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Amtrak Rolls Back Refund Policy


The refund train is leaving the station.

Amtrak is putting the brakes on a ticket refund policy that allows certain "no show" passengers on the rail system to get their money back if they miss their train with little to no notice.

Riders who purchase "Value fare" tickets will have to cancel their reservation within 24 hours of the departure time to qualify for a refund under a new policy posted to the passenger rail system's website this week.

Amtrak spokesman Clifford Cole said the change, announced Monday, "is being driven by a need to better manage our inventory and to be able to provide seats for customers who need to purchase at the last minute."

"We believe that by encouraging customers to let us know in advance that they are not going to travel on their scheduled train, we will be able to make more seats available for customers who need to purchase at the last minute." he wrote in an email.

"Flexible fare" tickets will continue to be fully refundable under the policy, which is set to take effect March 1, 2014. A third tier of low-cost tickets, known as "Saver fare," will remain ineligible for refunds.  

Under the old refund rule, passengers who canceled their "Value fare" ticket within 24 hours of departure or who failed to show up for a train could receive a refund worth the cost of the ticket after a 10 percent cancellation fee was deducted or an eVoucher for the full amount, Cole said.

The nationwide rail system serves an average of more than 85,000 passengers throughout the country each day.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article referenced a report containing an incomplete description of the old refund rule. The story has been updated with the full policy.

Photo Credit: Chris Van Horne

Tanker Flips, Spills Oil in Waterbury


Hamilton Avenue in Waterbury was closed around 6 p.m. on Tuesday so crews could clean up an oil spill caused by an overturned tanker truck.

The truck flipped on its side at Hamilton Avenue and Lake Pearl Road in Waterbury Tuesday afternoon and spilled between 100 and 150 gallons of oil, according to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The remaining oil was drained from the 3,000 gallon tanker and the truck was uprighted around 6 p.m., according to the DEEP.   They closed the road to clean up the oil that leaked from the truck.

Hamilton Avenue reopened around 8 p.m.

Police Charge ATV Rider With Inciting a Riot


Waterford police arrested a man on charges of inciting a riot in connection with an October incident involving ATVs and motorcycles in town.

Jon Collins was arrested on Monday.

According to police, Collins used social media to organize a "meet up" on Oct. 27, asking others to ride their off-road ATVs and motorcycles through the streets of New London and Waterford. Collins also posted "Can't catch me" in a message to officers, according to police.

Collins led a group of riders from New London into Waterford, and briefly led a Waterford police officer on a chase, before the officer ended the pursuit, police said.

The group of riders shoved a woman to the ground as they rode across her yard on their way to the old Waterford Airport property, according to police.

Collins is charged with inciting a riot, failure to obey the signal of an officer and operating an unregistered motor vehicle. He was released on a written promise to appear in court.

Photo Credit: Waterford Police

Route 44 on Avon Mountain Open Again


Route 44 over Avon Mountain reopened again after being closed twice Tuesday evening.

Police closed the road on both sides of the mountain because snow made conditions to hazardous to drive.

Police shut the road to traffic to bring plows in to try and clear snow from Avon Mountain.

Man Charged in NFL Coaches Hoax


A 32-year-old Los Angeles man who describes himself as a performer at "the new frontier of broadcast journalism" was charged Tuesday with illegally recording phone calls to professional and college athletic coaches.

Watch: Who Is Kenneth Tarr?

Kenneth Edward Tarr, arrested last week, is scheduled for arraignment Dec. 30. He is charged with a felony count of eavesdropping for allegedly recording phone conversations with the coaches while assuming the identity of representatives from other teams.

California law prohibits recording people without their consent.

Tarr, posing as a team representative, gauged the coaches' interest in managing other teams and, in at least one instance, offered a coach a head coaching position, according to prosecutors. He then posted some of the conversations online, according to investigators.

The victims included coaches from the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, Major League Baseball and university football programs. Tarr contacted University of Hawaii Coach Norm Chow, Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier and San Diego Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, NBC News reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation.

NBC football analyst and former NFL coach Tony Dungy also received a call from Tarr, who offered him the USC head coaching job, NBC News reported. Dungy discussed being contacted about the position during an appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show."

Former Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian accepted the job earlier this month.

In November, Tarr told NBC4's Fred Roggin he contacted Dungy several times and considered himself at "the new frontier of broadcast journalism and sports media and entertainment."

"Most people say they make prank phone calls, I do it," Tarr told Roggin. "I'm better at it than anyone else, and my career momentum is going forward."

