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Stratford Liquor Store Robbed at Gunpoint


Police are investigating after a Stratford liquor store was robbed at gunpoint Tuesday evening.

According to police, a man dressed in all black walked into Barnum Discount Liquor at 2248 Barnum Avenue in Stratford, flashed a small black handgun and demanded money.

He made off with an unknown amount of cash.

Police said the clerk did not appear to be injured.

No additional information was immediately available. 

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

3 Dead in Crash on Danbury/Bethel Line


Three people have died following a serious crash on Route 53 at the Danbury/Bethel town line late Tuesday morning, according to police.

The crash happened around 11:45 a.m. when a Honda Accord traveling northbound on Route 53/South Street crossed the double yellow line and struck a Buick Lucerne driving southbound, police said.

The driver of the Honda, 45-year-old Edward Kish of Brookfield, died of his injuries. Witnesses told police Kish was slumped over the wheel prior to the crash.

Jane Shannon, 78, who was driving the Buick, and passenger William Shannon, 77, also died.

Another passenger, 59-year-old Roy Bass, was treated and released from Danbury Hospital, police said.

Witnesses said a box truck narrowly avoided the crash.

"The front ends of the cars, they were all crushed in, and the three people were all unconscious," said Tony Carvalho of Danbury, who lives nearby. He heard the crash, ran to the scene and called 911.

"I tried to talk to them," Carvalho said. "None of them were responding."

He said the cars appeared to have collided head on.

Route 53 was closed for several hours and reopened around 2:30 p.m. Traffic was detoured from Route 53 onto Great Pasture Road in Danbury and from Route 53 onto Mansfield Street in Bethel.

Police are investigating to determine the cause of the crash.

Witnesses are urged to contact Danbury Police Traffic Division Sgt. Rory DeRocco or Officer Lance Brevard at 203-797-2157 or 203-797-2156.

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Chilly Temps, Potential for Snow in New London County


Temperatures will dip into the single-digits tonight, and a couple inches of snow could fall overnight in the southeastern part of the state, according to Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan.

New London County could accumulate 1-3 inches of light, fluffy snow between midnight and 7 or 8 a.m. Wednesday, Hanrahan said. The rest of the state could receive a dusting.

Tonight’s snow will be concentrated in the area of New London, Groton, Stonington and North Stonington and could make for slippery roads.

Temperatures also are expected to drop into the single-digits overnight, but wind chill won’t be a factor, Hanrahan said. Expect a low around 0 degrees in northwestern Connecticut and 10 degrees on the shoreline.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said today the state's Severe Cold Weather Protocol will remain in place and that warming centers and emergency shelters will continue to be available. Anyone seeking shelter is advised to call 211 for more information.

We’ll see a moderate warm-up as the week progresses, with temperatures climbing into the mid-20s tomorrow, reaching 30 on Thursday and 35-40 on Friday.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

State of the Union: Transcript


Text of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, as provided by the White House:


Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America's graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.

An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than 8 million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.

An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil.

A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford. A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end.

Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.

Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that's adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world - the first time that's happened in nearly 20 years. Our deficits - cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world's No. 1 place to invest; America is.

That's why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.

The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It's an important debate - one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy - when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States - then we are not doing right by the American people.

As president, I'm committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. I believe most of you are, too. Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year's severe cuts to priorities like education. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country's future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises.

In the coming months, let's see where else we can make progress together. Let's make this a year of action. That's what most Americans want - for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all - the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

Let's face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by - let alone get ahead. And too many still aren't working at all.

Our job is to reverse these trends. It won't happen right away, and we won't agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still - and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do.

As usual, our first lady sets a good example. Michelle's Let's Move partnership with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in thirty years - an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. The Joining Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. Taking a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education - and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus. Across the country, we're partnering with mayors, governors and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality.

The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That's what drew our forebears here. It's how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America's largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be president of the greatest nation on Earth.

Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.

We know where to start: the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year. And over half of big manufacturers say they're thinking of insourcing jobs from abroad.

