported an ongoing decrease of drywall installers, concrete workers, and bricklayers.

With the fear of deportation and a decline in migration over the southern border and new tariffs on the lumber industry, economists fear the numbers will get grimmer.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Apple's iPhone 8 Event Set for Sept. 12


Apple will host its iPhone 8 event on Sept. 12, CNBC reported. The company sent invites out to the press with a note: "Let's meet at our place.

Please join us for the first-ever event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino."

Apple is expected to unveil three new iPhones, including the iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus and iPhone 8. A 4K Apple TV is also reportedly on the docket, according to CNBC.

Apple provided few details in its announcement but has previously rolled out new iPhones at its September events. 

Photo Credit: AP

US Shutters Russia’s San Francisco Consulate in Retaliation


The United States is retaliating against Russia by forcing closure of its consulate in San Francisco and scaling back its diplomatic presence in Washington and New York.

The State Department says move is in response to the Kremlin forcing a cut in U.S. diplomatic staff in Moscow. Spokesman Heather Nauert says the move brings the U.S. and Russia into “parity,” with each having three consulates in the other country.

Moscow forced the cut in American diplomatic staff earlier this year in retaliation for U.S. sanctions. Washington had to reduce its diplomatic staff by 755 people.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said the U.S. would respond by September.

The Russian offices must close by Saturday. The order affects Russia’s “chancery annex” in Washington and a “consular annex” in New York.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert announced the decision in the following statement:

"The United States has fully implemented the decision by the Government of the Russian Federation to reduce the size of our mission in Russia. We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries.

In the spirit of parity invoked by the Russians, we are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and a consular annex in New York City. These closures will need to be accomplished by September 2.

With this action both countries will remain with three consulates each. While there will continue to be a disparity in the number of diplomatic and consular annexes, we have chosen to allow the Russian Government to maintain some of its annexes in an effort to arrest the downward spiral in our relationship.

The United States hopes that, having moved toward the Russian Federation’s desire for parity, we can avoid further retaliatory actions by both sides and move forward to achieve the stated goal of both of our presidents: improved relations between our two countries and increased cooperation on areas of mutual concern. The United States is prepared to take further action as necessary and as warranted."

Stay tuned for more details on this breaking news story.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

Labor Day Weekend Gas Prices Expected to Rise


The U.S. Energy Department announced Tuesday it will release half a million barrels of crude oil from the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve as Hurricane Harvey continued to wreak havoc on U.S. oil production and gas prices remained on the rise.

The supply — the first emergency release since 2012 — won't give drivers much relief at the pump ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend, one of the top travel weekends of the year.

Retail gas prices in the U.S. climbed another 4 cents Thursday, and 10 cents in the past week to a national average of $2.449 per gallon, according to AAA. The automobile organization said that is one of the summer's largest one-week price surges.

Patrick DeHaan, an analyst for GasBuddy, predicts that U.S. gasoline prices will top out around $2.50 or $2.55 a gallon, an increase of up to 20 cents since Harvey hit, with bigger spikes closer to the Gulf.

"In terms of product price increases, it might get worse before it gets better," Rob Smith, an energy analyst with IHS Markit, told The Associated Press.

It could take two weeks or longer before big refineries in the Houston area can recover from a record-setting deluge and resume normal operations, assuming they didn't suffer serious damage, which is still unknown.

With Americans using about 9.7 million barrels per day of gasoline, the threat of a fuel supply crunch has grown as the storm and flooding in Harvey's aftermath brought a huge chunk of U.S. oil production and refining capacity to a halt.

As of Thursday, some 15 refineries representing about 25 percent of U.S. refining capacity were offline from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Port Arthur, Texas, the Energy Department reported. That includes Motiva Enterprises, the nation's biggest refinery, which announced Wednesday it would begin a "controlled shutdown."

As a result of the outages, major pipelines began to close lines outright because of a lack of supply. On Thursday, Colonial Pipeline shut down a crucial artery in the nation's fuel supply network that provides more than 3 million barrels of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel daily to major cities from Houston to New York.

Half of the 26 refineries that connect to Colonial's pipeline system are between storm-ravaged Houston and Lake Charles, which is just east of the Beaumont-Port Arthur metro area, the AP reported. Colonial did not indicated how long it expects the closure to last.

"Once Colonial is able to ensure that its facilities are safe to operate and refiners in Lake Charles and points east have the ability to move product to Colonial, our system will resume operations," the company said in its statement.

The Department of Energy hopes the release of 500,000 barrels of reserve crude will offset the fuel shortage and stabilize prices. The SPR, established in the 1970s, currently contains 679 million barrels of oil.

"The Department will continue to provide assistance as deemed necessary, and will continue to review incoming requests for SPR crude oil," the department said in a statement.

The crude is headed to Phillips 66′s refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, one of the few refineries in the Gulf Coast that has not been affected by the storm.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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