If convicted, Tarr faces a maximum of three years in county jail.

LAX Shooter May Face Death Penalty


A man accused of killing a TSA officer in November in a shooting rampage at Los Angeles International Airport was indicted on Tuesday.

More Coverage: LAX Shooting | TSA Officer Coroner's Report | Timeline of Events

The indictment accuses Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, of the murder of a federal officer, attempted murder of a federal officer and allegations for the use of a gun at an airport.

Ciancia allegedly walked into the terminal the morning of Nov. 1, pulled a Smith & Wesson 5.56-mm M&P15 semiautomatic rifle out of a duffel bag and opened fire, court documents said.

TSA agent Gerardo Hernandez, a 39-year-old father of two, was fatally shot. TSA Officers Tony Grigsby and James Speer were wounded in the attack. A teacher was also wounded.

Ciancia was hospitalized after police shot him, but released into federal custody Nov. 19.

Ciancia was targeting TSA officers, court papers said. He allegedly had a signed note saying he wanted to kill TSA agents and "instill fear in their traitorous minds," authorities said.

Witnesses to the shooting said the gunman asked them whether they worked for the TSA, and if they said no, he moved on.

Read: Bill Proposes Gun Ban at Airports | TSA Officer Had "Warm Smile"

He was also charged with committing acts of violence at an international airport, one count of using a firearm to commit murder, three counts of brandishing and discharging a firearm.

The charges carry a possible death sentence, although federal prosecutors say they have not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty.

Photo Credit: FBI

2 Hurt in Tanker Crash, Fire: Cops


A tanker carrying thousands of gallons of fuel overturned and burst into flames on a Long Island highway just before midnight Tuesday, causing two injuries and an inferno that charred several cars, damaged four homes and a Harley-Davidson dealership, Nassau County authorities say.

The tanker was traveling east on Sunrise Highway in Bellmore when it rear-ended another vehicle at a stop light, Nassau County police say. After the collision, the tanker turned on its side and spilled fuel as it skidded down Sunrise Highway before coming to a stop at Brevoort Place.

About 7,000 of the tanker's 12,000 gallons of fuel spilled out, authorities say. The fuel fed a large fire that melted vinyl siding off of homes, caused damage to a nearby Harley-Davidson dealership and engulfed several parked cars in flames. 

Crews fought the blaze for about 90 minutes before knocking the fire down. Afterward, efforts turned to cleaning spilled fuel.  The company that owns the tanker also came to the scene to recover the fuel that remained in the truck.

The drivers of the tanker and the other vehicle were both taken to the hospital, where they were treated for minor injuries.

Two adults and seven children were also displaced in the fire, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said. In all, three homes were evacuated in the blaze.

"Seriously could have been a lot worse here," Mangano said. "Averted a major disaster."

All lanes on the highway were closed for several hours Wednesday morning.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation, Nassau County police spokesman Kenneth Lack said, but it does not appear that black ice or other environmental factors were factors.

L+M Hospital to End Lockout Against Nurses


Lawrence and Memorial Hospital announced on Tuesday it will end the lockout against nurses and technicians after a three-month negotiation to reach a new contract agreement failed.

Around 800 employees went on strike on Nov. 27, accusing the New London hospital of laying off union workers and shifting work from Lawrence and Memorial to shell corporations that operate clinics outside of the hospital setting.

The strike lasted four days, but hospital administrators locked out striking workers, with the stipulation they would not be allowed to return to work until the union agreed to a new contract.

That changed on Tuesday night when marathon negotiations failed and the hospital and the union could not reach a mutual agreement on a new contract.

"I made the decision to have the Hospital unilaterally lift the lockout of our RNs and LPN/techs effective at 6:45 a.m. Thursday, December 19," said Bruce Cummings, president and CEO of Lawrence and Memorial Hospital. "We want our staff back doing what they do best and for which they are so needed: caring for patients and serving the community."

Lawrence and Memorial offered the union a last contract offer on Sunday and Cummings said he hopes the union membership will vote to ratify it. Until the, the hospital will abide by the terms of the prior contract, he said.

"In the absence of a definitive new contract, we believe the decision to unilaterally lift the lockout and warmly welcome all staff back is the best gesture we can make during this holiday season both for those who left, as well as those who remained." Cummings said.

Massachusetts Amber Alert Ends In CT


An Amber Alert that began in Massachusetts ended safely tonight in Milford.

