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Gas Main Break in West Hartford


Police and emergency crews are responding to a gas main break in West Hartford.

A construction crew was working in the area of 1676 Boulevard and cut a small pipe, police said. The road is closed.

Connecticut Natural Gas is on the way to the scene and police said the main should be repaired by around 10:30 a.m.


Scientists Forced to Rethink the "Big One"


For the first time, scientists and emergency planners are examining whether a super quake could affect both Northern and Southern California, rendering the entire state helpless in the aftermath of the "Big One."

Seismologists have warned Southern California that a major quake on the lower San Andreas Fault, the so-called Big One is inevitable. But that the population centers of both Southern and Northern California could be affected simultaneously by one quake on the San Andreas Fault has only recently been recognized as a possibility.

The study by Professor Nadia Lapusta at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Japanese collaborator Hiroyuki Noda focused on explaining the behavior of two devastating quakes in Asia: the 1999 magnitude 7.6 temblor in Taiwan, and the 2011 magnitude 9.0 quake off the eastern coast of Japan.

Special Section: Earthquake Info, Maps and Resources

In both cases, the quake spread across so-called "creeping" fault segments long thought to be incapable of transmitting quakes, according to Caltech Staff Seismologist Kate Hutton, a Lapusta colleague.

"The general idea until this paper was that they would stop a quake," Hutton said.

It was believed the slow, creeping movement prevents stress from building up and keeps such a segment stable, Hutton added.

Lapusta and Noda developed a computer model to explain how under certain conditions "a rupture could just kind of barge right through," Hutton said. "Now the question is how this would apply to California."

Such a creeping zone has been identified in a stretch of the San Andreas Fault in central California, just north of seismically active Parkfield.

The Great San Francisco quake of 1906 occurred on the San Andreas north of the creeping zone. The 1857 Fort Tejon quake occurred to the south. No known quake has ever spanned across that creeping zone.

Whether the model developed by Lapusta and Noda could apply there would depend on local geological variables not yet completely understood, Hutton said.

Responsible for statewide emergency planning and disaster preparedness, California's Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) is reviewing the new study, according to spokesman Greg Renick. The agency already has in place a plan for responding to a catastrophic quake in Southern California, and another plan for the San Francisco Bay Area.

Cal EMA anticipates that a catastrophic quake affecting a major population center, much less two, will require response assistance from outside California, and has established procedures in place. Beyond that, Cal-EMA now intends to review the newly published research to see if it exposes any gaps in the current response plans that could be corrected before they’re needed, Renick said.

Every fall, Cal EMA's Golden Guardian program creates a disaster scenario for a multi-agency response drill. The scenario this year involves a catastrophic quake in the San Francisco Bay Area. A magnitude 7.8 temblor on the southern section of the San Andreas was drilled in 2008.

Blumenthal, Murphy Ask Biden for Stricter Gun Restrictions


On Tuesday, Vice President Joseph Biden is expected to present President Barack Obama with recommendations to curb gun violence in the nation, and two Connecticut Senators are asking for some specific restrictions in hopes of preventing another school shooting like the one in Newtown last month.

In a letter to Biden, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Christopher Murphy urged measures to expand existing assault weapons bans, improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, institute universal background checks for gun and ammunition purchases, strengthen the nation’s mental health systems, encourage manufacturing of safer guns and improve federal tracking of guns.

They said their requests are based on conversations with Connecticut’s law enforcement community, educators, mental health experts, community leaders and the parents of the students at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 first graders and six educators, then killed himself, according to police.

“The recent shootings in Newtown, Connecticut reminded Americans of the horror that is possible when one deranged person can gain access to dangerous weapons,” the senators stated. “The weeks after this horrific mass shooting have been filled with grief and pain, as we have seen firsthand, but the strength and courage of the families and the community should inspire us to prevent gun violence in the future. While we may never be able to prevent all mass shootings, we can certainly take reasonable steps to reduce the number of incidents and the potential fatalities.”
The letter comes the day after the National Rifle Association met with Biden.

David Keene, head of the NRA, was on the “Today” Show on Friday morning and suggested that his group has enough support in Congress to fend off legislation to ban sales of assault weapons.

He said doesn't think such a ban is going to get the votes it would need. He also said there's a fundamental disagreement over what would actually make a difference in curbing gun violence.

