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Dangerous Cold Grips Connecticut


Dangerously cold weather is settling in over Connecticut for the next couple of days.

Temperatures Wednesday morning hovored near zero and wind chills made it feel even colder. 

As the temperatures dropped, Gov. Dannel Malloy directed the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to coordinate with shelters throughout the state as well as the 211 helpline.

"The 2-1-1 system provides an incredibly important service to the people of Connecticut and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the help that is available to them," Malloy said. "I am also encouraging local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to help people in need."

The state has activated a web-based system that allows local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information on the cold weather. The system can also monitor capacity at shelters and enables the 2-1-1 call center to ensure shelter space for people who need it, according to the governor.

Warming centers were opened in some cities on Wednesday.

High temperatures did not climb out of the teens on Wednesday and Thursday was expected to be even colder, according to NBC Chief Meteorologist Brad Field.

Some areas in northern Connecticut could have actual temperatures below zero on Thursday morning, according to Field.

The week could end with a coastal winter storm. Connecticut could get a glancing blow from the storm Friday into Saturday.

See the forecast here.

Send your cold weather photos here.

Photo Credit: Amanda Kennedy

3 Treated After Plane Crash in Danbury


Three passengers onboard a plane that crashed in Danbury on Tuesday have all walked away without serious injuries, according to officials.

A plane coming from Groton crashed on South Street in Danbury around 7:30 p.m.

Some type of chute was used to help bring it down slowly after a mechanical problem.

Officials at the scene said that the pilot is a licensed instructor who was giving a lesson to a student. A friend of the student was also onboard.

All three were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

According to the FAA registry website, the plane is a Cirrus Aircraft that can seat up to four people and carry a maximum weight of 12,499 pounds.

Connecticut Light & Power reported about 1,020 power outages in the area right as a result of the crash. A

representative with the company said they had to turn off the power while the plane's parachute was being removed from wires. Power was restored within the hour.

Photo Credit: Mark Hahn, NBC Connecticut

Inaugural Ball Benefits Staffer Who Died During Campaign


Though most of the inaugural events are now recent memories, there was at least one more important presidential ball on Tuesday, the proceeds of which benefit an Obama staffer who died during the campaign.

Alex Okrent, 29, died in July after collapsing at President Barack Obama's 2012 headquarters in Chicago. He worked in the campaign's paid media department, which handles advertising. He'd been with Obama since 2004, working as a field organizer in the campaign for the U.S. Senate and then for the 2008 presidential campaign.

Tickets to Tuesday night's Staff Ball at the Washington Convention Center were priced at $10 apiece. Obama for America staff, White House and Administration Staff, as well as Presidential Inaugural Committee staff were invited.

Obama told the Thousands that they represent, in his words, his "deepest hopes for America." He said he knows the nation's future is in good hands. The first lady, wearing a silver and black ensemble, echoed the president's campaign-year chant of "fired up, ready to go."
Singers Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga performed.  The pop star noted the event on Twitter, with a simple post that read, '#whitehausball."

The president and first lady started the tradition of the Staff Ball in 2009 as a way to express gratitude to their staff and celebrate with them.

Dallas Cowboy Jay Ratliff Arrested on Suspicion of DUI


A Dallas Cowboys player was arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving in Grapevine, Texas, on Monday night.

Defense lineman Jay Ratliff was arrested after he collided with an 18-wheeler.

A Grapevine police officer told NBC 5 DFW that Ratliff did not even realize he had caused a wreck when officers questioned him at the crash scene.

"He had no idea how the crash occurred, and so I would just leave it at that," Senior Police Officer Sam Shemwell said.

Shemwell said Ratliff knew he had been involved in a crash but didn't know what had caused it.

Police said Ratliff refused sobriety tests at the scene and was arrested. Police obtained a search warrant, and he was taken to a hospital for a mandatory blood draw.

The results of the test are pending.

Ratliff was released on $500 bail on Tuesday morning.

The driver of the 18-wheeler was not injured, Grapevine police said. Ratliff, who was driving a Ford pickup truck, complained of minor injuries but refused medical treatment, police said.

The Dallas Cowboys declined to comment on Ratliff's arrest.

