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Middletown Raid Reveals Drugs, Weapons and Diamonds: Police


Middletown police arrested a man accused of running a marijuana and hallucinogenic mushroom factory yesterday and said they found an arsenal of weapons and ammo in his apartment, as well as a stash of diamonds. 

Vincent Sullivan, 24, of 498 High Street in Middletown, was arrested on Friday after police raided his house and car and prosecutors said he is a "large-scale drug dealer."

Police said Sullivan had security cameras covering the entrances to the apartment to monitor for thieves as well as police.

Inside the apartment, police seized 40 items from Sullivan, including a loaded AR15 assault rifle, which is a banned assault weapon; a loaded Mossberg 590 12 gauge shotgun; 11 30-round high .223 caliber rifle magazines, each loaded with 30 rounds; several  boxes of ammunition of varying caliber; 1.6 lbs. of marijuana; a loaded Smith and Wesson .40 cal.; a Taser M26; suspected diamonds in a prescription bottle; a SOG machete; a knife with interchangeable blades; and several laptops and cell phones, police said.

One of the guns was stolen from Cromwell and Sullivan told police that a man who owed him money gave it to him two months ago, police said.

Sullivan also told police he bought the assault rifle during a private sale in Brooklyn, Connecticut and that he buys marijuana for around $3,000 and sells it for $3,300, according to the arraignment report.

Police determined the street value of the drugs found was $15,060 for the marijuana and $200 for the mushrooms. 

One of the laptops, a Macbook computer worth $1,100, was reported stolen from a Wesleyan University student in April 2012, police said.

The arraignment report also said Sullivan had a heat-sealed bag of hallucinogenic mushrooms, digital scales and a diamond analyzer.  

Department of Labor records state that Sullivan made just a few thousands of dollars each year since 2010, but police found $14,180 in cash in the apartment, which was furnished with expensive electronic equipment and furniture.

Several drugs and weapons charges were filed against Sullivan, including operating a drug factory near an elementary school, illegal possession of an assault weapon,
Sullivan lives in the apartment with his fiancé and infant daughter, who were not home when police served the search warrant was served.  He was also charged with risk of injury to a minor, fourth-degree larceny and motor vehicle violations.

Bond was originally set at $1 million, but was lowered to $350,000.


Photo Credit: Middletown Police

Route 187 Remains Closed in East Granby


An accident involving a garbage truck has closed Route 187 in East Granby.

Route 187 has been shut down for most of the day between Route 20 and South Stone Road, according to the state Department of Transportation.

State police said a garbage truck took out a major utility pole, and crews are still working to make repairs.

The road is closed to through traffic but authorities at the scene are letting local traffic through, according to police.

The truck driver was not injured in the crash, police said.

It's not clear when the road will reopen.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Team USA Curling Seeks Most Creative Fan


Team USA is looking to send a social media savvy fan to Fargo, N.D., for the the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Are you a fan of one of the Winter Olympic Games most popular sports? We're not talking about downhill skiing, figure skating or hockey. We're talking about curling. If you are, the "Fargo FANdango" is just the thing for you.

"We hope that the Fargo FANdango will help draw a little more attention to curling's Olympic Team Trials and the great athletes involved in the event," said Terry Kolesar, director of communications with USA Curling.

USA Curling is looking for its biggest fan to travel to Fargo for the 2014 U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

"Fargo has a unique and warm community that we are hoping to highlight as part of this great trip to North Dakota," said Kolesar. "While many of us may think about going somewhere warm for the winter months, we'd like to change those thoughts to:  'Why not head to Fargo to watch curling?'"

But before you grab your stone and push broom and put on those funny looking pants there are a few requirements you must meet. USA Curling is looking for a social media "skip," who knows at least one fact about Fargo or North Dakota, eh!

"The Fargo FANdango contest is a fun way for our fans to have an opportunity to see some of the best curlers in the U.S. while showing off their social media skills," said Kolesar.

You also have to come up with a video that shows off your passion for the sport. If you are interested in carrying out your curling dream? Check out more on the competition and deadline here.

Photo Credit: USA Curling

Moosup Man Charged With Child Porn Possession


State police have arrested a 46-year-old Moosup man accused of child pornography possession.
Police arrested Robert Burbank, of North Main Street, on a warrant on Tuesday.

Police started investigating Burbank in March when officers discovered videos of suspected child pornography being shared from an account assigned to Burbank’s home, according to state police.