In their letter, Blumenthal and Murphy recommend:

Expand the assault weapons ban to include a ban on high-capacity magazines.
They wrote that the U.S. Department of Justice found the previous assault weapons ban was responsible for a 7-percent decline in total gun murders, but since that ban lapsed in 2004, assault weapons have been used in nearly 500 incidents, causing nearly 400 deaths.

Improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check system

Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that lax reporting by state agencies resulted in millions of missing records that would have identified seriously mentally ill individuals and drug abusers as prohibited purchasers in the federal background check database, according to the Senators.

Strengthen the mental health system

The senators stated that the states have cut more than $4 billion in public mental health spending between 2009 and 2012, and 3,000 psychiatric beds were lost over that same period.
Require background checks for sales of ammunition

“By requiring background checks on sales of ammunition, we can put one strong additional obstacle between a potential mass murderer and the tools to destroy lives and devastate communities,” the senators state.

Develop rules to encourage firearm manufacturers to create safer guns

“In other areas, consumer regulation ensures that companies move gradually towards safer products. Unfortunately, gun manufacturers have been largely immune from such regulation. As a result, when it comes to developments in gun safety, time has largely stood still,” the letter states.
Federal tracking of guns

The senators said the Department of Justice must destroy records of gun purchases within 24 hours.
“Surely with all of the technology and expertise in the hands of the Justice Department we can find a way to keep track of gun purchases in a way that protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners while giving law enforcement valuable information to stop the next Adam Lanza before he is allowed to kill,” the letter states.

Senators Blumenthal and Murphy will hold a public discussion on gun violence at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Parker Memorial Community Center at 2621 Main St. in Hartford.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Jets Can't Escape Tim Tebow


David Caldwell was a candidate for the Jets' general manager position before he wound up taking the Jacksonville position and we might have found out part of the reason why the Jacksonville job was more appealing during his introductory press conference on Thursday. 

Caldwell was asked about reports that Tim Tebow would make his way back to his hometown this offseason and left absolutely no debate about his feelings when he said that he saw no way that Tebow would be a Jaguar, even if he winds up being released by the Jets. Given owner Shad Khan's interest in acquiring Tebow before the fateful trade to the Jets, that suggests Caldwell wanted to go to a place where the owner wasn't putting preconditions on his employment. 

Caldwell also fired coach Mike Mularkey, something he wouldn't have been able to do in New York thanks to Woody Johnson's insistence that Rex Ryan remain the team's coach through the 2013 season. That's pretty much the situation we discussed on Thursday when it came to the Jets' expanding list of G.M. candidates and the difficulties involved with hiring someone to run a football team without actually having the power to do what they want. 

The comments about Tebow also rung a bit strange because there hasn't been an honest answer from the Jets involving Tebow during his entire time with the team. That leads us back to the owner making decisions about personnel that are normally left to general managers, something that winds up making the team look dysfunctional because their words and actions have about as much to do with each other as ice cream and nuclear weapons. 

Don't just take my word for it. Listen to Mike Westhoff, who retired as the team's special teams coach at the end of the regular season and is thus free to reveal that all the talk about using Tebow on offense was never more than just talk.

"I don't think anyone's ever really answered that question," Westhoff said.  "Why didn’t we do it?  I honestly don't know.  I know we didn't practice it.  We didn't practice it in training camp.  We were gonna unveil it.  Well, I'm still waiting for the unveiling."

A while back, we suggested that Tebow only mattered as symbol of everything wrong with the Jets organization. When one of the team's key coaches is saying that Tebow was never anything more than a distraction and another G.M. breaks out of the vague nothingness of the usual press conference to make it clear he wants nothing to do with Tebow, it seems pretty clear that it was the correct take. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Flu Continues to Spread, But Appears to Be Weakening


The Centers for Disease Control's latest report on this unusually bad flu season shows that virus' geographic reach has grown, but that the outbreak may have begun to wane.

"The bottom line: It's flu season," said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during a press conference addressing the report on Friday morning. "Most of the country is seeing or has seen a lot flu and this may continue for a number of weeks."

The report, which covers the week from Dec. 30 to Jan. 5, shows that the outbreak has now spread to 47 states, up from 41 the previous week.

"We're continuing to see influenza activity remaining elevated in most of the U.S. It may be decreasing in some areas, but that's hard to predict, because particularly when you have data from over the holidays season," explained Frieden.

While 24 states are still reporting a high level of flu, that number is down from 29 the previous week. Frieden went on to say the data showing the flu could be waning may have been skewed by the holidays, a time during which doctors may be on vacation or people may be less likely to seek treatment.