Ratliff is the second Cowboy to be arrested in a drunken-driving crash since December. Josh Brent, who replaced Ratliff on the field because of an injury, was arrested Dec. 8 on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter in a one-car crash that killed Cowboys practice-squad member Jerry Brown Jr. He was indicted later last month.

Photo Credit: Grapevine Police

No Fire at Hebron Elementary School


State police said they received multiple calls on Wednesday reporting smoke coming from Hebron Elementary School, but fire officials said a furnace backfired, causing false reports of smoke in the building.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

LAPD Puts Celebrity "Swatters" On Notice


After a string of emergency calls to celebrities’ homes which turned out to be fake, the Los Angeles police department is changing how it deals with people who prompt the so-called “swatting,” when swarms of SWAT officers descend on a home.

The LAPD on Monday responded to a report of domestic violence and a possible shooting at the home of singer Chris Brown, but it was a hoax. And last Friday, police received a call about a possible shooting at the home of Kim Kardashian's mother, Kris Jenner. A SWAT team and three helicopters responded, but the 911 call was bogus.

"You're really hurting our city," LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman said, referring to the so-called swatters.

The LAPD told NBC4 Southern California they are getting savvier about swatters and more serious about the consequences.

The department will ask the city attorney to pursue felony charges. And because calling out several officers, paramedics and airships to non-emergencies adds up, they’ll also seek compensation from swatters.

"Depending how long that incident continues, you could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars," Neiman said.

The LAPD is still going to be there when needed, so even if the calls turn out to be fake, they’ll treat every report with the same urgency.

"Our response is no different," Neiman said.

But celebrity swatters are on now on notice.

"They could be sitting behind, jail for a very long time," Neiman said, "if, tragically, somebody is seriously hurt or killed as a result of a swatting incident."

Private Company Aims to Mine Asteroids


Constantly basking in the sun’s energy, asteroids may be the future of alternative fuel, according to scientists who announced on Tuesday they’re creating a private company to mine these rocky, airless worlds that orbit our sun.

"Would you rather rip the heart out of a living mountain to get the metals you need, or go mine an asteroid that’s just a piece of dead rock that’s going to kill us if we don’t eat it?" said Rick Tumlinson, board chairman of Deep Space Industries.

Aside from reducing the threat of an impact with Earth, asteroid mining could harvest resources like hydrogen, oxygen, nickel and iron from these Near-Earth Objects. Scientists believe much of our planet's mineral riches arrived here via asteroids.

An international team of experts gathered on Tuesday at Santa Monica’s Museum of Flying to announce the creation of Deep Space Industries.

"We are anticipating if we build it, they will come," said John Mankins, chief technical officer at DSI.

Experts in space technology and exploration, founders of Deep Space Industries predict if they can get enough funding from corporate sponsors, they could launch three unmanned "Firefly" spacecraft in 2015 to prospect asteroids.

They’ll send up "Dragonfly" craft to bring samples back to earth within a year, and by 2020, they hope to build "Microgravity Foundries" – in space – which turn asteroid materials into complex metal parts.

Those foundries could eventually provide cheap fuel for communication satellites that are already in space. Floating solar-power plants that would beam energy to Earth, replacing coal and nuclear power, are also on Deep Space Industries’ wish list.

Rocky fragments left over from the formation of our solar system, asteroids can range in size from nearly 600 miles in diameter to less than a mile, according to NASA.

There are about half a million known asteroids. And because these so-called minor planets travel through space largely unchanged, they can give us a glimpse back in time 4.6 billion years to the early stages of our solar system.

Deep Space Industries’ headquarters will be in McClean, Va., but they’re considering building research and development facilities in Southern California because one of the founders already has a company that builds commercial space suits in North Hollywood.

DSI is the second private company to dream of mining asteroids. Last year, movie director James Cameron announced a similar plan with some big funders already in place.

Photo Credit: Deep Space Industries

Chicago Police Rescue Dog Trapped On Ice

After two hours trapped on the ice, a dog was rescued by Chicago Police on Jackson Park Harbor. This raw footage shows the final moments of the long rescue on the frozen Lake Michigan harbor.

