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Gunshots Fired on Berlin Turnpike: Police


Police said gunshots were fired during a road-rage incident on the Berlin Turnpike in Berlin Tuesday afternoon and they are investigating.

Police received reports of gunshots in the northbound lanes by the off-ramp to Route 372 at 12:53 p.m. Tuesday.

Officers responded, found evidence and believe that two drivers who left the area before police arrived got into some sort of a road-rage incident. They said no one was struck.

The suspect was described as being in his mid-20s or early 30s, with a chin strap beard that had longer hair in the chin area. He was wearing a black and gold baseball-style hat, police said.

Police said the suspect yelled in Spanish at the victim. 

The suspect's vehicle was described as a silver Honda CRV, maybe 2005 to 2008 style, police said.

A black handgun was shown. Casings from a .40 caliber S&W were found at the scene and one bullet was recovered from the victim's car.

Anyone with information or who saw what happened should call police at (860) 828-7080.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Access Health CT to Open Multiple Enrollment Locations


Access Health CT will open multiple in-person enrollment locations across the state. 

The insurance agency said in a way to "better assist as many customers as possible", the organization will be relocating centers to New Haven and New Britain, in addition, to open 10 new locations by Nov. 1.

“The goal is to have in-person help available to anyone who needs it. The 10 locations will complement the help offered by state field offices and the hundreds of enrollment specialists like certified brokers and application counselors around Connecticut,"  Access Health CT's CEO Jim Wadleigh said. 

The marketing director said the locations will be close to where people live and work, with public transit options. 

The new centers will be in:

  • Bridgeport
  • Danbury
  • East Hartford
  • Hartford
  • Milford
  • New Britain
  • New Haven
  • Norwich
  • Stamford
  • Waterbury
Access Health CT said it will also incorporate a minimum of four fairs during the open enrollment period to allow residents to get help on the weekends. 

For more information, click here

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Oops: Apple's Facial Recognition Fails During iPhone X Demo


Let's face it - that was awkward.

Apple had an embarrassing moment during the tech giant's much-hyped reveal of its new iPhone X Tuesday when a key facial recognition feature failed to work during a demonstration, CNBC reported

The new Face ID feature is supposed to allow you to unlock the $1,000 gadget with a glance, but an Apple exec needed to enter a passcode to get it to work while on-stage Tuesday in California. 

Check out how the facial recognition feature flopped during Apple's demo in the below video.

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Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich Details His Life Inside Prison


Rod Blagojevich makes no bones about it. 

He’s doing a great job in his current position. 

“I’ve been given the jurisdiction to sweep and mop two floors,” he says. “So my jurisdiction has shrunk from the fifth biggest state in America, to these two floors. But I don’t care what anybody says, I believe in clean government, and I believe in clean floors.” 

Now in his sixth year at the federal penitentiary in suburban Denver known as FCI Englewood, the former two-term Illinois governor still adamantly maintains his innocence. And says he has managed not to become bitter about his plight. 

“I take one day at a time and I have a purpose,” he says. “My purpose is very strong that I have to be strong and deal with this affliction and accept the fate that’s been assigned to me.” 

It is Blagojevich’s first public comment since he entered FCI Englewood five and a half years ago. Over the course of two one-hour conversations with NBC 5, the former governor spoke of his family and his desire to set the record straight through another appeal to the United States Supreme Court. 

“What sustains me during this very difficult long hard trial is the love I have for my children and my wife Patti,” he said. “My kids can see from both of their parents that when adversity enters their life, when your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, and just about everything’s been taken from you, that you don’t quit---you keep going and you draw from the hardest suffering the inspiration to carry on.”

Blagojevich is now housed in the “camp” at the Colorado prison, a lower-security facility where he enjoys more freedom. But he still faces the balance of a 14-year sentence and a scheduled release date in 2024. 

“Do you realize, I have twice been given a longer prison sentence than Al Capone?” he says. “I’ve been given a prison sentence by the same judge who gave a mafia hit man...he acknowledged under oath, a contract killer, my judge gave me a longer sentence than him!” 

Blagojevich is correct. And he drew that 14-year sentence in a case where the government was never able to prove that he took any money. Still, his case achieved worldwide notoriety, branding Blagojevich as a virtual poster child for political corruption. And the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago is preparing to vigorously fight still another Blagojevich appeal. 

“All I’m asking for is--apply the law,” he says. “And if you apply the right law, I didn’t cross the line.” 