Since the outbreak began in October, more than 3,700 people have been hospitalized with the flu, and 20 children have died.

This year's vaccine has been 62 percent effective, about what the CDC expected given current conditions, according to Frieden, who warned that even if the flu is ebbing, flu season is far from over.

"Nationally, it's likely that flu will continue for several more weeks," said Frieden. "During the past decade we have seen an average of about 12 consecutive weeks—three months—of ILI (influenza-like illness) being elevated. But as we often say, the only thing predictable about flu is that it's unpredictable. Only time will tell us how long our season will last and how moderate or severe this season will be in the end."

States reporting widespread flu activity:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

States reporting high flu activity:

Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia

Photo Credit: AP

2 Norwich Officers Injured After Police Pursuit


Two Norwich police officers suffered minor injuries late Thursday night after their police cruiser was hit by a pickup truck that they had been pursuing.

Police have charged Romance W. Brown, 24, of Norwich, with second-degree assault and reckless driving.

Norwich Officers Kenneth Wright and Christopher Nott stopped Brown's car at Boswell Avenue and Seventh Street at 11:16 p.m.

After a brief interaction, Brown sped away. Police chased him, but ended the pursuit after about a minute when officers lost sight of the car as Brown went south on Prospect Street, police said.   

As the two officers were heading back to the police station, Brown turned around, went through a stop sign and hit the cruiser at 10th and Prospect streets, police said.

Three parked vehicles were damaged in addition to the cruiser and the pickup, police said. Debris, including a car bumper and broken glass, are still scattered about the scene hours later.

The two officers sustained injuries and were treated at Backus Hospital and released, according to Norwich Police.

Brown was apprehended at the scene of the crash and was also taken to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries. He too was released.

Brown was charged with assault in the second degree, reckless driving, interfering with an officer, failure to obey a stop sign and engaging police in pursuit.

According to court records, Brown is due in court next week on disorderly conduct and criminal mischief charges from a 2012 arrest.

Bond was set at $100,00 and Brown is due in court on Jan. 11.

His passenger was arrested and charged with violations unrelated to the crash, police said. 



Photo Credit: Steve Miller, NBC Connecticut

One Dead in House Fire in North Branford


One person has died in a house fire on Pine View Drive in North Branford.

The fire started around 6 a.m. on Friday. Several people were able to get out of the house, but one did not.

Neighbors said a mother and her two middle-aged sons live in the house.

A family member said the victim is her step-brother. Police have not confirmed the gender or the age of the victim.

Officials said the flames were so strong that they had to pull firefighters back for fear that the roof would collapse and that is what happened.

The fire chief said a neighbor placed a ladder at the back of the house and tried to help the victim out, but the fire was too intense. The victim was found at the back of the house, officials said.

This is the fire fatal fire in North Branford in more than 20 years.  

Investigators said there is no sign of working smoking detectors. An investigation is underway.

Judge Approves Request to Exhume Lottery Winner's Body


Chicago’s million dollar murder mystery shifted to a Daley Center courtroom Friday as a Cook County judge ordered lotto winner Urooj Khan’s body exhumed in hopes of clarifying exactly what caused his death.

Already, Medical Examiner Stephen Cina has certified Khan’s death as a homicide, saying the lotto winner somehow ingested a fatal dose of cyanide. But as they went before Judge Susan Coleman Friday, prosecutors said in a filing it was necessary to exhume Khan’s body, among other reasons, "to rule out any other natural causes" of the Chicago man’s death.

"As Mr. Khan was buried without being embalmed," the motion stated, "it is important that Mr. Khan’s body be exhumed as expeditiously as possible."

In a hearing that lasted fewer than five minutes, Judge Coleman granted the exhumation request.

"We have to have justice served," the victim’s sister, Meraj Khan, said outside the courtroom. "If that’s what it takes to have justice served and to have peace, then that’s what needs to be done."

Khan’s widow, Shabana Ansari, did not attend the hearing. But as siblings and others gathered outside the courtroom, they made clear that they were suspicious of his death which occurred mere weeks after his million dollar lottery windfall.

"We know him. He was a perfectly healthy person,” said Khan’s brother, ImTiaz Khan. "It is impossible that he would die like this."

As he spoke, ImTiaz waved a notebook which he suggested contained information crucial to the case.