Mourners Honor Joe Paterno, 1 Year After Death


Hundreds of candles created a dull glow at the base of the mural that contained a likeness of Joe Paterno, each flame flickering to commemorate the year since the death of Penn State's Hall of Fame coach.
Time hasn't erased the pain of supporters who feel Paterno's reputation has been unfairly sullied in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Paterno died of lung cancer Jan. 22, 2012, at age 85. At least 150 supporters attended the candlelight vigil Tuesday, the anniversary of his death, braving frigid conditions to pay tribute at the downtown mural just more than a block away from the Penn State campus.
"I definitely think that everything that has happened isn't at all indicative of the kind of man that he was," said Bridget Beromedi, 32, of State College, who wore a shirt with Paterno's image. She held up a sign that read "JoePa. Legends never die."

She added that Paterno's role in the scandal "got totally overblown because of his name. He got an unfair deal."
He died more than two months after being fired in the frantic days following the arrest of former assistant coach Sandusky in November 2011.
Organizers lit candles inside white or blue paper bags, many inscribed with handwritten messages from supporters. The gathering slowly broke up within 45 minutes after mural artist Michael Pilato thanked attendees, several of whom wore ``JVP'' buttons on their winter parkas.
Paterno's legacy remains a sensitive topic for groups of alumni, former players and residents. Some attendees, including Pilato, also said Paterno's role was sensationalized by media coverage and a rush to judgment.
A year ago, the campus was flooded with mourners. Commemorations were much smaller this year with temperatures in the teens and dropping.
A family spokesman said the Paternos didn't plan on attending public gatherings.
Earlier in the day, a makeshift sign on cardboard flapped in a cold wind at the spot where a bronze statue of Paterno used to stand.
"Joseph Paterno. Always remembered. Always a legend," read the sign attached to a tree with white wire. The statue remains safely stored in an undisclosed location, a university spokeswoman said.
Flowers and mementos were left by supporters at Paterno's gravesite. Supporters like Dan Hamm, a freshman from Williamsport, have said Paterno's 46-year career as a whole should be taken into consideration, including his focus on academics.

"We wanted to pay our respects. We wanted to celebrate who he was as a person," Hamm said after visiting Paterno's grave at a State College cemetery.
Then, nodding his head toward Paterno's adorned gravesite, Hamm said, "You can see here that Joe Paterno was Penn State, and Penn State will always be Joe Paterno."

Former FBI director Louis Freeh released findings July 12 in the school's internal investigation of the scandal. Freeh accused the coach and three former school administrators of covering up allegations against Sandusky.
The retired defensive coordinator has been sentenced to at least 30 years in prison after being convicted of 45 criminal counts. Prosecutors said the sexual abuse occurred off and on campus, including at the football facility. Sandusky has denied the allegations.

On July 22, Penn State removed Paterno's statue
, which was a gathering point for mourners last January. The next day, the NCAA reacted with uncharacteristic swiftness in levying strict sanctions including a four-year bowl ban, strict scholarship cuts and a $60 million fine.
Paterno was also stripped of 111 victories, meaning he no longer held the major college record of 409 career wins.
Penn State is still coping with the massive fallout from the scandal. On Tuesday, a young man who testified that Sandusky tickled and grabbed him in a campus shower sued the retired assistant coach, his charity and the university.
But Paterno's family and the three administrators have vehemently denied Freeh's allegations as well as suspicions they took part in a cover-up. Paterno's family has been planning what a spokesman has called a comprehensive response to Freeh's findings.
But on Tuesday, the family remained in private.
After visiting Paterno's grave with his friend Hamm, Nick Bucci said he felt his school handled the scandal well overall, given the extent of the fallout, with some exceptions.
Bucci said the school should honor Paterno someday -- but not without more perspective.
"A day like today, those emotions might be high," said Bucci, of Dayton, Md. "I don't think now is the time to do it. I think you have to wait."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Water Restored to Prospect Avenue Businesses


Water has been restored to several businesses in Hartford and West Hartford after a water main break on Wednesday morning.  

Prospect Avenue was closed between Park Road and Kane Street because of a break in an 8-inch main that was installed in 1964, according to the Metropolitan District Commission.

Water was out for more than a dozen businesses in Prospect Plaza and for businesses in Hartford that face Prospect Avenue, so restaurants had to close.

The temperature might have been a factor and water was freezing quickly on the road, requiring crews to respond to deal with the icing.

There was also a small water main break at Chandler and Dart streets in Hartford and crews are concerned about icing because of the intense cold.

