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Car Hits Middletown Bank


A car  hit the TD Bank at 911 Washington St. in Middletown.

The building sustained structural damage.

No injuries are reported.

Couple Glues 39,000 Pennies to Bedroom Floor


Like many young couples, Ryan Lange and Emily Belden were looking for inspiration while deciding how to renovate the bedroom of their Chicago home.

That inspiration finally came from a quick glance at a jar of change.

"We'd been looking up options and were thinking about being green when I said we should just tile the floor in pennies," Lange, a entrepreneur and self-described design freak, told NBC Chicago.

Belden wasn't completely on board at first, but before she could put her two cents in, the project was off and running.

"I came home one day and found a small corner was done, so I thought 'I guess we're doing it,'" she recalled.

Thus began four months of painstaking work they dubbed "pennying," which involves laying down a special glue that acts like grout and individually placing the pennies heads up on the floor of the 380 square-foot room in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood.

It turned into a nightly form of relaxation for the pair — accompanied by "Spotify Premium and pinot noir" — but it does have drawbacks. Handling that many dirty pennies turns your hands pitch black. But all in all, they consider it time well spent.

"Once we were halfway done, we were kind of over it, but I knew it was something that one day we could look back and laugh at it," Lange said.

An estimated 38,903 pennies were used to completely cover the floor, which was then sanded down to a shiny copper sheen and cemented in with a clear coat as smooth as a sheet of glass. They spent close to $1,000 on the project, which made for a lot of trips back and forth to the bank for more pennies. And created more than a few odd glances from the tellers. Pennyfloor.com

"After we told them what we were up to they started tracking the project themselves, and I was always passing my iPhone through the glass window to show them pictures," Lange said.

Within the bulk of pennies came some rare finds — a 1944 WWII 440 steel penny that was created due to a copper shortage, and a 1873 penny featuring an Indian head instead of Abraham Lincoln. Both pennies are worth enough money to pay for the project, but they also ended up on the floor.

"It's turned into a fun party game where we challenge our guests to find the rare coins," Belden said.

The couple has been posting the photos on their social media accounts and created a blog called ThePennyFloor.com about the project.

"A friend pointed out that thousands of people have now seen the inside of my bedroom, which kind of creeps me out a bit," Belden said.

And in case you're wondering, they're buying their home, not renting, which means no pennies lost in the form of a deposit check if they decide to move.

Photo Credit: ThePennyFloor.com

Roundup: Limos, Hot Spots and Oprah


President Barack Obama's second inauguration takes place Monday, and there's a lot going on. In an effort to keep you abreast of the action, we'll be bringing you a daily round-up of the coverage.

  • Obviously an undertaking the size of an inauguration requires practice, but President Obama has other things to do this week. Meet U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Serpico D. Elliott, the man who's been serving as his stand-in.
  • This year's inauguration will have a New York flavor, thanks to master of ceremonies Sen. Chuck Schumer, who has seen to it that everything from the water to the wine to the desserts and honey to be served all hail from the Empire State.
  • If you think you're not being properly represented in Washington, you should try actually living in the District of Columbia, which has literally no representation in the halls of federal government, despite having to pay taxes. Close observers may notice that the president's limo on Monday will bear license plates that say "Taxation Without Representation," a nod to efforts to right that wrong.
  • Never heard of the Black McDonald's Operators Association? Then you clearly haven't been keeping abreast of the people throwing parties this long weekend.
  • If you're worried about the grass on the National Mall, which got trashed in 2009, fret not — new measures are being taken to keep it safe.
  • There's been a lot of talk about how fewer people will be heading to DC for this year's festivities. Among those who can't be bothered? Oprah!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Standoff Prompted Brief School Lockdown in Wallingford


The Cook Hill School in Wallingford was placed on lockdown for about 20 minutes as a precautionary measure as police were engaged in a standoff nearby.

Police received a 911 call at 12:05 p.m. from a mother who said her son was despondent and feared he might hurt himself, police said.

When officers arrived at the home at 69 Schoolhouse Road, they spoke with Michael McCormack, 23, who initially agreed to be taken to the hospital for an evaluation.  McCormack the ran from officers back into the house, got a handgun, and pointed it at the officers, according to police.