"I have 45 pages written down," he said. "A whole life history. I cannot reveal anything until I know when to do this."

Khan’s sister recalled the morning he died, and a frantic phone call at 4 a.m.

"Just screaming on the phone," she said. "I couldn’t understand what was going on. I couldn’t understand, and the call was from his number."

Family members said they were forced to accept that Khan had died an untimely death and said they were blindsided by the news that his passing had been ruled a homicide. Brother-in-law Mohammed Zaman said he first became aware when Khan’s wife cut off contact.

"At one point she said to me, she could not talk to me because of the attorneys," he said. "I was shocked. I said, 'What attorneys?' And she said, 'Criminal defense attorneys.' I was shocked!”

Flu Prompts VA Visitor Restrictions


Flu cases are widespread through most of the United States, and three people have died from the illness in Connecticut.

In response, several local hospitals are altering their visitation policies to prevent even further spread of the virus.
Effective on Monday, the VA Connecticut Healthcare System is temporarily amending its visitation policy for all VA Connecticut sites, including the main campuses and the community clinics.

No one under 18 will be allowed into a VA facility, except for children not exhibiting flu-like symptoms visiting a family member living at the Community Living Center.

No visitors with a cough, fever, sore throat, body aches or other flu-like symptoms should visit the healthcare system.

Additional steps put in place include the following

Hand sanitizer is available at the main entrances and throughout the facility. All visitors should sanitize their hands when entering and leaving the facility.

Visitors who exhibit or develop flu-like symptoms while at the healthcare system will be provided a surgical mask, asked to disinfect their hands and to leave the facility to prevent exposing other patients and staff.

If you have not received the flu vaccine, you can find a location on the HealthMap Vaccine finder.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

End of Payroll Tax Cut Promises Slimmer Paychecks Today


Many American workers will get their first glimpse of how Washington's fiscal cliff fight affected them when they open their paychecks today.

That is because amid all its wrangling last month over tax rates for the wealthy, Congress also let a 2 percent Social Security payroll tax cut expire on all workers subject to it — reverting the payroll tax you pay to 6.2 percent of your paycheck from the 4.2 percent you were paying for the last two years.

Read More: Why Your Payroll Tax Will Rise This Year

With that tax cut no longer reflected on your paycheck, the average American could pay as much as $2,202 more in payroll taxes this year than last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. (That is because the maximum wage subject to the tax is $110,100.)

If you make $50,000 a year, you'll take home $1,000 less annually. If you get paid every two weeks, that means your paycheck will be $38.46 less today than it was two weeks ago.

For more on what to expect, check out a primer on the fiscal cliff's impact.

You can also read the Internal Revenue Service's new guide here and the Tax Policy Center's tax calculator here.

Police Release Photo from Larceny


Newington police are trying to identify a man in surveillance video after bank information was stolen from a vehicle at The Tennis Center in Newington and money from the victim’s account was withdrawn at banks in East Hartford, Southington and Bel Air, Maryland.

Police said car was at the Tennis Center, at 60 Prospect Street in Newington, when the larceny happened and the person in the photo is a suspect.

Anyone who knows the person or has information about the case should call Ofc. Jeff Wagner at (860) 594-6240.

Hartford Man Accused of Sexually Assaulting Avon Teen


Avon police have arrested a 24-year-old Hartford man accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he met on Facebook.

Police said Israel Gomez met the teen on Facebook in September 2012 and chatted with her online and on the phone. Police described the chats over a four-month span as “sexually explicit.”

On Dec. 20, Gomez drove from Hartford to Avon, picked the girl up, drove her to a parking lot and allegedly sexually assaulted her, according to a news release from Avon police.

On Friday, police charged him with second-degree sexual assault; risk of injury, impairing the morals of children; and use of a computer to entice a minor.

Bond was set at $250,000 and he is due in court on Friday.

Crowd Builds at Local Gun Shop


As gun control is as the forefront of a national debate in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown last month, the crowd at a Newington gun shop was so large on Friday morning that there was a police detail outside.

On Friday morning, Hoffman’s Gun Center on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington ran a sale offering 100 value packs that included a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport semi-automatic weapon, a magazine that holds 30 rounds of ammunition and two boxes of ammunition.

The sale started at 9 a.m., but there were reports of lines building before the sale even began.

Police were posted along the street until around noon. Even after police left, cars continued to pull into the parking lot.