For Blagojevich, the world changed radically on the day he walked into FCI Englewood, March 15, 2012.

“You walk in there on the first day and your heart’s broken,” he says. “You’re in there and then they close the gates on you, and you’re in prison. And you’re yearning for your children and your wife and your home, and you’re looking at 14 years. And you can’t even see the flicker of a light at the end of a tunnel.”

At the other end of that tunnel, wife Patti has essentially become a single mother to the two Blagojevich daughters.

“Life has been a challenge for the last five years,” she says. “The first couple of years were super hard, super distressing. Every single birthday, every single Christmas, Halloween, every single event would go by and Rod wouldn’t be there--so heartbreaking!”

“But the sad thing is right now, it’s almost like you don’t expect him to be there, because he’s gone for…(on the day of the interview) tomorrow is Amy’s 21st birthday. This is the sixth birthday that he’s missed. So it’s like, you’re not looking for him anymore.”

Patti Blagojevich says she remembers vividly the day her husband was arrested in December of 2008.

“Phone rings at six in the morning and it’s the FBI, and they say we have a warrant for your husband’s arrest,” she says. “I think I hung up on them--I thought it was a joke. They called back and said if we don’t come down, they were going to bust the door open.”

“I would say if you had to talk about the worst days of your life, that was one of them,” she says. “When they took him away, I just knew at that point nothing in our lives would be the same again.”


Blagojevich spent his first three months in the main institution at FCI Englewood like any other inmate---in the kitchen. But he quickly took on other responsibilities, in the classroom.

“I taught for maybe 30, 29 months in the higher security prison---I taught Civil War history and history of World War II,” he says. “I gave the example of Abraham Lincoln and the difficulties he had to go through…and I tell stories to these guys and say, ‘If you think you’ve got it hard, think about him!’”

“And I’ve got to say, my classes were always sold out---I felt like Elvis for a second, you know?”

To Illinoisans who were familiar with the sight of Blagojevich jogging through Ravenswood with his bodyguards in tow, it should not be a surprise that he continues to run on the prison track. He spends time in the weight room. And, he catches up on his reading.

“Way more than I ever hoped for,” he notes.

“I try to work on writing, so I’ve been working on a series of essays for my daughters,” he says. “These essays are profiles of people who have gone through crushing adversity, and the purpose is to write these stories and give them to my daughters so they can draw some inspiration from what other people have had to go through when things were difficult for them.”


The former governor’s 14-year sentence came as the result of two criminal trials, two appeals, and one abortive trip to the Supreme Court. Out of all of those, he did manage to get five counts dropped from his convictions. But his sentence was not shortened. And now he is preparing a second trip to the nation’s highest court, insisting that everyone up to this point has gotten it wrong.

“The rule of law is not a lump of clay, to be put into the hands of prosecutors, to be shaped by them any way they want, to fit any facts, in order for them to ensure convictions.” he says. “The law is the law, and the law is what the Supreme Court says it is.”

Now, Blagojevich is once again hoping that the Supreme Court will listen as he essentially asks them to use his case to clarify when a politician steps over the line in fundraising. Because, he insists, he always stayed on the right side of that line. And those who prosecuted his case got it wrong.

The result, after two criminal trials, was a sentence which is one of the longest ever levied against a politician in America. Blagojevich and his legal team point to other notable cases where there were much smaller penalties: former governor George Ryan did only 6 and a half years; many other governors in other states who were convicted of taking money or accepting lucrative favors have done fewer than two years in prison.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whose life collapsed in a child abuse scandal, spent only 13 months behind bars. Jesse Jackson Jr., the former congressman, admitted looting his campaign fund of $750,000, but only drew a 30-month sentence.

Evidence in the Blagojevich trial showed he never received a penny in bribes. But he is doing 14 years in prison.


Blagojevich says he gets on well with his fellow inmates. Indeed, on that day he arrived, they knew he was coming, because they watched it live on TV.

“They call me ‘Dawg’ or ‘govvie,’ or sometimes they call me ‘G,’” he says. “They gathered up a care package to give me some of the necessary things I’d need ‘til I was able to go to the prison store and get stuff, like coffee, toothpaste, a toothbrush, they even had a yellow legal pad in there--it was really kind of touching!”

At his resentencing last year, many inmates wrote letters on Blagojevich’s behalf. He says he has tried to help many of them to prepare for life on the outside.