While police negotiated with McCormack, authorities contacted Wallingford school superintendent Dr. Sal Menzo and recommended he put Cook Hill School in lockdown.  The school is about a half mile away from where police were engaged in the standoff with McCormack.  

According to police, a negotiator was able to convince McCormack to lower his weapon and police tried to take him into custody.  He violently resisted and fought back, forcing the officers to deploy a taser to subdue him, police said.

He was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for an evaluation.  McCormack remained in police custody and faces charges of unlawful restraint, reckless endangerment, threatening, interfering with a police officer, breach of peace and illegal transfer of a firearm. He was held on $150,000 bond.

McCormack's gun was not loaded, police said.

The lockdown at Cook Hill School was lifted around 1 p.m.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

NHL 2013: What to Watch For in Shortened Season


With the NHL season set to begin Saturday, questions and predictions surrounding the abbreviated season are aplenty. Here is what's on the minds of NHL fans around the world.

How will the shortened schedule affect this season? Who will benefit the most?

Teams will play a 48-game schedule in just 99 days this season. That means more back-to-back games than ever before and less time to recover from injuries. Teams with depth on defense, special teams and in net will benefit more, while older teams will have to find a way to stay healthy and consistent. Changes in this year's schedule also mean that teams will play less games in their division, just 18, while the other 30 will be against other teams in their conference. This means that division rivals will have less familiarity with one another come playoff time, which could create some high-scoring playoff action. But teams that struggle will have less time to snap out of their slumps if they want to reach the playoffs.

"Teams that start the season slow will be doomed," said ESPN-affiliated blogger Rob Abruzzese. "Last year, the Kings rode a hot streak into the playoffs and they won the Stanley Cup because of it. That could very well happen again this year. The shortened schedule affects teams like the Rangers the most, with a goaltender like Henrik Lundqvist who plays a lot during the season. With less games, he'll be fresh for the playoffs."

Who wins the Stanley Cup?

With the shortened season and less divisional matchups, the question of who takes home the Stanley Cup is a difficult one. The Rangers and Wild made big time signings; The Kings have the same championship team from last year and several teams, including the St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and Pittsburgh Penguins have plenty of potential. So who wins it all?
“I think the St. Louis Blues have a great shot," veteran hockey writer BD Gallof said. “The Kevin Hitchcock system tends to wear itself out after a few years, but the Blues have a great defense and even better goaltending. The only team close to them in both categories is the Rangers, but I think they are a trade deadline move away from being the team they want to be. They needed Bryce Salvador much more than the Devils did. For that reason, I think the Blues have potential.”
Can the Los Angeles Kings repeat?
The Kings shocked the NHL last year after they snuck into the playoffs. They continued to baffle the hockey world with a huge win over the New Jersey Devils in the Stanley Cup finals. With a nearly identical roster to last year’s team, can the Kings win a second consecutive championship?
“It’s the million dollar question,” Gallof said. “A couple of weeks before the trade deadline last season, people were calling for (Kings General Manager Dean) Lombardi to be fired. Then they went on that playoff run. It’s really a mixed bag. I don’t think anyone is sure of who is going to show up this year. It could be a playoff team with potential, or a Stanley Cup contender. I think you may see them struggle at times this season, but if they make the playoffs, they’ll be a dangerous team. Because when the chips are down, they have proven that they can win.”
Is Rick Nash the “missing piece” for the Rangers?
Without Nash last season, the Broadway Blueshirts were a win away from the Stanley Cup finals. After the Rangers acquired the high-scoring winger from the Columbus Blue Jackets this offseason, many hockey scribes see Nash as the player that can get the Rangers into the Stanley Cup finals.
They paid a steep price to get him, but given the goaltending and everything else the Rangers have going for them, it makes sense. He could be the difference maker,” said Hall of Fame NHL broadcaster Jiggs McDonald. “But so much will hinge on this condensed schedule and how healthy teams can remain in light of that number of games in the limited number of days. Regardless, Nash just might make them the team to watch coming out of the East.”
There are plenty of people out there however that feel the Rangers need more than the dangerous scorer to truly be Stanley Cup contenders.
“Nash isn't necessarily the final piece for the Rangers,” The Hockey News writer Adam Proteau said. “He's only played four career NHL playoff games, and the Rangers will only be successful with a deep playoff run. He definitely makes them more dangerous, though.
How will Zach Parise and Ryan Suter affect the Minnesota Wild’s offensive attack?
This summer, the Wild captured the heart and soul of both the New Jersey Devils and the Nashville Predators, signing Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to long-term contracts. Although acquisitions of the forward and d-man make the Wild a favorite to make the playoffs, many hockey pundits aren’t yet convinced the team is a Stanley Cup contender.
“Both Parise and Suter are special players,” said HockeyBuzz.com writer Dee Karl. “They make everyone around them better. They will have an immediate impact on the Wild. But I don’t see them as Stanley Cup contenders yet. There is simply too much work to be done there. A 48-game season may not be enough time for them.”
How will Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement affect the Red Wings?
Arguably the greatest defenseman to ever lace up the skates, Lidstrom’s retirement leaves the Red Wings with a big hole in the defense. However, it wouldn’t be the first time the Wings have had to replace an elite player. After Brian Rafalski’s retirement, Niklas Kronwall stepped up beautifully as the number two defenseman the team needed. Can he or someone else pick up the slack for the retired Lidstrom?
“Lidstrom's retirement could have a massive effect on the Wings,” The Hockey News writer Adam Proteau said. “Beyond the minutes he plays nearly perfectly, the absence of his quiet leadership by example will also have an effect, and not a good one, on the organization's youngsters. If there's one absence that could hurt a team most this season, it's Lidstrom's.”
Can Tuukka Rask pick up the slack in the net for the Bruins?