The gun shop’s motto is “Guns for the Good Guys” and the web site’s homepage states that a Connecticut state pistol permit, active military or state hunting license is required to buy and “assault style” center fire rifle.

Hoffman’s had no comment other than to say thanks to their customers.

The sale happens on the day that Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden asking the leader of the national gun control task force to recommend to expand existing assault weapons bans, improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, institute universal background checks for gun and ammunition purchases, strengthen the nation’s mental health systems, encourage manufacturing of safer guns and improve federal tracking of guns.

David Keene, head of the NRA, was on the “Today” Show on Friday morning and suggested that his group has enough support in Congress to fend off legislation to ban sales of assault weapons.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Jesse Jackson Jr.'s Wife Resigns from Chicago City Council


Sandi Jackson, the wife of Jesse Jackson Jr., resigned from the Chicago City Council Friday, citing family responsibilities.

"I am unapologetically a wife and a mother and I cannot deny my commitment to those most important personal responsibilities," she wrote in a letter to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"To that end, after much consideration and while dealing with very painful family health matters I have met with my family and determined that the constituents of the 7th Ward, as well as you Mr. Mayor, and my colleagues in the City Council deserve a partner who can commit all of their energies to the business of the people."

Her resignation comes a little less than two months after her husband resigned as Illinois' 2nd District Congressman amid a federal probe.

She said her decision to resign, effective Jan. 15, was made with a "heavy heart."

In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Jackson's "leadership has been greatly appreciated."

"As Sandi takes this time to focus on her family, we give her out deepest thanks and support for her service to our city and the residents of her ward," he said.

In November, her husband resigned as Illinois' 2nd District Congressman after months away from his Congressional duties with a diagnosis of bipolar depression.

Soon after her husband stepped down, rumors swirled that she was interested in running for the Congressional post.

"I will finish my term. I intend to finish my term," she said in December, denying the rumors. "Unless something catastrophic happens -- I could step outside and get hit by a bus today."

Federal authorities had been looking into whether the former congressman used campaign funds to decorate the couple's Washington, D.C. home. The couple briefly put the home on the market.
Additionally, Sandi Jackson had recently been asked by Illinois' State Board of Elections to explain a $69,000 discrepancy between her campaign finance reports and those of her husband.

No charges have been filed against either Jackson.

Her predecessor in the 7th Ward, Bill Beavers, said he wasn't shocked by the news.

"Not surprised. She was never there," he said, referring to the D.C. home.

Beavers is now a Cook County Commissioner. He's also feeling the heat of the feds, accused of taking thousands of dollars in campaign dollars for personal use. He's pleaded not guilty and maintains prosecutors are after him only because he refused to wear a wire on fellow Commissioner John Daley.

Emanuel said the process to find a replacement for Jackson, who was elected to the Chicago City Council nearly six years ago, will begin next week. The post will be filled through a mayoral appointment and would be Emanuel's first.

A special primary to replace the former congressman will be held on Feb. 26 with the General Election following on April 9.

West Haven Student Brought Pellet Gun to School: Cops


A West Haven High School student was arrested Friday after bringing a pellet gun to the school.

A 17-year-old male student opened his book bag around 11 a.m.  and showed what appeared to be a gun to another student, according to West Haven police.  There were no threats made, and the weapon was not shown in a threatening manner, police said.

The second student went to a School Resource Officer and reported the weapon.  The SRO recognized the weapon was a pellet gun and arrested the student, charging him with possession of a facsimile firearm.

West Haven High Principal Pamela Gardner sent an email to parents after the incident.

"This incident did not cause a disruption to the school day nor was any student or staff member in danger at any time," Gardner's email said. "I am most appreciative of the students that informed us and of the response of our SRO's. Please know that the safety and security of all students and staff is a top priority."

The student was suspended and will be brought up for expulsion, according to the email.  He was taken to juvenile detention because of the seriousness of the charge, police said.

A spokesperson for the West Haven Police Department said officers were very proud of the student who spoke up about the weapon.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Michael Strahan, Bill Parcells Finalists for Hall of Fame


The Giants season ended with crushing disappointment, but Giants fans could still have a reason to celebrate come Super Bowl weekend.

That's when the Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2013, and there's a pretty good shot that there could be a Big Blue-tinge to the class picture: Michael Strahan and Bill Parcells were among the 17 finalists for induction announced on Friday.