So let's make that decision easier for more companies. Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad. Let's flip that equation. Let's work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.

Moreover, we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes - because in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure. We'll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.

We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs. My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we've connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies. Tonight, I'm announcing we'll launch six more this year. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work.

Let's do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America. Over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other. And when ninety-eight percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs. We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamped "Made in the USA." China and Europe aren't standing on the sidelines. Neither should we.

We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender. Federally funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones. That's why Congress should undo the damage done by last year's cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery - whether it's vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria, or paper-thin material that's stronger than steel. And let's pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation.

Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we've been in decades.

One of the reasons why is natural gas - if extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas. My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities. And while we're at it, I'll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.

It's not just oil and natural gas production that's booming; we're becoming a global leader in solar, too. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can't be outsourced. Let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

And even as we've increased energy production, we've partnered with businesses, builders and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars. In the coming months, I'll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.

Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency - because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That's why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.

Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders and law enforcement - and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams - to study, invent, and contribute to our culture - they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let's get immigration reform done this year.

The ideas I've outlined so far can speed up growth and create more jobs. But in this rapidly changing economy, we have to make sure that every American has the skills to fill those jobs.

The good news is, we know how to do it. Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make them. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center - places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or better job. She was flooded with new workers. And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees.

What Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer - and every job seeker. So tonight, I've asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America's training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

I'm also convinced we can help Americans return to the workforce faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it's more effective in today's economy. But first, this Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people.

Let me tell you why.

Misty DeMars is a mother of two young boys. She'd been steadily employed since she was a teenager. She put herself through college. She'd never collected unemployment benefits. In May, she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home. A week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. Last month, when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me a letter - the kind I get every day. "We are the face of the unemployment crisis," she wrote. "I am not dependent on the government.Our country depends on people like us who build careers, contribute to society . care about our neighbors . I am confident that in time I will find a job . I will pay my taxes, and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love. Please give us this chance."

Congress, give these hardworking, responsible Americans that chance. They need our help, but more important, this country needs them in the game. That's why I've been asking CEOs to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at that new job and new chance to support their families; this week, many will come to the White House to make that commitment real. Tonight, I ask every business leader in America to join us and to do the same - because we are stronger when America fields a full team.

Of course, it's not enough to train today's workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow's workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.

Estiven Rodriguez couldn't speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age 9. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates - through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors - from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he's going to college this fall.

Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy - problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it's worth it - and it's working.

The problem is we're still not reaching enough kids, and we're not reaching them in time. That has to change.

Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is high-quality early education. Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as a president, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can't wait. So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we'll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children. And as Congress decides what it's going to do, I'm going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.

Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we've got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

We're working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career. We're shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education. We're offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt. And I'm reaching out to some of America's leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.

The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won't be complete - and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise - unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.

Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it's an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship - and you know what, a father does, too. It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a "Mad Men" episode. This year, let's all come together - Congress, the White House and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street - to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.

Now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs - but they're not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages. Americans understand that some people will earn more than others, and we don't resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success. But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.

In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno. John's an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour - a decision that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.

Tonight, I ask more of America's business leaders to follow John's lead and do what you can to raise your employees' wages. To every mayor, governor and state legislator in America, I say, you don't have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour - because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn't have to live in poverty.

Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board. Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about 20 percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here. Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. This will help families. It will give businesses customers with more money to spend. It doesn't involve any new bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise.

There are other steps we can take to help families make ends meet, and few are more effective at reducing inequality and helping families pull themselves up through hard work than the earned income tax credit. Right now, it helps about half of all parents at some point. But I agree with Republicans like Sen. Rubio that it doesn't do enough for single workers who don't have kids. So let's work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, and help more Americans get ahead.

Let's do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don't have a pension. A Social Security check often isn't enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn't help folks who don't have 401ks. That's why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It's a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in. And if this Congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside-down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save, but does little to nothing for middle-class Americans. Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can. And since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans.