Goalie Tim Thomas’ “year off” put the talented Bruins in a tough spot, but Rask has been waiting in the wings for quite some time now. This may be the time when he holds on to the number one spot, for good.

"There's certainly a lot of pressure for him to perform," said New York-based hockey blogger Derek Felix. " Especially in a condensed schedule. It won't be easy for a young netminder to just take over on a team with high expectations. He's capable of stealing games. It should help having leaders like Chara and Bergeron in the room. Plus he's been in the league a few years and knows what to expect. The Bruins scoring will be a key. They didn't score consistently last year."

How long will Roberto Luongo be a Vancouver Canuck?
Luongo’s playoff disaster and the rise of Cory Schneider have created a wacky situation in Vancouver. With two number one goaltenders on their roster and a bevvy of teams looking for an upgrade, the question remains. Will Luongo last the season with the Canucks?
“I think he’ll spend at least a month in Vancouver,” Hockeybuzz writer Dee Karl said. “With so many players having not played during the lockout, there’s going to be plenty of injuries and a goaltender like Luongo will be a necessity for other teams. Every team is going to try to fly out of the gate and you’re going to see a lot of injuries and eventually the Canucks will find a suitor for him.”
Will Brent Burns shave his beard?
The San Jose Shark’s defenseman was recently named one of Cosmopolitan magazine’s “Hottest players of 2013.” That piece must have been written before he took his team picture this week, appearing more like Star Wars’ Chewbacca than the heartthrob he’s been since his debut in 2005. With females in Minnesota screaming bloody murder, when will the hunk go back to his pretty boy self?
“I’m not sure when he’s going to shave,” Hockey scribe BD Gallof said. “But when he does, they’re going to need to call a landscaping company. That thing needs a lawnmower, shears and a garden hoe. It’s quite the hairy piece.”
There is another explanation behind Burns’ stimulus in facial hair.
“It’s a reverse playoff beard,” Karl said. "Once the team makes the playoffs, Burns will shave it off."

Photo Credit: AP

Stamford Gun Buy-Back Includes Video Game Collection


The Stamford Police Department will be hosting two events to buy back guns and collect ammunition and violent video games.

“The opportunity to remove illegal guns and ammunitions and to remove the negative influence of violent video games will send a positive message to our community for the betterment of our children. On every level, as a society, we will not tolerate this kind of violence,” Mayor Pavia said in a statement on Friday.

Stamford police said they held two successful Gun Buy-Back events, prior to and after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and collected 32 firearms, including two shotguns, five rifles, 14 revolvers, 11 pistols; as well as two BB guns, two swords and one battle axe.