In July, state police and Plainfield police executed a search warrant at Burbank’s home and seized computers and related equipment and said they found images and videos suspected of containing child porn.

Burbank was charged with first-degree illegal possession of child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance. Bond was set at $75,000.

Man Accused of Grabbing 5-Year-Old Neighbor’s Neck


South Windsor police have arrested a man accused of grabbing his 5-year-old neighbor’s neck because the child was playing near his trailer.

Police responded to a Main Street on Friday to check on a 5-year-old child and found a mark on the boy’s neck, police said.

Police arrested Joseph Krempasky, 50, of Main Street in South Windsor, who is accused of grabbing the child by the neck because he was playing near his trailer.  

He was charged with breach of peace and risk of injury to a minor and later released on a non-surety bond.

Krempasky is scheduled to appear at Manchester Superior Court on Sept. 12.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Access Health CT Launches Call Centers


Access Health CT opened its toll-free call centers today to provide Connecticut residents and small business owners with information about health care coverage and health insurance enrollment under the Affordable Care Act.

The goal is to help Connecticut residents and small business owners find the health care coverage that makes sense for them, according to a release from AHCT.

Call center representatives are available weekdays between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The number for the call centers is 1-855-805-HEALTH (4325).

The two centers are based in Hartford and New York City. Forty-two call center representatives are located in the Hartford center, which is based in the AHCT offices at 280 Trumbull Street, and 31 representatives are located in New York, according to the release.

According to AHCT CEO Kevin Counihan, “the call center will make it possible for Connecticut residents and small businesses to learn about their coverage options and to find out if they are eligible for financial help under the ACA.”

Call center representatives are knowledgeable in the details of the Affordable Care Act, as well as tax subsidies and health insurance enrollment, according to the release.

AHCT was created in 2011 the help insure Connecticut residents, promote health and lower health care costs. The goal is to provide online health insurance starting Oct. 1.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Car Goes Off Merritt Parkway Into Woods


Two women were trapped in a car for 20 minutes this morning after the vehicle went off the Merritt Parkway, 40 feet down an embankment and into the woods.

The late-model BMW 550i went off the Merritt Parkway southbound just before exit 40 at 8:24 am. and stopped on a storm drain culvert between the parkway and Creeping Hemlock Drive, according to the Norwalk Fire Department.

The two women in the car were not hurt, but had to stay in the vehicle as firefighters worked to secure it and keep the BMW from rolling over into the water in the culvert.

Both women refused medical treatment.

Parkway Auto Body used two heavy-duty wreckers and southbound traffic was down to one lane until 10:45 a.m. as emergency crews worked the scene.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Fire Department

Water Company Settlement Will Lower Rates


A settlement approved on Friday will cut Connecticut Water Company rates by 6.4 percent starting next April and will credit customers $10 million in refunds from the IRS, according to a release from the office of the Attorney General.

The water company agreed to hold off on seeking a rate increase until at least 2015 and to delay a rate adjustment for infrastructure improvements until next July at the earliest.

The settlement was negotiated by the Attorney General and Consumer Counsel and approved by the state Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).

“This settlement is a fair compromise that will lower bills for Connecticut Water’s 90,000 customers and stabilize rates for the near future,” said Attorney General George Jepsen, in a release.

The $10 million in refunds come from federal taxes that the water company paid between 2010 and 2012.

PURA will also investigate the use of tax refunds on other public utility companies, including the Aquarion Water Company, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating.

Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz said this could lead to “millions more in savings for other utility customers.”

Photo Credit: AP

Solar Panels Growing Hazard for Firefighters


Firefighters battling the massive 11-alarm blaze at the Dietz & Watson distribution center in South Jersey faced an unlikely foe during the fight -- solar panels.

A solar array with more than 7,000 photovoltaic panels lined the roof of the nearly 300,000 square-foot refrigeration facility which served as a temporary storage center for the company’s deli meats and cheeses. But the panels, while environmentally sustainable and cost-saving, may have led to the complete destruction of the warehouse.

Fighting the fire under bright blue skies Sunday, Delanco Fire Chief Ron Holt was forced to keep firefighters from attacking the blaze from the roof because of electrocution concerns.

"With all that power and energy up there, I can't jeopardize a guy’s life for that,” said Holt. Those electrocution fears combined with concerns of a collapse forced firefighters to simply spray the building with water and foam from afar.

Ken Willette from the National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit that develops standards for firefighting, says electrocution is one of the hazards firefighters are increasingly facing fighting blazes at structures where solar panels are deployed.