Water was out for about 15 residences because of the Hartford incident.

"Dangerous Dog" Fee Controversy

One New Jersey town is considering a proposal that would increase the fee to have a so-called "dangerous dog" to $700 a year. Brian Thompson reports.

Sandy Hook Gunman Had 4 Guns: State Police


State police seized four guns when they responded to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December, according to state police.

Police released a news release on Tuesday, saying they provided details in news conferences but wanted to eliminate any confusion or misinformation.

Police said they found a Bushmaster .223 caliber model XM15-E2S rifle with high capacity 30 round clips, a Glock 10-mm handgun and a Sig-Sauer P226 9mm handgun inside the school.

Police identified Adam Lanza as the gunman who shot and killed 20 first graders and six staff members.

Police also searched Lanza’s car, which was
in parking lot, and found an Izhmash Canta-12  12-gauge shotgun.

Police continue to investigate the shooting.


ReWalk Exoskeleton System Helps Paralyzed Veterans

Theresa Hannigan is an Army veteran who uses the Re-walk Rehabilitation System, an exoskeleton for those whose lower limbs are paralyzed. The unique device is helping wounded vets find ways to walk again. NBC 7's Lea Sutton reports.

No End in Sight for Northeast's Brutal Cold Wave


The Northeast's brutal cold wave won't be ending anytime soon, forecasters say. The region was shivering Wednesday after a blast of Arctic air moved in from the Midwest, plunging millions from New England to the nation's capital into a deep freeze and dumping snow along the Great Lakes.

Washington, D.C., was facing what could prove its coldest stretch in almost a decade, the chief meteorologist for NBC Washington's Storm Team 4 said, with Wednesday morning temperatures between 10 and 17 degrees, although they felt like subzero ones.

For full U.S. news coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

One utility worker in nearby Gaithersburg, Md., had to be rescued from atop a 200-foot cell phone tower after he became too cold to get down safely, NBC Washington reported.

"I think I have on like 10 layers of clothes. It's so cold here! It's freezing!" tourist Jackie Stewart told NBC Washington.

"It's been bad," cleaning supplies worker Ricardo Rivera of Bethlehem, Pa., told NBC10 Philadelphia, showing an ice-filled spray bottle. "All the chemicals are freezing."

Further north along the East Coast, the New York City area got some of its coldest air in two years, with subzero wind chills shocking New Yorkers who had been treated to a relatively mild winter until now, NBC New York's Storm Team 4 reported.

Northern Maine saw temperatures as low as 36 below zero on Wednesday, and the Bangor Daily News reported that the chill would make for a 75-degree drop from the record highs the Pine Tree State enjoyed last week.

In Chicago, amid dangerously low temperatures, an abandoned warehouse was coated in ice Wednesday morning after firefighters put out a massive five-alarm fire there, NBC Chicago reported. The Windy City saw its coldest day in years Tuesday with wind chills dropping to 20 below.

Northern Minnesota saw temperatures as low as 35 degrees below zero on Tuesday, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin experienced even colder wind chills, meteorologist Jeff Masters wrote on his WunderBlog.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service warned that the shores of the Great Lakes, from Ohio to western New York state, could soon have to dig out from massive lake effect snowfall expected Wednesday. Contributing to the sheer amount of snow were the Great Lakes' near-record warm water temperatures, according to WunderBlog.

In New York City, forecasters said the peak of the cold wave had hit overnight Tuesday, when the mercury dropped to the lower single digits. But the stinging wind chills throughout the region were expected to last all week.

In Connecticut, daily highs were not expected to break out of the teens Wednesday and Thursday, while overnight temperatures could feel subzero, according to NBC Connecticut's meteorologist.

The below-freezing chill in Washington was forecast to stick around several days, too — possibly through the weekend, forecasters said. Light snow could follow in the capital, too, according to NBC Washington's Storm Team 4.

A coastal winter storm was expected to hit the New York area and New England late in the week.

Photo Credit: AP

Hillary Clinton's Testimony to Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Prepared Text


Here is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's prepared testimony as prepared for delivery to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she faced questions over the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya

Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity.