One last point on financial security. For decades, few things exposed hard-working families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system. And in case you haven't heard, we're in the process of fixing that.

A pre-existing condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a physician assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn't get health insurance. But on January 1st, she got covered. On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. On January 6th, she had emergency surgery. Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that surgery would've meant bankruptcy.

That's what health insurance reform is all about - the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don't have to lose everything.

Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 3 million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents' plans.

More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.

And here's another number: zero. Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a pre-existing condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she's a woman. And we did all this while adding years to Medicare's finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors.

Now, I don't expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people aren't interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice - tell America what you'd do differently. Let's see if the numbers add up. But let's not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of Americans like Amanda. The first 40 were plenty. We got it. We all owe it to the American people to say what we're for, not just what we're against.

And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who's here tonight. Kentucky's not the most liberal part of the country, but he's like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth's families. "They are our friends and neighbors," he said. "They are people we shop and go to church with.farmers out on the tractors . grocery clerks . they are people who go to work every morning praying they don't get sick. No one deserves to live that way."

Steve's right. That's why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. It will give her some peace of mind - plus, she'll appreciate hearing from you.

After all, that's the spirit that has always moved this nation forward. It's the spirit of citizenship - the recognition that through hard work and responsibility, we can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as well.

Citizenship means standing up for everyone's right to vote. Last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened. But conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it; and the bipartisan commission I appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote. Let's support these efforts. It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.

Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors and police officers all over this country who say "we are not afraid," and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.

Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities. And I know this chamber agrees that few Americans give more to their country than our diplomats and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.

Tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the United States is more secure. When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq. More than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from Afghanistan. With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America's longest war will finally be over.

After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future. If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces, and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al-Qaida. For while our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country.

The fact is, that danger remains. While we have put al-Qaida's core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al-Qaida affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. In Syria, we'll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks. Here at home, we'll keep strengthening our defenses, and combat new threats like cyberattacks. And as we reform our defense budget, we have to keep faith with our men and women in uniform, and invest in the capabilities they need to succeed in future missions.

We have to remain vigilant. But I strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our military alone. As commander-in-chief, I have used force when needed to protect the American people, and I will never hesitate to do so as long as I hold this office. But I will not send our troops into harm's way unless it's truly necessary; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts. We must fight the battles that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us - large-scale deployments that drain our strength and may ultimately feed extremism.

So, even as we aggressively pursue terrorist networks - through more targeted efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partners - America must move off a permanent war footing. That's why I've imposed prudent limits on the use of drones - for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence. That's why, working with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs - because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated. And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay - because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world.

You see, in a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power - including strong and principled diplomacy. American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands, and allowed us to reduce our own reliance on Cold War stockpiles. American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve - a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear. As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel - a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.

And it is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran's nuclear program - and rolled parts of that program back - for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb. And with our allies and partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

These negotiations will be difficult. They may not succeed. We are clear-eyed about Iran's support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away. But these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed. If Iran's leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon. But if Iran's leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.

Finally, let's remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe - to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America.

Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country's future. Across Africa, we're bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we're also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people. And we will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity, and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster - as we did in the Philippines, when our Marines and civilians rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon, and were greeted with words like, "We will never forget your kindness" and "God bless America!"

We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation. And next week, the world will see one expression of that commitment - when Team USA marches the red, white, and blue into the Olympic Stadium - and brings home the gold.

My fellow Americans, no other country in the world does what we do. On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might - but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them.

No one knows this better than those who serve in uniform. As this time of war draws to a close, a new generation of heroes returns to civilian life. We'll keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they've earned, and our wounded warriors receive the health care - including the mental health care - that they need. We'll keep working to help all our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs here at home. And we all continue to join forces to honor and support our remarkable military families.

Let me tell you about one of those families I've come to know.

I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program - a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his 10th deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn't speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he's endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he's learned to speak again and stand again and walk again - and he's working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

"My recovery has not been easy," he says. "Nothing in life that's worth anything is easy."

Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.