“Each year, there are thousands of gun-related deaths and many gun related injuries in the United States,” the Director of Public Safety, Health and Welfare, Thaddeus Jankowski said. “This program advances our local efforts here in Stamford to prevent the result of gun violence, injury and death.” 

The Gun Buy-Back Program, Ammunition and Violent Video game collection days will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Turn of River Fire Station, located at 268 Turn of River Road. The second will Saturday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chester Addison Community Center, at 245 Selleck St.

The department will accept operational and non-operational firearms, ammunition, carry cases and holsters and other dangerous weapons as well as violent video games. Gift cards will be given for operational firearms.


  • All firearms must be unloaded
  • Weapons should be transported in a vehicle’s trunk
  • If carrying by hand, place the firearm in a bag or a box
  • Ammunitions should be transported in a container separate from any firearm
  • The program is open to both Stamford residents and non-residents
  • Businesses & Gun Dealers do not qualify
  • Firearms considered to be junk will not be accepted


Newtown Residents to Decide Future of Sandy Hook Elementary


Residents of Newtown will be deciding whether to tear down Sandy Hook Elementary School or remodel the building and a public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday at Newtown High School.

About 200 people attended a hearing last Sunday and their ideas were mixed about what should be done with the school where 20 first graders and six staff members were killed.

Town leaders hope to reach a decision by the spring.

While the town is deciding on the future of the school, the board of education approved two large donations to the Newtown School System on Thursday night.

One of them would install 30 security cameras at the temporary Sandy Hook Elementary School, which is located at the former Chalk Hill Middle School in Monroe.


Photo Credit: Getty Images for Tim Hayes

Algae Puts 150 School Buses Out of Service


First Student has taken 150 buses from its lot in East Hartford out of service after a diagnostic maintenance check on Thursday revealed algae clogging a bus' fuel filter, according to a statement from the bus company.

First Student said a maintenance team worked through the night, checking each bus at the East Hartford location.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to pull all 150 East Hartford lot buses from service today to ensure the safety of the students. A clogged fuel filter can cause a bus to stop without warning. “
The company brought in buses from other locations, but there were delays in service this morning, according to the bus company.

Pathways Academy of Technology and Design Magnet High School, based in Windsor,  posted on its web site that it is closed as a result of a problem with transportation.

“Unfortunately, due to a transportation problem, school will be closed,” the school posted on its Web site.

First Students said the fuel vendor will be on site today, cleaning and treating the fuel storage tank.

“We will also replace the fuel filters on every bus and treat each gas tank. We hope to run normal bus service this afternoon and will keep our partners at CREC informed, Jen Biddinger, spokesperson for First Student, said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience. “


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bieber Makes Sandy Hook Promise


Celebrities are joining Newtown residents in making the “Sandy Hook Promise” to do all they can to support “common-sense solutions” to make communities and this country safer.

“Today, people in Newtown are making the #sandyhookpromise to reduce gun violence. Sign the pledge with me at http://www.sandyhookpromise.org” Justin Bieber Tweeted on Friday afternoon.

More than 100,000 people have made the Sandy Hook Promise, including Kim Kardashian, who took the pledge and posted on her Facebook page on Tuesday.

Newtown residents announced the anti-violence initiative on Monday, exactly one month after Adam Lanza went on a rampage inside Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first graders and six staff members before killing himself.

Families of the victims spoke at the news conference and about how they want their community to be thought of not as a place grieving from loss, but as the center of a national movement for change.

Newtown High School students made the Sandy Hook Promise and recorded a video of it, which you can watch here.

Photo Credit: Twitter

7-Year-Old Charged With Threatening Teacher: Cops


A 7-year-old student at Sayles Elementary School in Norwich was arrested after police said the child threatened a teacher.

A resident state trooper responded to the school on Monday after receiving a report that the student made a verbal threat to harm the teacher.

"It was reported to the resident trooper and the resident trooper responded, investigated the situation, and felt that it warranted referral to the juvenile court system for this child," Lt. Paul Vance said. "It's important to note that anytime a threat takes place, regardless of the age of the person responsible, they are taken very seriously.

Edmund Senesac, the Superintendent of Schools, sent an email to parents Friday.

"We would like to assure you that no other students were involved in this incident, no weapons were involved, and student and staff safety was never an issue," Senesac said.