“Especially in the higher security prison next door…you’ve got a lot of kind of a tougher crowd over there,” he says. “I spent a lot of time with several of them, walking around the track and actually doing some mock job interviews, helping them try to make their case to a prospective employer that they should not be prejudiced against them because they’ve been incarcerated.

And then there was the band.

“Yeah, the group was originally called ‘G-Rod and the Jailhouse Rockers,’” he says. “But that sounded too gang-bangerish, and so the powers that be said just call it ‘Jailhouse Rockers.’”

His group performed for a GED graduation in June of 2013.

“And you know, my two-bit Elvis impersonation got a little less bad and I was able to work on the singing,” he notes. “We worked frankly hours my first year and a half, probably five hours a day, getting ready for that GED concert.”

The result was a vast reportoire which included “That’s Alright Mama,” “All Shook Up,” and of course, “Jailhouse Rock.”

“And if I ever have a chance to be in a place other than this, I feel like my version of “Jailhouse Rock” is much better, because I’ve actually lived it!”


For now, Blagojevich waits. He sees his family, on average, three times a year. And insists he is optimistic about the future.

“I would do a shoutout to my fellow underdogs, that are facing powerful forces among us,” he says. “Don’t ever quit. Even if you hit rock bottom, as I have, put faith over fear, you’ve got to go through the fire. Run with patience and endurance in the race that’s set before you, and if you have to, take a stand.”

“Even if the world misunderstands you, criticizes you and say you’re crazy, take a stand. Because you know what the truth is. And when you do it, my experience tells me, trust in God. You’re not alone. You never go alone. Put your faith in Him.”


The Blagojevich legal case. And why he maintains, the courts got it wrong.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago

Man Claiming to Be Off-Duty Cop Tries Getting Girl in Car


A man claiming to be an off-duty officer tried luring a teenage girl to get into his car in Naugatuck, police said. 

The 16-year-old girl told police she was riding her bike on High Street near Calvin Street around 8 p.m. on Monday. 

Police said an unknown man approached the girl in his vehicle and asked her several times if she wanted a ride and the teen said several times she did not want to, Naugatuck police said. 

According to the victim, the man said he was an off-duty police officer but didn't have his badge on him, police said. 

When the man did not leave her alone, the teen screamed for him to get away from here. The screams caught the attention of a passerby who stopped to check up on the victim. 

The victim described the suspect vehicle as a "newer-style, red in color, Honda Accord with a dark-colored interior."

The man was described as being in his 30s or 40s with a "heavy Spanish accent," according to police. 

If anyone has information on this incident they are urged to contact the Naugatuck Police at (203) 729-5221 or the NPD Confidential Tip Line at (203)720-1010.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Bridal Party Seeks Refund After Winery Postpones Event


When Dalice Elizabeth Winery postponed one of its summer clam bakes, Southington native, Marisa Debboli, and 13 of her friends had to change plans.

With less than a month to go before her best friend’s wedding, Debboli thought she did everything right as a maid of honor. She planned the bachelorette party almost six months in advance and bought tickets to the event, costing the group $521.

Debboli was ready for a relaxing mid-July night out with friends at the Preston winery’s beach side clambake and then, the day before, she got bad news.

"I checked in to email just to see that we were all set—that we could show up and nothing else was needed," Debboli said. "And I was told that the event was actually going to be canceled the next day for inclement weather."

The winery offered to reschedule but with the wedding just weeks away, Debboli decided to take the group out for a nice dinner instead.

Meanwhile, she made every effort to get the group a $521 refund. Dalice Elizabeth’s owner agreed and six days after the scheduled event, an employee told her the check was in the mail.

She waited, but the check didn't arrive. 

"A lot of times I was passed on to, 'I’ll leave a message with the person who handles our finances... he’s not in right now... I’ll leave a message with the owner,' but there was no callback," Debboli said. "And after a while, there was just no more responses."

That was the most frustrating part, she said. She didn’t want to feel ignored.

"I think sometimes people might give up in that situation," Debboli said. "I wouldn’t have given up for $100. It’s just not who I am."

Then, family members pointed her to NBC Connecticut Responds.

"Both my parents and (the bride’s) parents were like, 'Hey, you know, NBC (Connecticut) Responds, they get back to everybody. You should at least email them and see if it’s something they can try and help you with'," Debboli said.

The day after NBC Connecticut’s consumer team reached out, Debboli received a message saying her check was ready and available for her to pick up at her convenience.

"I can’t thank (NBC Connecticut Responds) enough for actually trying to advocate for consumers," said Debboli.