“Those panels, as long as there’s any kind of light present, whether it’s daylight or it’s electronic lamp light, will generate electricity,” he said.

A 2011 study from the Underwriters Laboratory found solar panels, being individual energy producers, could not be easily de-energized from a single point like other electric sources. Researchers recommended throwing a tarp over the panels to block light, but only if crews could safely get to the area.

“Very often they’re not wired like your home, where you have a master breaker. Even if you turn the breaker off, the panels still generate electricity and you need to cover them and prevent any light from getting into them,” Willette said.

Flooding a roof with solar panels also presents access issues that can stop firefighters from making ventilation holes used to extinguish the fire.

Willette says the issues force firefighters to take a defensive approach to fighting the flames by staying away from the building – rather than going inside and attacking the fire source.

“It definitely impedes the firefighting operation and any time you impede firefighting operation, you slow down suppression efforts,” he said.

From 2010 through 2012, photovoltaic solar panel installations have jumped nearly 300-percent, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Forecasts show the trend will continue to increase sharply through 2017. The SEIA also says New Jersey has the second highest solar capacity in the United States.

With the continued growth of solar panels and other alternative energies, Willette says code officials, builders and developers need to work with local fire departments to ensure installations are designed with firefighting in mind.

“The new paradigm is firefighters might encounter building systems they have little or no knowledge of,” Willette said. “It used to be homes and commercial buildings had roofs and walls and heating and ventilation systems that the fire service was used to dealing with…modern technology, both in building construction and these other alternative energy systems, have changed that.”

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Owen Brennan/NBC10.com

Milford Synagogue Works to Repair Fire Damage


With Rosh Hashanah fast approaching, the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont Chabad in Milford doesn't have much time to open its doors again after a fire last fall destroyed most of the synagogue's interior and damaged the social hall next door.

“We had the fire last year, Oct. 14, and we committed that our building would be open for the holidays," said Joel Levitz, president of the congregation. "We're down to the wire, but we're going to have one of the buildings open to hold services.”

Construction crews have been busy trying to finish the first phase of the project and get everything set for the services scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Thursday and Friday mornings at 9 a.m.

They even worked Sunday and Labor Day to put the final touches on the work to renovate the social hall where everyone will gather.

“It's been the typical, as you get to the end of the project, it's the big rush, but we're used to it,” said Jim Pino, Jr. of Olympus Construction.

After the social hall is fixed, crews will then turn to the other building where the fire originated. The goal is to fix both buildings, then link them together to make a bigger place of worship for the Woodmont community.

“In the Bible, it tells us from the ashes you get gold. So for something bad, we're going to get something good. I guess you look at the positive and work towards it,” said Levitz.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cycling Challenge Brings Injured Veterans to Conn.


More than 200 injured veterans will ride from Lexington, Mass. to Philadelphia next weekend as part of a 425-mile cycling challenge.

The Ride 2 Recovery Minuteman Challenge kicks off in Lexington on Sunday, Sept. 8 and ends in Philadelphia the following Saturday. Cyclists will pass through Hartford and Danbury along the way.

The ride is designed to help injured active duty and retired military members “get back into the game of life” after returning home, according to program president and founder John Wordin.

Ride 2 Recovery promotes physical and psychological rehabilitation through cycling.

“Cycling is a powerful therapeutic exercise that they can do alone or in groups for the rest of their lives,” Wordin said in a release from UnitedHealthcare, which sponsors the event.

Participating veterans will ride hand cycles, recumbent bicycles, tandems and road bikes. They’ll arrive in Hartford on Monday, Sept. 9 and stop in Danbury on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman will head to Hartford to cheer on the cyclists, who are expected to cross the Founder's Bridge around 3:30 p.m.

For more information, visit the Ride 2 Recovery website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Second Suspicious Powder Incident in Darien


Darien police are investigating another incident in which a resident received a letter and suspicious powder over the holiday weekend.

On Monday afternoon, police responded to the Tokeneke section of Darien to investigate a suspicious powder and a threatening letter in a mailbox, police said. Investigators turned the items over to the FBI after conducting preliminary tests.

This morning, a resident of Rainbow Circle called police to report also receiving a letter containing a suspicious powder. 

The resident told police that he or she received the letter on Saturday and threw it out, thinking it was a prank, but contacted police this morning after learning of the incident yesterday in the Tokeneke section of town. 