The terrorist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 that claimed the lives of four brave Americans -- Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Tyrone Woods, and Glen Doherty -- are part of a broader strategic challenge to the United States and our partners in North Africa. Today, I want to offer some context for this challenge and share what we've learned, how we are protecting our people, and where we can work together to honor our fallen colleagues and continue to champion America's interests and values.

Any clear-eyed examination of this matter must begin with this sobering fact: Since 1988, there have been 19 Accountability Review Boards investigating attacks on American diplomats and their facilities. Benghazi joins a long list of tragedies, for our Department and for other agencies: hostages taken in Tehran in 1979, our embassy and Marine barracks bombed in Beirut in 1983, Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in 1996, our embassies in East Africa in 1998, consulate staff murdered in Jeddah in 2004, the Khost attack in 2009, and too many others.

Of course, the list of attacks foiled, crises averted, and lives saved is even longer. We should never forget that our security professionals get it right 99 percent of the time, against difficult odds all over the world. That's why, like my predecessors, I trust them with my life.

Let's also remember that administrations of both parties, in partnership with Congress, have made concerted and good faith efforts to learn from the tragedies that have occurred, to implement recommendations from the Review Boards, to seek necessary resources, and to better protect our people from constantly evolving threats. That's what the men and women who serve our country deserve. And it's what we are doing again now, with your help. As Secretary, I have had no higher priority, and no greater responsibility.

As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility. Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.

Taking responsibility meant moving quickly in those first uncertain hours and days to respond to the immediate crisis and further protect our people and posts in high-threat areas across the region and the world. It meant launching an independent investigation to determine exactly what happened in Benghazi and to recommend steps for improvement. And it meant intensifying our efforts to combat terrorism and support emerging democracies in North Africa and beyond.

Let me share some of the lessons we have learned, the steps we have taken, and the work we continue to do.

First, let's start on the night of September 11 itself and those difficult early days. I directed our response from the State Department and stayed in close contact with officials from across our government and the Libyan government. So I saw first-hand what Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen called "timely" and "exceptional" coordination. No delays in decision-making. No denials of support from Washington or from the military. And I want to echo the Review Board's praise for the valor and courage of our people on the ground - especially the security professionals in Benghazi and Tripoli. The Board said our response saved American lives in real time - and it did.

The very next morning, I told the American people that "heavily armed militants assaulted our compound" and vowed to bring them to justice. And I stood with President Obama as he spoke of "an act of terror."

You may recall that in that same period, we also saw violent attacks on our embassies in Cairo, Sanaa, Tunis, and Khartoum, as well as large protests outside many other posts where thousands of our diplomats serve.

So I immediately ordered a review of our security posture around the world, with particular scrutiny for high-threat posts. We asked the Department of Defense to join Interagency Security Assessment Teams and to dispatch hundreds of additional Marine Security Guards. I named the first Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for High Threat Posts, so Missions in dangerous places get the attention they need. And we reached out to Congress to help address physical vulnerabilities, including risks from fire, and to hire additional Diplomatic Security personnel.

Second, even as we took these steps, I also appointed the Accountability Review Board led by Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen so that we could more fully understand what went wrong and how to fix it.

I have accepted every one of their recommendations -- and I asked the Deputy Secretary for Management and Resources to lead a task force to ensure that all 29 of them are implemented quickly and completely… as well as to pursue additional steps above and beyond those in the Board's report.

Because of the effort we began in the days after the attacks, work is already well underway. And, as I pledged in my letter to you last month, implementation has now begun on all 29 recommendations. Our task force started by translating the recommendations into 64 specific action items. All of these action items were assigned to specific bureaus and offices, with clear timelines for completion. Fully 85 percent are on track to be completed by the end of March, with a number completed already.

We are taking a top-to-bottom look, and rethinking how we make decisions on where, when, and how our people operate in high threat areas, and how we respond to threats and crises.

As part of our effort to go above and beyond the Review Board's recommendations, we are initiating an annual High Threat Post Review chaired by the Secretary of State, and ongoing reviews by the Deputy Secretaries, to ensure pivotal questions about security reach the highest levels. And we will regularize protocols for sharing information with Congress.

All of these actions are designed to increase the safety of our diplomats and development experts and reduce the chances of another Benghazi happening again.

Now, in addition to the immediate action we took and the Review Board process, we have been moving forward on a third front: addressing the broader strategic challenge in North Africa and the wider region.