Massachusetts State Police issued an Amber Alert for Thomas Woods, 21 months, after his mother told local officers that her son was not returned home by his biological father after a scheduled visit.

Ryan Woods, the father, picked  up his son at 11:00 a .m. Woods was supposed to bring Thomas home at 5 p.m.

Family members and friends told police that Woods, 30, may be suffering from depression. They also said that he left the home without any shoes or winter clothing for the child.

Woods walked in to a hospital in Milford with the child, who was unharmed, very shortly after the alert was issued.

Woods is in custody. He will be brought back to Massachusetts where he will be charged with reckless endangerment and larceny of a motor vehicle.




Man Burned Estranged Wife With Oil: Police


West Haven police have arrested a local man suspected of severely burning his estranged wife with hot oil.

State police reached out to West Haven police just before 5 a.m. after a teenager called 911 and said someone had just killed his mom, police said.

When West Haven police arrived at the Canton Street home, they smelled burning oil inside the apartment and found a 41-year-old woman suffering from severe burns to her upper torso.

Members of the West Haven Fire Department treated the victim at the scene and she was rushed to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit.

The victim’s teenage children told investigators that their mother and father had separated in the past year, but she had decided to sleep over last night to visit with her children.

This morning, Mohammad Chaudhry, 51, entered the room the woman was sleeping, police said. The teens soon heard their mother screaming in pain and rushed to help and found that Chaudhry had thrown hot oil onto their mother before running from the apartment, police said. 

Police apprehended Chaudhry nearby and said charges are pending.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Highland Park Elementary School in Manchester Closed


Highland Park Elementary School in Manchester is closed today because it does not have heat.

Many other schools across the state are opening late because of the storm yesterday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bridgeport Police Investigating Shooting, Attempted Robbery


Bridgeport police are asking for the public’s help to identify two people in connection with a shooting  and attempted armed robbery.

Police said the owner of S&K Grocery, at 856 Fairfield Avenue, was shot once in the leg during the attempted armed robbery last night.

Authorities believe the female lured the clerk from behind the counter. No money was taken.

Anyone with information about these people should call Detective Michael Fiumidinisi, of the robbery squad, at 203-581-5246.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police

School Bus Involved in Crash in East Windsor


A school bus and a truck collided at Windsorville Road and Chamberlain Road in East Windsor.

No children who were on the bus were hurt, but the driver of the truck suffered minor injuries.

The road is open.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Windsor Locks Plaza Being Evacuated


Dexter Shopping Plaza, at 20 Main St. in Windsor Locks, is being evacuated because of a strong odor of gas.

No additional information was immediately available.

Police Investigate Gas Station Robberies in Cromwell, Rocky Hill


Police in Cromwell and Rocky Hill are investigating two separate robberies at local gas stations early this morning.

Two men robbed the Sunoco Gas Station at 115 Berlin Road in Cromwell just after 3 a.m., according to police.

One of the men had a gun and ordered the employee to open the cash register and remove money, police said.
The employee did what the robbers asked and was not hurt.

At 3:30 a.m., two men with guns robbed the Shell gas station on the Silas Dean Highway in Rocky Hill. The gas station is near exit 24 of Interstate 91 North. No injuries are reported in that robbery.
Police said they are looking for a red Honda Accord.

One of the men in the Cromwell robbery is between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-8 and has a medium build.
A mask covered his face and he was wearing black plants, a black coat, tan work boots, black gloves and a black hat.

The other man is between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-6, with a medium build. A black mask covered his face and he was wearing blue jeans, a black hooded coat, dark brown boots and black gloves.
Police do not know which direction the men went after the robbery.

No additional description was available in the Rocky Hill robbery.

Cromwell police ask anyone with information about the robbery to call 860-635-2256.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire Damages Hartford Home


More than a dozen people are displaced after fire swept through a multi-family home on Edgewood Street in Hartford.

The fire started on the first floor and quickly spread to the second and third floors, melting the siding as it burned .

Everyone got out OK and no serious injuries are reported, but 15 to 16 people from three families are without a place to live after the blaze gutted their home.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Car Rollover Causing Congestion on Route 9


Route 9 in backed up in both directions after a car rolled over on the Southbound side of the near exit 20.

The person in the car that rolled over does not appear to be injured, according to state police.

Expect delays.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Holiday Cards Go Viral


Does sending a Hallmark greeting card or a family photo in matching sweaters this holiday feel a bit dated? You may want to take cues from families who thought outside the box this season and made some unconventional Christmas cards.