The superintendent said he did not notify parents about the situation earlier in the week because the situation did not affect the safety of students or staff. He sent the email Friday after details on the incident became public.

The child's parents were called to the school Monday and the child was turned over to them.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Jets Have Found Their General Manager


The kinda long, mostly localized nightmare is over. 

After weeks of sifting through candidates who either passed on the job or didn't meet the standards of what the Jets believed they were looking for, the Jets have settled on a new general manager. The Jets announced Friday that they are hiring Seahawks vice president of football administration John Idzik to replace the departed Mike Tannenbaum. 

If that title sounds vaguely like a gussied-up description of a bean counter, you're not far off. Idzik's responsibilities with the Seahawks include working on contracts, setting the football operations budgets and dealing with the salary cap. 

While the Seahawks say he also plays a role in player personnel decisions, it certainly seems like the Jets have hired a guy whose specialty is on the business side of the job. It's a curious decision since the Jets just fired a guy like that and have a roster that's desperately in need of someone who can look under every rock to find talent. 

Idzik may wind up being that guy as he has filled a variety of roles in front offices over the course of his career, but it certainly seems like the Jets have opted to double down on Rex Ryan with this hire. Woody Johnson made keeping him as head coach a condition of taking the general manager job and Idzik's background is not the talent guru one that will be providing the players and telling Ryan to coach them. 

What's more, the Jets have also been conducting offensive coordinator interviews without having a G.M. in place. While a coach naturally has say in who will be on his staff, it sends a curious message about the direction of the franchise that there isn't an overall football braintrust working together to make these kinds of decisions. 

There's a report that former Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg will get that job with the Jets, which would mean a move toward the West Coast offense and away from whatever you want to call the dumpster fire that Tony Sparano ran this season. Mornhinweg's run in Philly didn't draw a ton of raves and that was with a lot more talent at his disposal than he'll have with the Jets. 

On paper, it all pretty much adds up to rearranging the furniture that was already in the room. It's going to take a lot more than that to fix the Jets so they'd better hope that the paper read on this move is incorrect. 

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Drug Cash Might Have Funded Priest's Sex Shop: Cops


The criminal complaint for a former Bridgeport priest charged in a federal crystal meth case gives a more in-depth look at what he is accused of.

According to court documents, Msg. Kevin Wallin, 61, had a crystal meth addiction and sold the drug out of his Waterbury apartment as well as the parking lot of Land of Oz in North Haven, an adult specialty store and smoke shop, which he bought in the fall. 

Investigators believe that Wallin bought the store with drug proceeds and might have intended to use it to launder drug money, according to the complaint.

Drug Enforcement Agents in New Haven started investigating in July 2012 after New York drug investigators contacted them to look into a Connecticut-based drug trafficker distributing crystal meth in the Tri-state are.

In September, New York authorities again contacted local officials and identified Wallin as a suspect in the distribution ring.

Between September 2012 and January 2013, an undercover officer bought crystal meth from Wallin six times, according to federal officials, and determined that Wallin sold drugs to users as well as distributors.

The documents released on Thursday state that the priest had a large resealable bag filled with crystal meth,  a safe in his apartment that contained a large quantity and cash and drug packaging materials that included color-coded reseal able bags.

Officials also charged Kenneth Devries, 52, of Waterbury, with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

Devries lived in an apartment in the same building as Wallin. According to court documents, Wallin paid his rent and the man would allegedly run the drug operation when Wallin was away.   

Officials also charged Michael Nelson, 40, from Manchester; Chad McCluskey, 43, from San Clemente, Calif.; and Kristen Laschober, 47, from Laguna Niguel, California.

McCluskey and Laschober are accused of supplying the drugs to Wallin and court documents indicate that almost $20,000 worth of crystal meth passed between then between August and December.    

The complaint also mentions time that Wallin spent in drug rehabilitation in the fall of 2012 after his employer ordered in.

Wallin resigned as pastor of Bridgeport's St. Augustine Parish in June 2011 after nine years.
According to the Diocese of Bridgeport, Wallin, told parishioners "that he was struggling with a number of health and personal issues" and he was granted a sabbatical.

"During his sabbatical, the Diocese became concerned about Msgr. Wallin's well-being and have continued to reach out to him," the Diocese wrote in a statement. "To date, he has not spoken directly with diocesan officials."