My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress - to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids - a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us - none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow - I know it's within our reach.

Believe it.

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Photo Credit: ap

Nearly 100 People Denied Superstorm Sandy Aid


Homeowners along the shoreline are trying to figure out what's next after being denied help from the state.

Some like Lori Jackson of Old Greenwich had applied for aid to raise their homes after Hurricane Sandy but the state says it has other plans for the money.

"When you're promised something. When it looks like it's worth the time then that's when it's really disappointing," Jackson said, adding that she felt a full host of emotions when she got a letter from the state telling her she'd been denied money under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.

"You make your application and you wait another 6-8 months with contractors…with a promise to get a job done and again now maybe but wait so it's very frustrating."

A frustrated Jackson was one of 28 applications the state rejected in Greenwich. There were nearly 100 families all the way to East Haven.

"The architects that had to draw up plans, the engineers that had to be drawn upon and assembled it was probably about a 2 inch preparation," Jackson said.

It was preparation the town submitted and something Greenwich officials say took days to do

"The state needs to readdress the issue, reevaluate their decision and look clearly at what the initial intent was which was to support residents," said Peter Tesei, Greenwich First Selectman

State officials say the put together a committee to judge what areas were most important with limited funding. Infrastructure came out on top

"The real issue is the fact that they really feel they were led down a path and the carpet was pulled out from underneath them," added Stephen Walko, a state representative from the area.

"I'm from Greenwich and I constantly hear oh you can afford to take care of this yourself," Jackson said. "I pay taxes and I don't begrudge them their seawall or their safety or the projects they're doing. I'm just not really happy with the way the system is run."

Some of the money the homeowners didn't get went to a seawall project in Bridgeport and improvements to a sewage plant in Milford

Families are still encouraged to apply for other aid but fear it could mean even more months of waiting.

Photo Credit: AP

Drone Crashes Off San Diego Coast


Federal officials deliberately crashed a malfunctioning drone into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of San Diego overnight.

The drone belongs to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which has now grounded its entire fleet of 10 drones as a precaution.

The U.S. Coast Guard recovered debris left by the drone approximately 20 miles southwest off Point Loma.

According to customs officials, the drone flew out of Arizona and was piloted by a crew in Texas overseen by agents in Washington, D.C.

The Predator B drone that crashed was a variant called the Guardian, which was specially equipped to fly over water.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Mike Friel told the Associated Press that the crash happened around 1:15 a.m. PT Tuesday.

According to customs officials, the crew operating the drone from Texas noticed a mechanical failure and had little time to take action. They decided the safest move was to crash it into the ocean.

Friel said the cause of the mechanical failure is unknown.

Crews are working to recover the $12 million drone. Tuesday afternoon, some of the parts had already been loaded onto a truck at Coast Guard Station San Diego.

These drones are equipped with radar to help officers spot panga boats and semi-submersible vessels used by drug cartels.

"The aircraft can be used to monitor that vessel while other units are dispatched to intercept that vessel," Friel said in an interview with NBC 7 San Diego. "That aircraft can keep eyes on and help individuals who are tasked with intercepting that vessel to know what they're facing." 

The Coast Guard report was filed at 11:20 p.m Monday, according to a spokesperson.

The U.S. has been using Predator B unmanned aircraft along the coast of California since 2006 to intercept potential terrorists and illegal border activity. They can fly for 20 hours and as high as 50,000 feet. This is the first time a drone has gone down since the unmanned aircraft program started, according to customs officials.

The FAA and NTSB will investigate the crash.

The drones are made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, based in San Diego. The company recently touted the use of its drone technology and its use to help recover a missing mountain biker in New Mexico.

In November, two sailors were injured and a missile cruiser damaged in a drone mishap off the coast of Point Mugu, Calif. USS Chancellorsville was struck by the unmanned aircraft during radar testing, officials said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tests in “Facebook Murder” Case


A South Miami man who allegedly killed his wife and posted a photo of her body on Facebook appeared in court Wednesday for a hearing ahead of his March 17 trial.