The employee who Debboli spoke with said the delay was due to a recent death in the family which required their full attention.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Snow Leopard Cubs Debut at LA Zoo


 These 4-month-old snow leopard cubs are making their public debut at the LA Zoo. The cubs were born in May. They are the first offspring of Georgina and Fred, two adult leopards who were paired together through a species survival program. Snow leopards are an endangered species, with between 2,000 and 7,000 left in the wild.

Photo Credit: Tad Motoyama/LA Zoo

NBC CT, Big Y, Red Cross Donation Drive


Donate online to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund here.

It has been a devastating few weeks for people across the United States.

Hurricane Harvey brought record-breaking rainfall to Texas and Louisiana, destroying homes in its wake. Hurricane Irma left millions without power and a place to live in Florida. Wildfires have led to evacuations in California. All those people are struggling to put their lives back in order.

Together with Big Y and the American Red Cross, NBC is proud to connect you with a way to help.

From now until September 23, you can make a monetary donation at any Big Y Supermarket.

Whether it’s cash, check or credit card, no donation is too small.

Your donation will help the American Red Cross bring aid to those in need.

If you’re not able to get to Big Y, please consider making an online donation. You can do that by clicking here.

3 in Custody After Shooting on Boston Common


Three people are in custody after a shooting on the Boston Common on Tuesday, according to police.

The shooting was reported just before 7 p.m. in the area of the bandstand.

The victim, a 19-year-old man from Hyde Park, was shot multiple times and he suffered life-threatening injuries. He remains in critical condition.

Police say two men fled on mopeds and another on foot. All three were taken into custody and are being questioned. Boston Police Commissioner William Evans referred to the men as "persons of interest."

"We need the public's help, obviously, there was a lot of people down here. Which is the troubling thing," Evans said. "We have a lot of work to do."

Evans added that the victim and all three people in custody were known to each other.

Emerson College, which is located near the Common, sent out an alert warning students and faculty about a shooting near campus.

"If you are on campus, go to the nearest available room and lock/barricade the doors and silence phone," the alert said. "If you are not on campus, stay away until further updates."

The MBTA was reporting delays on the Red and Green lines due to police action, but it wasn't immediately clear if this was connected to the shooting.

Photo Credit: Marie Connor

Lamborghini Driver Faces Charges After Facebook Video Posted


A joy ride in Vernon that was shared on social media now has one car dealership employee facing charges. 

A local radio station DJ went to the grand opening of Prestige Autocars on Hartford Turnpike in Vernon on August 19. 

Jason Napoletano, an employee of Prestige Autocars, took the radio DJ out for a ride in a green Lamborghini. The DJ posted the video on Facebook Live.

"Once that was posted on the internet we got a flood of calls which peaked our interest," Vernon police officer Aaron Grechko said.

In the video, Napoletano said he reached speeds around 100 miles an hour.

By looking at the video, police did their own calculations and confirmed. Police said the car was driving about 100 miles in a 40 mph zone, according to a report. 

"The road they traveled on is a very heavily trafficked area. It's a main road- several lanes of traffic both ways and traveling that fast on that roadway is pretty dangerous," Grechko said.

Apparently, Napoletano wasn't worried.

"The good news is I'm friends with the mayor and the police, so we won't get in trouble," Napoletano can be heard saying in the video.

Napoletano was charged with reckless driving and was released on a promise to appear.

"If he was friends with us then he would know we take our job very seriously and wouldn't do that," Grechko said.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 25.

NBC Connecticut reached out to Napoletano and did not hear back. 

Prestige Autocars declined to comment. 

Photo Credit: Vernon Police

South Windsor Police Search For Missing Woman


South Windsor police are searching for a woman who suffers from hallucinations. 

Sybil Gibbs was reported missing from her Berry Patch apartment on Oakland Road. 

Anyone with information is asked to call police at (860) 644-2551.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Mom Hit by Tree in Central Park to Sue City for $200M


The mother who was critically injured when she put herself between a falling tree and her three young children in Central Park last month plans to sue the city for $200 million, her attorney said Tuesday.

Jordan Merson added that his client, Anne Monoky Goldman, is "completely immobilized" and cannot breastfeed her infant daughter or move her neck for the next two to three months after she was pinned underneath the tree near West 62nd Street and West Drive on Aug. 15. 

Goldman was carrying her newborn daughter in a carrier and pushing a double stroller with her two boys, ages 2 and 4, when the- tree came toppling down.