Because Benghazi didn't happen in a vacuum. The Arab revolutions have scrambled power dynamics and shattered security forces across the region. And instability in Mali has created an expanding safe haven for terrorists who look to extend their influence and plot further attacks of the kind we saw just last week in Algeria.

And let me offer my deepest condolences to the families of the Americans and all the people from many nations who were killed and injured in the recent hostage crisis. We remain in close touch with the Government of Algeria and stand ready to provide assistance if needed. We are seeking to gain a fuller understanding of what took place so that we can work together to prevent terrorist attacks like this in the future.

Concerns about terrorism and instability in North Africa are not new. Indeed they have been a top priority for our entire national security team. But after Benghazi, we accelerated a diplomatic campaign to increase pressure on al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other terrorist groups across the region.

In the first hours and days, I conferred with the President of Libya and the Foreign Ministers of Tunisia and Morocco. Two weeks later, I met with regional leaders at the United Nations General Assembly and held a special meeting focused on Mali and the Sahel. In October, I flew to Algeria to discuss the fight against AQIM. In November, I sent Deputy Secretary Bill Burns to follow up in Algiers. And then in December, he co-chaired the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Abu Dhabi and a meeting in Tunis of leaders working to build new democracies and reform security services.

In all these diplomatic engagements, and in near-constant contacts at every level, we have focused on targeting al Qaeda's syndicate of terror - closing safe havens, cutting off finances, countering extremist ideology, and slowing the flow of new recruits. We continue to hunt the terrorists responsible for the attacks in Benghazi and are determined to bring them to justice. And we're also using all our diplomatic and economic tools to support the emerging democracies of the region, including Libya, to strengthen security forces and provide a path away from extremism.

The United States must continue to lead… in the Middle East and all around the globe. We have come a long way in the past four years. We cannot afford to retreat now. When America is absent, especially from unstable environments, there are consequences. Extremism takes root, our interests suffer, and our security at home is threatened.

That's why Chris Stevens went to Benghazi in the first place. Nobody knew the dangers better than Chris, first during the revolution and then during the transition. A weak Libyan government, marauding militias, even terrorist groups… a bomb exploded in the parking lot of his hotel, but he didn't waver. Because he understood that it was critical for America to be represented in that pivotal place at that pivotal time.

Our men and women who serve overseas understand that we accept a level of risk to protect this country we love. They represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation. And they cannot work in bunkers and do their jobs.

It is our responsibility to make sure they have the resources they need to do their jobs and to do everything we can to reduce the risks they face.

For me, this is not just a matter of policy… it's personal.

I stood next to President Obama as the Marines carried those flag-draped caskets off the plane at Andrews. I put my arms around the mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters.

It has been one of the greatest honors of my life to lead the men and women of the State Department and USAID. Nearly 70,000 serving here in Washington and at more than 275 posts around the world. They get up and go to work every day - often in difficult and dangerous circumstances thousands of miles from home - because they believe the United States is the most extraordinary force for peace and progress the earth has ever known.

And when we suffer tragedies overseas, the number of Americans applying to the Foreign Service actually increases. That tells us everything we need to know about what kind of patriots I'm talking about. They ask what they can do for their country. And America is stronger for it.

Today, after four years in this job, after traveling nearly 1 million miles and visiting 112 countries around the world, my faith in our country and our future is stronger than ever. Every time that blue and white airplane carrying the words "United States of America" touches down in some far-off capital, I feel again the honor it is to represent the world's indispensible nation. And I am confident that, with your help, we will continue to keep the United States safe, strong, and exceptional.

So I want to thank this committee for your partnership and your support of our diplomats and development experts around the world. You know the importance of the work they do day-in and day-out, and that America's values and vital national security interests are at stake. It is absolutely critical that we work together to ensure they have the resources and support they need to face increasingly complex threats.

I know that you share our sense of responsibility and urgency. And while we all may not agree on everything, let's stay focused on what really matters: protecting our people and the country we all love.

Now I am now happy to answer your questions.

Photo Credit: AP

Warming Centers Open


A temperatures dip below freezing, warming centers are opening in the state.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has directed the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Department of Social Services and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to coordinate with shelters throughout the state as well as the 211 helpline.