Derek Medina's attorneys filed documents Tuesday asking a judge to grant them access to the victim's remains.

Medina’s attorneys want to independently test for synthetic ecstasy and other illicit drugs in the remains of Jennifer Alfonso.

Medina, 31, claims he shot and killed his 26-year-old wife in self-defense on Aug. 8 after she continually punched him and pulled a knife on him in their South Miami townhouse, according to his sworn statement to police.

The new court documents detail how capsules were located by the defense in a garlic supplement bottle in a kitchen cabinet in the couple's home. They say those capsules tested positive for synthetic ecstasy.

The medical examiner who did the autopsy did not report testing the victim for that drug. So now Medina's attorneys are asking to have access to Alfonso's blood, urine, tissue, hair and stomach content at the time of her death.

"We just filed the motions, and I will say that we're working with the state of Florida to see if we can resolve them without having a hearing," said Saam Zanganeh, Medina's lawyer.

"There's procedures for us to be able to have independent testing done of tissues or body fluids or anything that's relevant in a situation like this. So, we'll just stand, and follow the procedures in every kind of case like this," Zanganeh said.

According to a police search warrant, Medina took the knife away from his wife and put it back into a kitchen drawer before the shooting.

He repeatedly shot her at point-blank range as she may have been kneeling and trying to shield her face, according to the medical examiner’s report.

Medina admitted to posting the photo of his wife’s body and an admission on his Facebook page before he turned himself in to police, the warrant said.

Medina has not pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and child neglect charges. He also faces a charge of shooting a deadly missile.

His attorneys also say the surveillance video from the couple's home shows Alfonso acting erratically before, Medina says, he was forced to kill her in self-defense.

He is being held without bond.

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

$37M Worth of Cocaine Offloaded


The U.S Coast Guard on Tuesday offloaded 2,500 pounds of cocaine, worth $37 million, which was seized in a multi-national drug bust south of the Dominican Republic.

On Jan. 22 in the dark, a Coast Guard aircraft detected a 25-foot go-fast boat with four people and suspicious-looking packages aboard. The boat was going very fast.

Authorities launched a helicopter and fired warning shots at the vessel to stop it, but the boat continued. The suspected smugglers were seen throwing packages into the water during the chase.

The helicopter then shot out both of the vessel's outboard engines and disabled the boat.

Authorities detained the people and recovered 45 bales of cocaine.

The alleged smugglers will be taken to authorities in the U.S.

"This historic operation is a result of a dedication to improved interoperability and highlights the great success and commitment of our interagency partnerships to stop the illegal flow of narcotics into the United States,” Rear Admiral Jake Korn, commander of the Coast Guard Seventh District, said in an email statement.



Missing Man Found in Shelton


A missing man has been found after a 10-hour search in Shelton.

William Luciano, 47, was located this morning at the Huntington St. Cafe., at 90 Huntington Street,

Staff of the restaurant said Luciano came in for breakfast.

Maria Barden, who works at the cafe, notified police. She said she noticed that something was not right.

"He went to the bathroom for 10 minutes to an hour and then he came out and he had no socks on," Barden said.

Search crews from several towns scoured a one-mile area around Lake Road in Shelton for him after he disappeared from the Shelton Lakes Health Care Center. The cafe is about two and a half miles away from the center.

Emergency crews from Shelton, Derby and Monroe searched on foot, by boat and with the use of K-9s since about 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Police found him this morning after getting a tip that he was at the cafe.

"As you can see. it's very cold out here. It's not good to be out here in the elements without the proper gear. Don't know what kind of condition he is in otherwise, but the longer he's out here the more worried we get," Asst. Shelton Fire Chief Nick Verdicchio said.

Police said he has a medical condition.

Cafe workers said Luciano appeared to be OK physically. A physician is evaluating him.





Water Main Break in Hartford Fixed


A water main break on Mannz Street in Hartford had been fixed.

It affected six multi-family homes and the Bryon Auto Body Shop between Wethersfield Avenue and Elliott Place.