Her children didn't suffer any lasting injuries, but Merson took the brunt of the blow and may never walk the same way again, according to Merson. She was floating in and out of consciousness when first-responders got to the scene. 

It's not clear what caused the tree to topple over, but the Daily News reported after the mishap that its roots had decayed

Merson said he plans to file a notice of claim against the city on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: News 4 New York / Provided

Pilot Grateful No One Else Was Hurt in Plainville Crash


The pilot who crashed in a parking lot near the Roberston Field Airport in Plainville, Connecticut Monday morning is grateful to the people who helped him get out of the plane and that no one else was hurt in the crash, he said Tuesday.

The pilot, Manfred Forst, 79, has been flying for 18 years, but said he is having second thoughts about flying again after what happened Monday morning.

Forst, who goes by Fred, is originally from Germany and now lives in Canton. He said he was going to breakfast when the 1981 Cessna 172 he was piloting crashed at 11:24 a.m. behind Carling Technologies, a business that is adjacent to the airport.

After the crash, employees of Carling Technologies came to his rescue, lifting a wing of the plane and helping Forst out of the cockpit, because of the smell of gas, according to the police report. 

Videos police released Monday show the frightening moment when the low-flying plane hit a tree in the parking lot, flipped over and crashed upside down on the pavement.

The police report says Forst told them he took off from Robertson Airport earlier in the day, then flew to Simsbury Airport, then to Brainard Airport.

While flying back to Robertson Airport, Forst touched down on the runway, bounced several times and decided to lift the plane back up into the air to go around and try and land again, he told police.

However, he turned the plane took much, did not have enough speed and crashed, according to the police report.

Forst was taken to the Hospital of Central Connecticut with minor injuries, Plainville police said. On Tuesday, he said has a couple scratches but is feeling good.

"I was very fortunate I got out of it without any real injuries," Forst told NBC Connecticut Monday. "I'm just so thankful."

On Tuesday, he said he said he cannot discuss any details, but is thankful no one else got hurt and he wants to thank everyone who responded to the scene and called 911.

Forst said he was happy to see his wife when he got home and gave her a big kiss.

She’s always concerned when he’s flying, Forst said, so his days as a pilot might be over.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

GOP Reveals Budget Proposal Two Days Before Possible Vote


Republicans in the Connecticut House of Representatives and the State Senate are united behind their spending proposal for the next two years.

Connecticut is in its 73rd day without a budget place since the fiscal year ended in June.

The GOP budget, presented by leaders from both chambers, has all of the elements that taxpayers like hearing. The GOP plan does not have new taxes, tax increases or cuts to municipal aid.

"We believe we have a budget that is real. We believe we have a budget that can go forward, that puts Connecticut on the right track,” Sen. Len Fasano, the top Republican in the State Senate, said. 

The plan depends on sweeping spending cuts to agencies across state government. They also include future savings from requiring teachers and state employees contributing more toward their retirement accounts and it looks into government waste and abuse.

There are also changes to local education spending, providing for a new formula that distributes education aid, while also providing the option for some school systems to hold back on hiring school system administrators.

When asked whether the budget was merely a wish list, knowing potential voters would like to hear the list of items in the budget, or whether it was a legitimate spending plan, Fasano said, "Every number in our budget has been, will have backup, has 100 percent backup. We will not put a number that is fuzzy out to you."

Gov. Dannel Malloy met with the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tem of the Senate on Tuesday afternoon to discuss what a final budget may look like in time for a vote of the General Assembly by Thursday.

"I'm hopeful but there's no white smoke or there's nothing done but we'll see where this leads in the coming 48 hours," Malloy said.

In a statement, Sen. Martin Looney said, "This afternoon the governor gave Democratic legislative leaders his response to our latest spending and revenue proposal. Now we have to evaluate and develop a response to the perspectives he offered. Staff and legislative leaders will be working this afternoon and evening to finalize a budget agreement."

The goal from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, they have said, is to avoid automatic spending cuts to local education that would go into effect on October 1, per an executive order signed by the governor last month.

The GOP budget, Malloy said, he hasn’t reviewed in its entirety but did provide it long odds of ever reaching his desk.

"Every budget has a chance to pass, that’s why people buy lottery tickets, too," Malloy said. 