It's the first year that Strahan has been eligible for induction and he's part of a very strong class of rookies on the ballot. Former Ravens tackle Jonathan Ogden, former Cowboys guard Larry Allen and former Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp all have credentials for admission to Canton to match those put up by Strahan. 

Strahan holds the NFL record for sacks in a single season, he had a Brett Favre-aided 22.5 in 2001, and went to two Super Bowls as a member of the Giants. He ranks fifth all-time with 141.5 sacks and it's hard to think of any compelling argument against a player who was as good as Strahan for such a long period of time.

The same could be said for Parcells, who won two Super Bowls with the Giants and took the Patriots to another before moving on to somewhat less successful stints with the Jets, Cowboys and Dolphins. He also spawned a coaching tree that includes guys like Tom Coughlin, Sean Payton and Bill Belichick to further extend his influence on the game. 

The question, as it always is come voting time, is whether the arguments for others are more compelling. Unlike baseball, the voters for this Hall of Fame meet to discuss candidates with voters making cases for players before it goes to the floor. 

Those speeches can be impassioned which means that all those other new guys as well as the other 10 modern-day finalists (Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown, Cris Carter, Edward DeBartolo Jr., Kevin Greene, Charles Haley, Art Modell, Andre Reed, Will Shields and Aeneas Williams) will also have people pointing out all the things they did during their moments in the sun. Our own opinion is that owners have already gleaned the rewards for their efforts in the form of money, so we'd cut DeBartolo and Modell from the list before running into a brick wall with the other 13 guys. 

All of them have strong cases and we're still not sure how the Hall has failed to honor anyone from the Brown/Carter/Reed wide receiver trio over several years with all of them on the ballot. It's hard to separate them from one another, but not so hard to separate them from their peers. 

However the voters shape the class, which can't be bigger than and is rarely smaller than five people, we can be pretty sure that they'll actually have a reason for an induction ceremony this summer. After the baseball fiasco earlier this week, that's reason to celebrate even if the Giants wind up shut out of the fun again. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Homeowners Steaming Over Property Revaluations


Homeowners in Waterbury were furious Friday after their homes went through revaluation for the first time in 5 years.

The numbers plummeted and values across the city were down 30 percent.

"This isn't fair," said Jesse Pacyna.  He just got a letter in the mail, that said the value of his home went down $80,000. 

"You're stuck, you can't do anything," he added.  If he wanted to sell the place, he would take a big hit.

"That's the sad part, you cant sell your home...you can't," Pacyna explained.

If property taxes in Waterbury would go down to reflect the new home values, the city wouldn't make enough money. 

The mill rate would likely go up, and if that happens, taxes could skyrocket.  "I'm furious, people in Waterbury can't afford to live in Waterbury," Pacyna said.  

Homeowners worried they wouldn't have extra money to spend, so the local economy might feel the impact.

"We do anticipate some pain, some agony, some frustration," Mayor Neil O'Leary admitted. 

He said tax hikes could be inevitable.  He said he was working on the budget and already asked all city departments to cut back, and hoped to ease some burden on taxpayers. 

"There are many options, but none will be without pain," Mayor O'Leary explained.

Taxpayers like Jesse Pacyna have planned to make big sacrifices, and learn how to live with less.

"You're underwater...everybody's underwater," he said. 

Businesses have also taken a hit, their values went down 20%.  The Mayor said he would decide on the mill rate at the end of March.

Husband and Wife, Both Kelly Hildebrandt, Divorce


Kelly Hildebrandt is no longer married to Kelly Hildebrandt.

Nope, that is not a typo.

The same-name couple whose whirlwind, heart-warming romance drew headlines in the United States and abroad has divorced, the male Hildebrandt, Kelly Carl Hildebrandt, told NBC 6 on Friday.

“How do they term it at the courthouse? Irreconcilable differences, that is what I would say,” Hildebrandt said. “We gave it our best shot.”

After the couple separated, male Kelly returned in March last year to his hometown of Lubbock, Texas, where family and friends live and where his tree-service business is situated, he said.

“She’s a Florida girl, and I’m a Texas guy,” he said. “We really did come from pretty different worlds.”

For the first time since the couple separated, male Kelly returned to South Florida for a visit this week, he said. He met with female Kelly a few days ago and there were “no hard feelings,” he said.

The tale of the two Kellys began in February 2009, when Kelly Katrina Hildebrandt, of Coral Springs, found the Facebook profile of her future spouse. She saw that they had the exact same first and last name and sent him a friendly greeting to note their shared name.  