Darien Police, the F.B.I, Stamford Bomb Squad and the Darien Fire Department responded to the residence and the homeowner has not shown any signs of illness.

No one else is believed to have been exposed, police said.

The substance was isolated and there was no threat to neighboring houses or Tokeneke Elementary School, which is located nearby.

Police said there is no reason to believe that the two incidents are connected and conclusive results on the tested substance could take up to five days.


Photo Credit: NBC

Primary Elections Coming Up Next Week


Municipal primaries will take place next Tuesday in 21 cities and town around the state.

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 10.

Voters should register by mail by Thursday, Sept. 5 or in person at their local Registrar of Voters office by Monday, Sept. 9, according to the office of the Secretary of the State.

Absentee ballots are available now and must be turned in at the Town Clerk by 8 p.m. next Tuesday.

The General election takes place Nov. 5.

The cities towns holding primaries this month include (by party and position):

  • Bethel: Republican party for First Selectman, Selectman, Police Commission
  • Bridgeport: Democratic party for Common Council districts 132-1, 132-2, 135-1, 135-2, 135-3, 136-1, 136-2, 136-3, 137-1, 137-2, Board of Education
  • Cromwell: Republican party for Town Council
  • East Haven: Democratic party for Mayor, Town Council districts 1 through 5, Board of Education, Board of Finance
  • Enfield: Republican, Councilman at Large
  • Haddam: both parties, Town Clerk
  • Killingworth: Republican, First Selectman, Selectman, Town Clerk, Town Treasurer, Board of Finance, Board of Assessment Appeals, Planning and Zoning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals Fire Commission, Reg. Board of Education
  • Lisbon: Republican, Board of Education
  • Middletown: Democrat, Planning and Zoning Commission
  • Milford: Democrat, Board of Education
  • New Haven: Democrat, Mayor, City Clerk, Alderman districts 2, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14, 19, 20, 22, 26, 27
  • North Haven: Democrat, Selectman
  • Norwalk: Democrat, Mayor
  • Norwich: Democrat, Mayor
  • Sherman: Democrat, Selectman
  • South Windsor: Republican, Town Council
  • Stratford: Democrat, Mayor, Council 3
  • Stamford: Democrat, Mayor, Board of Representatives districts 6, 13
  • Stamford: Republican: Mayor, Board of Representatives districts 13, 18
  • Torrington: Democrat, Mayor
  • West Haven: Democrat, Mayor, Treasurer, Tax Collector, Board of Education, Board of Assessment Appeals, Council at Large, Council districts 1-10
  • Woodbury: Republican, First Selectman

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Cat Shot by BB Gun in Naugatuck


Naugatuck police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the person who shot a cat with a BB gun on Aug. 24.

Police said they found the cat bleeding with two BB pellets lodged between its eyes.

The cat is in good condition and is expected to make a full recovery, according to police.

The cat’s owner lives on Simsberry Road and told police he didn’t know who was responsible. Police said they have few leads and have not been able to identify a suspect.

Anyone with information should contact the Naugatuck Police Department at 203-729-5222 or call the confidential police tip line at 203-720-1010.

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police Department

Cars Burglarized, Stolen in Vernon


Vernon police are investigating a number of car burglaries and a stolen car and are asking for help in tracking down the people responsible.

Police said the cars were broken into overnight in the area of Blue Ridge, Scott, Vine and Brent drives. The stolen pickup truck, a tan Toyota Tacoma, was taken from the victim’s driveway on Scott Drive.

Police said that all the cars targeted had been left unlocked.

Vernon police are reminding residents to lock their cars and avoid leaving valuables inside.

Anyone with information should contact the Vernon Police Department at 860-872-9126.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Second Conn. Case of West Nile Reported in Stamford


A Stamford resident has tested positive for the West Nile virus in Connecticut’s second case of the summer.

The first case was reported in July when a Stratford resident got sick after being bitten by mosquitoes.

According to the Stamford Department of Health, the city has responded to the diagnosis by placing larvicide in catch basins around town in an effort to kill off disease-borne mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes in several areas of the state have been found to carry the virus.

Symptoms can include fever, headache and body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes a skin rash or swollen lymph nodes and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Neurological effects can be permanent, so it’s important to seek treatment as soon as symptoms start to develop, according to the Stamford Department of Public health.

People over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk for infection, said Ann Fountain, Director of Health and Social Services for the city.