Hillary Clinton: I Would Have Won If Not for Comey


Hillary Clinton appeared on the "Today" show Wednesday morning in her first live TV interview since Election Day, saying that she believes she didn't make enough mistakes on her own to lose the election and that former FBI Director James Comey was the determining factor in President Donald Trump's win.

The interview comes a day after Clinton released "What Happened," which recounts the 2016 presidential campaign. It runs through Clinton's bid for president, why she believes Trump won and how she felt afterward. She blames herself for the loss, but singles out other factors as well.

The book was meant to be both "personal and historical," Clinton said on "Today," looking at "what was at work here, in addition to the mistakes that I made."

Some of those other factors include the long-simmering investigation into her private email server that never turned up criminal conduct, Russia's attempts to sway the results and how the media covered what she called "the first reality TV candidate," meaning Trump.

"Today" co-host Matt Lauer asked Clinton if she made enough mistakes on her own to lose the election.

"I will say no, Matt," Clinton said. "I don't think that will surprise you."

Her book has already attracted the attention of the White House. On Tuesday, Trump's press secretary criticized Clinton for "propping up book sales with false and reckless attacks."

Asked to single out the single biggest factor in her loss, Clinton pointed to Comey, then the FBI director, announcing less than two weeks before the election that there was new evidence pertinent to his investigation into her private email server. It left her stunned and dumbfounded, she said, and she said it cut her lead in half in a crucial part of the swing state of Pennsylvania.

"I understand why voters would be shaken by it and we didn't have time to recover from it," Clinton said.

Trump later fired Comey. The administration mentioned his handling of the email investigation in its justification but Trump also said he was thinking of Russia at the time. Clinton believes Comey was fired for the wrong reason but should have been disciplined in some way for the email investigation, she said.

Lauer asked if Clinton believed that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, but Clinton deferred to the investigation now underway by a special federal prosecutor. 

She did give her reaction to the new revelation that Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., having a meeting during the campaign with people associated with Russia in which he was promised dirt on Clinton.

"It's ridiculous. It's another absurd lie to cover up what really was going on which I hope we uncover and finally understand," Clinton said.

Clinton also implied that more needs to be done to investigate election security.

"If I had been elected and this had come to light … I would have stopped at nothing to make sure this never happened again to anybody," Clinton said.

Clinton has given several interviews to talk about the book and the election, though none on live TV, and on Tuesday signed hundreds of copies of the book at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan.

"I go back over my own shortcomings and the mistakes we made. I take responsibility for all of them," she writes in the book. "In my more introspective moments, I do recognize that my campaign in 2016 lacked the sense of urgency and passion that I remember" from Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File
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Cleaning Liquid Caused Odor at Elementary School in Stamford


Davenport Ridge Elementary School in Stamford was closed to students Wednesday morning after a dry carpet cleaner in a cardboard box in a janitorial closet got wet, reacted with the moisture and emitted an odor, according to officials.

A janitor was taken to Stamford Hospital as a precaution and is expected to be released, according to school officials and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Students either stayed on buses or waited at the nearby Greek Orthodox Church as emergency crews checked out the building.

The school system did bring in an industrial hygienist to ventilate the building and ensure the safety of the students and staff, according to DEEP.

Authorities gave the all clear around 9 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Vape Shop Owners Concerned About Budget Proposal Fees


The owners of some Connecticut vape shops are trying to stop a budget proposal that could significantly raise the price of their products. 

An item in the governor's budget proposal would add a 75 percent tax to all wholesale-purchased vape products. 

“It’s pushing the vapor industry out of the state of Connecticut and they’re losing the revenues of all the taxation that we already pay,” Christine Mazzotta, of the Connecticut chapter of Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association, said.

The leaders of Vapor 9 vape shop in Portland said adding the proposed fee would effectively put them and other vape stores out of business. 

“We would not be able to compete with online,” Andrew O’Bright, the regional manager of Vapor 9, said. “Everything would go outside of the state.”

Vapor 9 said they're asking their customers who oppose the tax to contact their legislators to put a stop to the tax. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich Maintains Innocence From Prison


Silent in his public comments for five-and-a-half years, Rod Blagojevich has no apologies to offer. 

After all, the former Illinois governor still insists he did nothing wrong — and that he will prove it. 

Watch Part 1 of NBC 5's exclusive interview with Rod Blagojevich

"The rule of law is not a lump of clay to be put into the hands of prosecutors, to be shaped by them any way they want, to ensure convictions,” Blagojevich told NBC 5, breaking his silence for the first time since entering prison. "The law is the law, and the law is what the Supreme Court says it is." 