The main was shut down at 5:55 a.m. and was repairsed as of 1:30 p.m.

The 4-inch main was installed in 1896, according to the MDC.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Robbed Cromwell Sunoco at Knifepoint


Police are investigating an armed robbery at a Sunoco gas station in Cromwell on Tuesday night.

A man showed a knife and demanded cash at the Sunoco station at 115 Berlin Road in Cromwell, just before 11:30 p.m., police said.

The clerk complied and the robber fled in a smaller four-door car and turned from Route 372 onto Interstate 91 North, police said.

Anyone with information about the robbery or the man who committed it is asked to call Cromwell Police at 860-635-2256.

Slain Chicago Student Remembered


Friends and family of Hadiya Pendleton took a moment to remember the honor student whose shooting death drew national media attention and came to symbolize gun violence in the city.

The 15-year-old was killed Jan. 29, 2013, while hanging out with a group of teens in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park, in the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue, just blocks from the school and about a mile from President Barack Obama's Chicago home.

"Every day, Cleopatra, her mom -- it's as if she's experiencing it for the first time," Hadiya's cousin, Shaira Wilks said.

Hadiya's parents attended a private memorial service at King College Prep Wednesday, an event also attended by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Yakaphar Freeman Walker was Hadiya's former classmate and good friend.

"The mourning period for me is over. I just want to celebrate the message that she's taught me over the time of me knowing her," Walker said. Fourth Ward Alderman Will Burns has been working with the Pendleton family on legislation to help make streets safer. He says crime may be down, but is pushing from stronger gun laws.

"Obviously it's a sad day, but I think we've made significant improvement in public safety in the 4th Ward," Burns said. "My fear is that the lesson hasn't been learned in Springfield and in Washington, DC, where we need sensible gun control legislation to make it harder for the people who shot her to get access to guns in the first place."

Wednesday's anniversary of Pendleton's death comes just one day after Obama's 2014 State of the Union address, which included two sentences referring to gun violence. Nine months after the U.S. Senate voted down a bipartisan plan for tighter background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, Obama said Tuesday he intended to "keep trying, with or without Congress." But he did not outline in the speech specific steps he would take to "help stop more tragedies."

Hadiya's family agree that this day should be about celebrating what she contributed during her short time on earth.

"This is her purpose on life, really as an angel, was to come here just for the purpose of reminding the world how important it is to have peace," Wilks said.

Pendleton had dreams of becoming a pharmacist or a journalist, and was a majorette with the school's band. She had just attended Obama's second inauguration in Washington, D.C., days before she was killed

Two men, Michael Ward and Kenneth Williams, have been charged and await trial in connection with Pendleton's death.

N.J.'s Super Bowl Struggle


Doug Palsi got excited the first time he heard the prediction from Super Bowl XLVIII organizers: $550 million expected to flow into the region for Sunday's NFL championship at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. — less than a mile from the sports bar he owns.

Then Palsi thought some more, and it seemed kind of ridiculous. The number — viewed skeptically by economic experts — was freakishly big. His business, Redd's Restaurant & Bar, was small. And most of the Super Bowl-related spending wasn't going to happen in the Meadowlands, anyway. The money would go to New York, just across the Hudson River. Like always.

Still, he was grateful for whatever uptick in business came his way. "If it wasn't for New York City, the Super Bowl would never be here," Palsi said. "So we're thrilled. A little something is better than nothing."

That scrappy North Jersey outlook — take what you can get — prevails among the small businesses and civic boosters that surround the stadium. They are accustomed to living in New York's shadow, so they don't bother themselves with the bold economic projections, or try to compete for media attention. Instead, they focus on getting a cut of the action.

"If I spent all my time worrying about New York capturing the limelight, I'd have no time to scratch and claw for business out here," said Jim Kirkos, CEO of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Instead of letting my ego get hurt, I'm going to go out and try to win some business. Because at the end of the day, what else can I do?"

He said he'd be happy with the North Jersey region capturing a third of the total economic impact — whether it be the league's estimate of $550 million, or much less, as sports economists predict.