The best way to prevent infection is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

You can do this by:

  • Minimizing your time outside at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active
  • Making sure door and window screens are properly fitted and sealed
  • Wearing tightly woven clothing that covers your body while outside
  • Using mosquito nets when sleeping outside
  • Using bug spray when going outside
  • Getting rid of standing water in containers outside your home
  • Cleaning out clogged roof gutters
  • Properly cleaning, chlorinating and covering swimming pools

For more information about the disease and how to prevent it, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

ACLU Calls for Taser Regulation After Death of New Britain Man


The American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut is asking for increased Taser regulation following the death of a New Britain man who barricaded himself in a Broad Street apartment last night.

Police said the man, who has not been identified, was argumentative and threatened officers while holed up in his third-floor apartment. Police entered the building to confront the man and ultimately shot him with a Taser, authorities said.

Police said that soon after, the man experienced a medical condition that led to his death. Authorities have not released any details, and police aren't syaing whether or not the man's could have been triggered by Taser use.

According to the ACLU, Tasers have been linked to heart attacks, and there is concern that the stun guns are not being properly used. On Tuesday, the organization put out a call to increase Taser regulation in police departments around the state.

“The man who died in New Britain overnight is at least the thirteenth person to die after being Tasered by police in Connecticut since 2005, and the fourth in New Britain,” said ACLU Staff Attorney David McGuire, in a release. “Every death is a reminder that the state of Connecticut has not yet adopted clear and reasonable regulations for Taser use, and we urge the legislature to address this crucial issue.”

The ACLU lists three other New Britain deaths that are allegedly linked to Taser use, including those of Miguel Serrano in 2005, Jesus Negron in 2006 and Anibal Rosario Rodriguez in 2010.

The New Britain man is the second person to die this year after being shot with a Taser.

In June, a Meriden man was shot by a stun gun and died, prompting Connecticut NAACP officials to investigate the police department’s Taser use.

Meriden police Lt. Mark Walerysiak responded by saying he had never heard of a death caused by a Taser.

Officials from the local NAACP and the ACLU said Tasers are being used unfairly and without proper training.

Photo Credit: AP

WATCH: NYC Democratic Mayoral Debate


The leading Democrats in the hotly contested primary for New York City mayor are facing off in a final official debate on NBC 4 New York, one week before the primary.

The candidates who met the criteria to participate are former congressman Anthony Weiner, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, former Comptroller Bill Thompson, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu.

Going into the debate, a new poll of likely Democratic voters by Quinnipiac University showed de Blasio with 43 percent, trailed by Thompson with 20 percent, Quinn with 18 percent and Weiner with 7 percent. The survey polled 750 voters and has a 3.6 percentage point margin of error.

The entire 90-minute debate is streaming online on this page. Join in the conversation on Twitter by following @NBCNewYork and using #NYC2013, and send in your questions to debate@nbcnewyork.com.

The official debate series is administered by the New York City Campaign Finance Board. NBC 4 New York, The Wall Street Journal and Telemundo Nueva York are sponsors. 

NBC 4 New York is also sponsoring and airing the top contender Republican mayoral debate at 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 and the final general election mayoral debate at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29.

Three Robbery Suspects Arrested in Bridgeport


Three men were arrested in Bridgeport on Sunday after allegedly trying to rob three other people near Federal Street and Madison Avenue.

Bridgeport police arrested Kevin Cabrera, 21, of 800 Hallett Street, and Jesus Javier, 21, of 1072 East Main Street and a 17-year-old in connection with an attempted robbery during which one victim was hit in the head with a rock.

Police responded to the area following the report of a street fight. There they found two of the victims, who told police they were walking down the street when a group of young men on bicycles road past, then turned around and confronted them. The victims said a second group approached them from behind, and they couldn’t get away.

Passing cars started honking at the group and the suspects fled, according to police.

Police said they found the suspects riding their bikes on Center Street and arrested them. A victim was able to positively identify one of the suspects, according to police.

Cabrera and Javier were charged with criminal attempt at first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, breach of peace and interfering with police. They were each held on a $50,000 bond.

The 17-year-old was issued a summons and was held on an outstanding warrant with the New York Police Department.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego

Bridgeport Police Search for Bank Card Thief


Bridgeport police are asking for help in finding the woman who used a stolen Chase Bank card last month.

According to police, the victim parked her car on the 1100 block of Park Avenue and left a wristlet inside. When she returned, the wristlet was gone, and soon after, the bank informed her of unusual activity on one of her cards.

Anyone with information should contact Bridgeport Police Det. John Tenn at 203-581-5243.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department
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