The Greater Bridgeport Transit Main Bus Terminal at 710 Water Street will be open as a warming center from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday.  Coffee and hot chocolate will be served at the warming center.


Prospect Methodist Church, 99 Summer St., will open a warming center in their community room at 6 p.m. Wednesday.   People who want to use the warming center must provide their own transportation and bring their own food, medicines and any other necessities.  Pets will be allowed in specific areas of the church.  Anyone with questions can call Mayor Art Ward's office at 860-584-6250.


These warming centers opened at noon on Wednesday and will remain open through Friday, Jan. 25.

  • North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry St., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Ave., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Hispanic Health Council, 175 Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


The following sites will be open as warming centers through Friday afternoon:

  • Meriden Senior Center, 22 West Main St. Phone: 203-630-4273, Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Meriden Public Library, 105 Miller St., Phone: 203-238-2346;  Wednesday, 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.;  Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Westfield Meriden Square, 470 Lewis Ave., Phone: 203-235-3343; Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. through 9 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.

Call Infoline 2-1-1 for a complete list of shelters.


The Torrington city hall auditorium, on the second floor of City Hall, 140 Main St., would be open for use as a warming center for residents that are in need. 

The auditorium will be open on Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; on Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and on Friday, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

In addition to the auditorium, the following locations will be available as a warming center: 

  • Sullivan Senior Center, 88 East Albert St., Wednesday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The senior center will be opened for seniors only.
  • Torrington Health & Rehab, 225 Wyoming Ave., Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Register Citizen Newspaper, 59 Field St., Wednesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Torrington Soup Kitchen, 220 Prospect St., Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner will be served from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, from 7 a.m. to 1p.m., and 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

West Haven

West Haven will open three shelters until 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday

  • Allington Senior Center, 1 Forest Road
  • Noble Street Senior Center, 201 Noble St.
  • City Hall, Room B (basement), 355 Main St.



Obama's Cabinet: Who's Staying, Who's Going?

Staying: Vice President Joe Biden
Biden is staying put as head of the "Gun Violence Task Force" created to address gun violence in the U.S. He also helped broker a "fiscal cliff" deal that kept some Bush-era tax cuts from expiring. Click to see the rest of President Obama's cabinet.

Bone-Chilling Dive for SCUBA Team


Despite the bone-chilling temperatures and single-digit wind chills, the Bridgeport Police SCUBA team went on as usual with their scheduled dive practice at the city's Ferry Dock on Wednesday.

"Today the big issue is going to be keeping are hands warm. Our hands and our head will get cold today," Bridgeport Police Lt., Brian Fitzgerald said.

The team specialized in crime evidence recovery and practices its water search every month.

"About four months ago, we recovered a weapon," Lt. Fitzgerald said. "We set up a search line system, one line that goes straight out with a weight on either end and a line to the search with a buoy on, so the divers can go up and down. And we use that line to search for evidence like a weapon used in a crime."

To help stay warm, the team uses a dry suit.

"It differs from a wet suit because it keeps your body dry except for your head and your hands, so you can wear as much installation as you want underneath that," Lt. Fitzpatrick said.


Suspect in Norwich Attempted Abduction Arrested


Norwich police have arrested a 22-year-old local man accused of trying to abduct a teen while she was jogging in Mohegan Park in Norwich on Friday, Jan. 18.

The 17-year-old girl told police that a man exposed himself and tried to abduct her at 2:40 p.m. on Friday.

On Wednesday, police arrested  David J. Rose, of Mohegan Park Road, based on similarities to previous crimes, proximity of Rose’s home to the area and physical description, police said.

Police interviewed him and, based upon the interview, recovered items of evidence and a warrant was signed, according to police. 

Rose was charged with unlawful restraint, breach of peace, public indecency and violation of probation.

According to court records, Rose has prior convictions for second-degree harassment and second-degree stalking and threatening.  

Bond was set at $200,000 and Rose will be presented in Norwich Superior Court on Jan. 23 at 10 a.m.

Cat Rescued from East Haven Fire


Firefighters were able to resuscitate a cat after a fire in East Haven on Wednesday afternoon, but crews were working on the dog. 

No one was home when crews responded to a fire on Jane Court, officials said.

No firefighters were injured while responding to the fire.

Animal control responded and has the cat.

Photo Credit: Amanda Raus, NBC Connecticut
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