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lieberman to Help Oversee Sandy Hook Fund


Former Senator Joseph Lieberman has been picked to help oversee the millions of dollars donated to the Sandy Hook Support Fund.

“I can’t think of anything worse that’s happened in my life in Connecticut, than the murders that occurred at Sandy Hook,” Lieberman said Friday.

A transition team managing the fund asked Lieberman to help advise them in the distribution of the $8.5 million in donations that have been collected since the shooting on Dec. 14.

“I felt a sense of duty,” Lieberman said.

A foundation is being formed and the transition team hopes to start distributing the money as soon as that happens.

“Hopefully quickly. That’s the intent,” said Kim Morgan, a member of the fund's transition team.

Not everyone agrees on how the money should be spent. Some believe it should go towards a memorial, others want it to be spent on scholarships for the students who survived. Sen. Lieberman said it will be a transparent process, with lots of input from the public.

“The community decides how to spend this money, and what else to do to respond to the tragedy,” Lieberman said. “This community will grow stronger in response to this loss.”

Another fund was set up by the United Way of Western Connecticut, to help families of the victims.

Stratford Teen Arrested After Newtown-Type Threat: Cops


An 18-year-old Stratford boy was arrested after threatening a Newtown-type incident at Cooperative Educational Services in Trumbull when he was being expelled on Friday morning, according to police.

Police were called to Cooperative Educational Services, at 25 Oakview Drive in Trumbull, at 10:03 a.m. to respond to a threatening complaint.

Staff members said the student, James Patrick Ryan, 18, of Stratford, was being told he could no longer return there, police said. 

His mother had arrived to take him home and as he was leaving, he made a threat to return to the school in a manner similar to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last month, according to police, where 20 first graders and six staff members were killed during a shooting rampage.   

Police were immediately assigned to the Cooperative Educational Services’ two locations and detectives immediately prepared a search warrant for both the suspect and any weapons, police said.

The warrant was served in Stratford with the assistance of Stratford Police and was accomplished without incident.

Ryan was charged with threatening in the second degree and breach of peace in the second degree.

He was detained on a $25,000 bond and is due in court on Jan. 28.


Woman Hospitalized After Being Struck by Car


A woman is in critical condition after a car struck her while she was crossing the street in Hartford Friday evening, according to police.

Authorities said the 23-year-old woman was crossing the intersection of Sigourney Street and Farmington Ave just before 6 p.m., when she was hit by a Pontiac Grand Prix.

After the car struck the woman, it hit the side of a Family Dollar Store, police said. No one in the store was injured.

The woman was taken to St. Francis Hospital. Police are not yet releasing any information regarding the driver.

Female Jogger Attacked at Norwich Park


Norwich Police are investigating after a 17-year-old girl was attacked while jogging Friday afternoon.

According to police, the girl told detectives she was jogging at Mohegan Park when a man in a black trench coat and white mask grabbed her.

She was able to get away, but not before the man exposed himself to her.

The suspect is described as a white male about 20 to 30 years-old, 5 feet and 8 inches tall, and thin build.

If you have any information regarding this incident, you are urged to contact the Norwich Police Department at 860-886-5561 or the Anonymous Tip Line at 860-886-5561, extension 500.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Debate Over Future of Sandy Hook Elementary



Town leaders in Newtown continue to hear from residents about what should become of the building where 20 children and six educators lost their lives in a mass shooting in December.

More than 100 people gathered inside Newtown High School on Friday night for the second public hearing on the topic. Some in the crowd voiced their opinions on what they believe should happen to the Sandy Hook Elementary School building. Others watched and listened.

"I think that building should be a memorial. I don't think it should ever be a school again," said Josie Schmidt, a Newtown resident who is also a retired school teacher.

"I know what happened there. I see it. You cannot ask anyone to go back in there," said Todd Keeping, a Newtown resident and Monroe police officer who was at the school in the days after the tragedy.

Besides hearing from the public, town officials are also meeting privately with families of the victims and survivors. They're also meeting with teachers and staff.

"The decision makers should be the families. I think we all are entitled to our opinions but I think what they say should go," said Taylor Ansbro of Newtown.