The Supreme Court is where Blagojevich is about to take a last stand. 

Blagojevich was relaxed, freewheeling and at times even funny over two hours of conversations with NBC 5. The former governor spoke of his family and his desire to set the record straight, once and for all.

"What sustains me during this very difficult long hard trial is the love I have for my children and my wife Patti," he said. "My kids can see from both of their parents that when adversity enters their life, when your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, and just about everything’s been taken from you, that you don’t quit---you keep going and you draw from the hardest suffering the inspiration to carry on."

The former governor’s 14-year sentence came as the result of two criminal trials, two appeals and one abortive trip to the Supreme Court. Federal prosecutors insisted at that time that the venue was inappropriate, because Blagojevich still had to be re-sentenced in the District Court, and the high court did not take his case.

Out of all of those, he did manage to get five counts dropped from his convictions in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. But when re-sentencing finally happened, his 14-year term was not shortened. 

Now he is preparing a second trip to the nation’s highest court, insisting that everyone up to this point has gotten it wrong. 

“I believe, because of the practical considerations, because of the fact that the law is what it is, by the Supreme Court being the highest court in the land and what they say is the law, that sooner or later what happened to me has to be corrected,” he said. 

Blagojevich is hoping the Supreme Court will listen as he essentially asks them to use his case to clarify when a politician steps over the line in fundraising because he insists he always stayed on the right side of that line and those who prosecuted his case got it wrong. 

“They not only didn’t follow what the Supreme Court says was the law, they actually followed what the Supreme Court said was not the law,” he said. “Now I’m fighting obviously for my vindication for, you know, my freedom, for a future, for what I believe is right. But I’m also fighting for the rule of law.” 

Specifically, he points to the landmark court case McCormick vs. the United States. That case said political fundraising crosses the line when a public official makes an explicit promise to perform an official act in exchange for a campaign contribution.

"By lowering that standard and saying that if an elected official seeks a campaign contribution from someone who may have benefitted by his or her administration, then that’s a crime?" he asks. "Then every former president that’s still alive is coming to prison, every governor that asks for campaign contributions, every mayor, every congressman, every senator. Because every single day they raise campaign contributions from people in and around the halls of government who do things."

The government argues it's not that simple. 

Prosecutors have long argued that Blagojevich did make clear to certain donors what he wanted them to do--if they wanted to see key projects go forward. Essentially, they argue, there were explicit promises, ala McCormick, communicated in an implied way. But Blagojevich and his lawyers insist that was never the case.

"The law is very clear. The only thing you must not do, you cannot make a specific promise," he said. "I never did. The government listened to all the tapes. They know I never did. They don’t even allege that I ever did. But in order to convict me, they moved the line and essentially convicted me on jury instructions that were nearly identical to what the highest court in the land, the Supreme Court, said was not the law!"

When he agreed to the interviews with NBC 5, Blagojevich imposed no restrictions but said he wanted to talk about the case. And he wanted to talk about every aspect.

Take the allegations that he had attempted to shake down racetrack owner John Johnston for campaign contributions, in exchange for his signature on a bill favorable to the racing industry. 

“I had that bill for nine days,” he said. “The legislature just passed that bill a week or two before, and they were all raising money from those same horse racing guys at the time they were actually voting on the bill.” 

Prosecutors charged that undercover recordings made clear that Blagojevich was prepared to sit on the racing bill unless Johnston delivered. He insists that was not the case. 

“They sent me to prison because I did nothing one way or the other on that bill after having it for nine days,” he says. “The idea that they would hold me accountable when I haven’t done anything one way or the other on a bill, having it for nine days and I have fifty one more days to act on it, to me shows how these are non-existent crimes.”

Then there were the allegations that Blagojevich was looking favorably at the prospect of giving the Barack Obama Senate seat to Jesse Jackson Jr., in exchange for a promise of over $1 million in campaign contributions from Jackson supporters. One key phone call involved a conversation between Blagojevich and his brother, who was working as his chief fundraiser. It was during that conversation that Blagojevich uttered a now famous admonition, to assume “the whole world is listening.” 

“I don’t tell him to promise the Senate seat, there was never any conversation like that,” he insists. “There was no agreement to make him a senator---I was never going to make him a senator.”

“They don’t play the conversation the very next day when my brother and I discuss what he’s going to say if someone comes up to him and approaches him, and he says very clearly we discussed, I’m going to tell him, that if you want to help us raise money, fine, but one’s not for the other and there’s no promises.”