Same Name Couple Celebrates 1st Anniversary

They started having online exchanges and three weeks later, male Kelly, then 24, traveled from Texas to South Florida to meet female Kelly, then 20. They hit it off immediately and got engaged.

NBC 6 first reported about the Kellys in July 2009, and their story soon after went worldwide. They appeared on the “Today Show,” “Inside Edition,” Fox News, the front page of Yahoo.com, their wedding picture made People Magazine and they were mentioned in the monologue of late-night talk show host Conan O'Brien.

On Oct. 11, 2009, Kelly and Kelly tied the knot in Lighthouse Point. Things were going well for the newlyweds: They lived together in Coconut Creek and celebrated their first anniversary with a trip to Key West.

Then last year, the pair filed for divorce. The court case is still listed as pending, Broward County court records show.

A Tale of Two Kellys

Male Kelly said he has been happy back in Texas. “That’s where all my connections are. It’s been really great since I got back,” he said.

When he moved, he didn’t have to travel back to Texas alone. “Kelly let me keep my dog,” he said.

Female Kelly couldn’t be reached for comment Friday. But in a statement, her mother told NBC 6: “Yes, I am sorry to say they have separated. I am happy to say they have remained good friends and are both doing well.”

Male Kelly said he would be reluctant to marry anyone with the same name again. He said he suspected there would be another spotlight if that were to happen.

“I wouldn’t want my future spouse to have to deal with everything from before,” he said. “That wouldn’t be a fair situation, given the media coverage.”

Asked whether the media spotlight affected his marriage, Kelly said he didn’t have an answer. “You know, I really don’t know on that,” he replied.

He was sure, however, that having the same name didn’t impede their love, he said. That just happened to be the “cutesy side” of a real relationship, he said.  

Female Kelly has since removed her Facebook account.

United Illuminating Seeks to Raise Power Rates


Lois Fagan lost power for 8 days after Superstorm Sandy moved through her Milford community.  All of her kitchen items are still in her living room.  She says she’s just starting to get back to normal

“Not having electricity meant no heat and no hot water,” said Fagan, who’s lived in her home for 17 years. “I just hope that rates don’t go up. The utility so expensive as it is,” she said.

Yet United Illuminating says it needs to raise rates to make up for what it lost during Sandy, Tropical Storm Irene and the Nor’Easter of 2011.  The power company filed a letter of intent with the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) to apply for a rate increase.  James P. Torgerson, president and chief executive officer of UI and its parent company, says it’s necessary to recover costs incurred during all three disasters.

Attorney General George Jepsen says his office will carefully look over the rate increase.  Though he understands the need to upgrade infrastructure, he wants to “approve rates that are no more than just and reasonable as required by the law."

“Raising the rates, it might be a long term solution but it’s pretty frustrating to those people who are still trying to recover from Sandy and get their lives back together,” said Kate Gedney.  She also lives across from the beach in Milford.  She had no power for nearly two weeks after the storm and says many of her neighbors are still not back in their homes.

“It’s pretty frustrating.  Electric is pretty high as it is already and to be inconvenienced for two weeks,” Gedney said.

At this point U-I says it doesn’t know by how much a single bill could go up.  If it’s approved new rates will not take effect until January of next year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Extra Officers in Schools Rejected in Old Saybrook


After a lengthy and heated debate, the Old Saybrook Police Commission rejected a proposal to put additional officers into the town's schools.

Police Chief Michael Spera asked the commission to include funding for two new officers in its proposed budget.

The new officers would give the department enough staffing to have full-time school resource officers in every school, said Spera.

Right now, the town has two officers who work part-time in the town's schools, said Spera.  However, some commission members questioned whether Spera's plan could be achieved under current staffing levels.

The plan was voted down towards the end of a nearly four-hour meeting on the police budget.

The debate came nearly one month after the tragedy in Newtown where 26 people were gunned down, most of them children, inside Sandy Hook Elementary.

Concerned parents attended the hearing.

"Considering what's been going on, it's concerning. I just want to make sure that we can do everything we can to make sure our children are safe," said Tricia Goldsmith.

"There is without question a need for the school resource officers in all of our schools full-time. To hear the commission say that two may be adequate does not at all sit well with me as a parent," said Lesley Body.

After the vote, the chief told commissioners he still plans to push to expand the school resource officer program as the budget process goes on.

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