One staff member, library clerk Mary Ann Jacob, spoke during the meeting. She was inside the school when the shooting happened. "I'll be there wherever it is because it's important to me to help the rest of the children in this community heal," said Jacob.

A recommendation on what to do with the building could come by spring, according to town officials.

"We are Sandy Hook School and we choose love," said Jacob to heavy applause from the audience.

For now, Sandy Hook children are learning at the former Chalk Hill school in Monroe where they're expected to remain through next school year, according to First Selectman Patricia Llodra.

As they weigh options for the future, splitting the children up into different schools around Newtown is not one that's under consideration, said Llodra and other officials.

Culture of Violence Must Change, Says Martin Luther King III


He looks, and sounds, a lot like his father.

"Even in life if it follows your lot to be a street sweeper, why, go on and sweep streets like Michelangelo carved marble,” Martin Luther King III said.

He was the guest speaker Friday at an inspirational breakfast meeting of the YMCA of Broward County, Florida – just days before the national holiday marking Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

The civil rights leader was gunned down in 1968, when his son was just 10 years old. King III has dedicated his life to spreading his father's message of peace, love and equality.

The 500 people at the event at First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale clung to his words – about how each American must have justice, health care and a home, and every child a great education.

King III pointed out that we live in a culture of violence – and said it is vital that we change that soon.

"My dad was trying to teach us not just about a culture of non-violence. Not only was he teaching us, but he lived that way. He taught us how to turn the other cheek,” he said. “And in Birmingham in '63 – he was arrested over 39 times, and whenever he was arrested if you think about it, he and his team transformed our nation and it reverberates throughout our world, without using a gun, or a stick or a brick. But with the power of love and forgiveness."

Attendee Will Davies said King III’s appearance “was really quite a moment."

"He was every bit the inspiration we'd hoped and he talked about the challenges we have, but more importantly how we can deal with them together. And the legacy of his father,” Davies said.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Miami Police Officer Convicted of Stealing from Dealers


A Miami police sergeant who authorities say planted cocaine on a suspect and stole drugs and money from dealers has been convicted of civil rights violations, narcotics distribution conspiracy and obstruction of justice, the United States Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Raul Iglesias, 40, who was with the Miami Police Department for 18 years, was found guilty by a jury after a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga, the Attorney’s Office said.

“A law enforcement badge brings with it privileges and responsibilities,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said in a statement. “Although it bestows on the bearer the trust and respect of the community, the bearer is expected to preserve that trust through his actions: by following the law, doing what is right, and seeking to do justice.”

Ferrer said that Iglesias “did just the opposite: he broke the law by planting drugs on a private citizen, distributing drugs, obstructing justice, and making false statements.” 

Iglesias ran the Central District’s Crime Suppression unit, which targeted drug traffickers. Rick Diaz, the attorney who represented Iglesias, had defended his client, accusing undercover detectives and FBI agents of setting up Iglesias by planting incriminating evidence on him in a sting.

An indictment cited at least four dates when Iglesias allegedly stole or planted drugs, or lied to investigators. One date was Jan. 27, 2010, when Iglesias allegedly ordered two of his officers to search a man, and when no drugs were found, Iglesias allegedly asked his officers for some “throw-down dope” to plant on the man.

Iglesias was convicted of eight counts, including two civil rights violations, conspiracy to possess and possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, obstruction of justice and making false official statements, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.  

Iglesias’ sentencing is scheduled for March 28. He faces a maximum of up to 20 years in prison.

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Bristol Walgreens Robbed



Bristol Police are searching for a man who robbed a Walgreens store then fled on foot on Friday night.
Police responded to the Walgreens, 535 Farmington Ave., around 9:30 p.m. for a report of a robbery.
When they arrived, they learned that a white male had entered the store and engaged the cashier in conversation.
He told the cashier that he had a gun and demanded she hand over the money in the cash register. The cashier was not injured.
The suspect, described as approximately 5’11”, 170 pounds with brown hair, then fled out the door and was last seen running across Farmington Ave. towards the Whole Donut.
The suspect is also described as wearing a dark blue puffy jacket, a dark-colored baseball cap, gray hooded sweatshirt, light jeans and white sneakers.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Bristol Police Officer Brian Jones at 860-584-3011.


Photo Credit: Getty Images
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