Ironically, despite the allegations of the Jackson overture, he was never charged in connection with Blagojevich. Jackson would later be incarcerated himself, for looting his own campaign fund of $750,000.

He drew only 30 months in prison. 

"Yeah, he’s lucky. It’s good that he’s back with his family. I don’t wish him ill,” Blagojevich said. "You know, I think it’s important that he made his responsibility for what he did and that was clearly illegal, and a betrayal to his contributors, but he went to prison and he suffered and lost his seat and all the rest, so … it’s good to know that he’s back with his family.” 

And what of Tony Rezko, the Svengali-like character and Blagojevich fundraiser, who went to prison himself? Rezko’s name never figured prominently in the former governor’s criminal trials, but he was portrayed by prosecutors as a master-manipulator behind-the-scenes, doing Blagojevich’s bidding. 

"Well, Tony Rezko was a big supporter of mine and President Obama," Blagojevich said. "I met Barack Obama through Tony Rezko." 

"Rezko was a respected businessman in the minds of those who knew him as well as we did, and we didn’t know as much as we should have, obviously," he said.  "And those were mistakes that the governor Illinois made, and the president of the United States made. And I would mitigate my mistake by saying, yeah, I’ve got some pretty good company there!" 

He is quick to point to his former chief of staff, Lon Monk, who testified against him but received two years in prison himself. 

“I think that proves my innocence,” Blagojevich says. “Why would you have to bribe the chief of staff if you can get the governor?” 

Still in the family’s familiar Ravenswood Manor home, Patti Blagojevich expressed frustration that others either can’t or won’t see her husband’s arguments. 

"Everything he said about political deals he was trying to make being legal actually was true they were legal," she said. "I firmly believe he was always on the right side of that line, and I really firmly believe that the government moved that line just to convict him."

Indeed, the former first lady argues that once he was impeached on the state level, federal prosecutors had to come away with a finding of guilty.

"They had no choice but to convict him," she said. “Let’s say they go to trial and they lose. Then what did they just do? They unseated a governor! They just took him out of office and caused his impeachment!” 

Regarding that impeachment, Blagojevich is almost philosophical about how he was removed from office. 

“It was inevitable they were going to do that, and when I gave that speech I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t get many votes,” he said. “And I was right about that! But I felt I should go down there and make my case anyway. I felt I owed it to the voters who elected me twice!” 

“That was all about (Michael) Madigan and them trying to … thinking they could get someone in there that they could control,” Patti Blagojevich adds of the Illinois House speaker. “I mean, you know as well as I do that Rod was not about to be pushed around.” 

The result after two criminal trials was a sentence which is one of the longest ever levied against a politician in America. Blagojevich and his legal team point to other notable cases where there were much smaller penalties: former governor George Ryan did only six-and-a-half years; many other governors in other states who were convicted of taking money or accepting lucrative favors have done fewer than two years in prison. 

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, whose life collapsed in a child abuse scandal, spent only 13 months behind bars. 

Evidence in the Blagojevich trial showed he never received a penny in bribes. But he is doing 14 years in prison. 

“In terms of the people that have done this to me, I refuse to allow myself to hate them or to wish them any ill will other than I wish they would recant,” the former governor says. “Other than I wish they would recant. I wish they would acknowledge what the law says, and let me go home.”

Plane's Landing Gear Fails During Takeoff in Nantucket


The Nantucket Memorial Airport was closed down Wednesday morning due to an emergency situation involving a private plane.

Nantucket police said that a twin engine aircraft had taken off and landed back down hard around 7:24 a.m.

Police said that the male pilot was seen standing outside of the aircraft. Nobody else was on board during the incident. 

The pilot was taken to a local hospital for his minor injuries, according to state police.

The airport was reopened later in morning.

Photo Credit: Bill Hoenk Photography

Man Sexually Assaulted Teen at Motocross Club: Police


A man is accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl during an overnight event at a Plainfield motocross club. 

Police started investigating on July 11 after the 15-year-old victim said she woke to find 25-year-old Shane Boucher sexually assaulting her during an overnight event at Central Cycle Club, which is located in the Central Village section of Plainfield. 

Police obtained a warrant for Boucher, of Central Village, who is incarcerated on an unrelated charge, police said. 

He was arrested at the Danielson Superior Court and charged with second-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, illegal sexual contact. 

He was held on a $65,000 court-set bond and is due in court today.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police
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