The Holderness family of Raleigh, N.C., created a video card, called “Christmas Jammies,” complete with its own hashtag, #XMASJAMMIES, that has gone viral. The video is set to Will Smith’s “Miami” and features the family of four-- dad Penn, wife Kim, six-year-old daughter Lola, and 4-year-old son Penn Charles-- wearing matching pajamas and rapping about each family member’s individual accomplishments this past year.

There are usual updates – new family car, mom and daughter competing in a triathlon, son playing an Indian chief in a recital – but personal details make the cut too.

“There’s room for child number three,” Penn sings, pointing to a stroller. “But I can’t. I just had a vasectomy.”

Penn, who has worked as an anchor for WNCN, also announces mid-video that he’s quitting his job to launch a new marketing and media company with his wife, who has experience in the entertainment industry.

“Going to quit his job and come work with his wife,” Kim raps.

The video now leads the family's new media site.

The Holdernesses are not the only ones showing off their Christmas spirit in a quirky way. A family in Marshfield, Wis., decided to recreate the nativity scene for their Christmas card. Their version included the family dogs, a llama and a cow.

On Thanksgiving, the Bymers dressed up as angels, shepherds, wise men, and Mary and Joseph and used sheets from a thrift store, Halloween angel wings and aluminum foil for their costumes, according to WAOW.com.

Nancy Bymers said she hoped the family card reminded people of two things that matter the most during the Holidays: family and the true meaning of Christmas.

But what kind of card should you send if your loved one didn't celebrate Christmas? One couple found a perfect solution.

Photographers Scott Burry and Dani Vernon have been dating for four years and decided that it’s time to send out their first holiday card as a couple. Burry celebrates Christmas while Dani celebrates Hanukkah, so for their card they turned their studio into a half-Christmas, half-Hanukkah scene. The quirky card idea went viral.

“We really did it to have some fun with our family and friends,” Burry said. “It shows that we both come from different backgrounds, but in the end, we celebrate the holiday season together with our families and enjoy the traditions on both sides.”

Another holiday card going viral this year is from JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. The card includes a panoramic view with Dimon, his wife and three daughters, a dog and a young man playing indoor tennis in an opulent apartment. It comes after the Wall Street bank resolved its impasse with the U.S. government, after incurring a huge fine.

"All you need is love" reads the back of Dimon's card, according to Quartz.

But no one does a more over the top Christmas card than the Kardashian-Jenner clan. For years the family has dressed up in coordinating designer duds and struck fierce poses in one glamorous shot.

This year’s card, however, has an odd Casino Hollywood-theme and was missing Rob Kardashian, Scott Disick as well as Khloe’s soon to be ex-husband Lamar Odom. Kim’s fiancé Kanye West and their daughter North were not included either. Bruce Jenner, who is now separated from momager Kris, appears trapped in a glass case. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Vetta

Milford Police Arrest Bank Robbery Suspects


Milford police have arrested two Bridgeport men accused of robbing a local Wells Fargo bank yesterday.

The robbery occurred at the 215 Cherry Street branch at 10:48 a.m., police said.

Bank representatives told police that one man had a handgun and the other climbed over the counter and tried to take money from the cash drawers.

After discovering that the cash drawers were locked, the two men fled the bank in a gray Infinity SUV with Connecticut registration plate C61732, police said.

Milford Detectives saw the car traveling south on I-95 and enter Stratford, police said. They followed the car, vehicle which got off the highway in Stratford.

While the men were on Columbus Avenue, they saw a Stratford police cruiser and the passenger fled, police said.

The driver tried to elude police, but he was taken into custody in the 600 block of Columbus Avenue.

Police found the other subject inside a house in the 300 block of Columbus Avenue.

Both men were transported to the Milford Police Department for processing.

The two people were identified as Deveral Webley, 32, whose last known address was 126 Kossuth Street in Bridgeport, and Nathaniel Campbell, 27, whose last known address was 166 Lennox Ave. in Bridgeport.

Webley was charged with attempted robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, interfering with police, use of a firearm while committing a Class B felony and criminal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Campbell was charged with attempted robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree and interfering with police.

Both men were held on $500,000 bond and are expected to be arraigned in Milford Superior Court.

Southington School Evacuated


JFK Middle School in Southington is being evacuated because of a gas-related problem.

Crews are arriving at the scene.

No additional information is available.

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