After it was awarded the Super Bowl in 2010, New Jersey made an aggressive push to host the NFL Experience, a mini festival that accompanies the game. But that perk went to New York, which renamed a section of Broadway Super Bowl Boulevard and installed a concert stage and toboggan run.

The vast majority of people visiting for the game will be staying in New York. And yet New Jersey will bear the brunt of the impact on infrastructure. Dozens of state agencies have spent years working to make sure the game goes off without a hitch. Thousands of state and local cops will be deployed for security.

New Jersey isn't getting completely overlooked. Super Bowl Media Day was held at the Prudential Center In Newark. Both championship teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, are staying in Jersey City, where there will be a pre-game concert at Liberty State Park.

But that's pretty much it for NFL-sanctioned events. What's left is a sprawling array of residual economic opportunities: visitors who need to eat and sleep and have fun, locals who want to watch and celebrate together.

Thousands of front-desk clerks and concierges and other members of the local hospitality industry have taken a one-day "customer service training program" at a local community college to prepare them for the onslaught of visitors, whom they'll steer to local businesses.

Pete Gremanis, whose family runs the Colonial Diner in Lyndhurst, said he expected business to double in the week or two before the Super Bowl. He placed ads in local publications and in nearby hotels, but he knows from experience that word of mouth will provide the biggest boost.

"We don't want anyone to come here from Denver or Seattle and say they had a bad time," Gremanis said. "Jersey gets a pretty bad rap on some things. But we're definitely ready to welcome everybody."

Many of the region's restaurants, bars, banquet halls and nightclubs have formed a loose coalition to promote each other's Super Bowl-related events. The fortunate ones have booked events for large groups.

Palsi, for instance, is hosting several hundred guests of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "That's a nice chunk of change," he said, declining to provide details. "Without that party, it would probably be like a normal game between the Giants and Cowboys in November."

Wayne Hasenbalg, president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said he and Alfred Kelly Jr., who heads the New York/New Jersey Super Bowl Host Committee, sent letters to New Jersey mayors a few months ago, encouraging them to create their own unofficial events as a way to spark local spending.

"There's an additional economic impact in being proactive and creating our own opportunities," Hasenbalg said in an interview.

Many took the advice. East Rutherford will hold an unofficial tailgate party in its downtown business district. Neighboring Rutherford will have a Winter Festival. Nearby Secaucus and the more distant Montclair organized several days of football-themed events. The municipal festivities extend into the central part of the state, far from the game itself.

East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella said he hopes that the game will be a wash, financially, for his town, despite the fact that it is the host. Local police officers have been allocated to the Super Bowl security apparatus, for which Cassella doesn't expect to be reimbursed. He is concerned about how transportation restrictions will affect traffic, and local commerce.

At the same time, the town receives a portion of the taxes on local hotel sales receipts.

Cassella noted, a bit sourly, that East Rutherford could not even use the words "Super Bowl" in the name of its tailgate party, because of NFL licensing restrictions. He added that he has yet to have a conversation with anyone from the league.

"Just acknowledge a little bit more where the game is," Cassella said. "That, in fact, the game is in our town and it's going to affect our town."

The mayor stressed that he is a die-hard football fan. He is a Giants season ticket holder. He entered a Giants lottery to win a pair of Super Bowl tickets, but didn't win.

He said he knows no one in town who has a ticket to the game.

And so, on Super Bowl Sunday, Cassella will probably stop by the tailgate party, maybe stick around for the start of the game. Then he'll head home to watch the game as he would any other year.

"In all likelihood I'll wind up in my recliner," Cassella said. "Nice and comfortable."

Photo Credit: AP

Man Attacked Driver Who Rear-Ended Him: Police


West Hartford police have arrested a New Britain man accused of assaulting the man who read-ended his car.

Police responded to Troutbrook Drive and Boulevard around 10 a.m. on Monday when a fight was reported and found a man with a large cut on the left side of his head, according to police.  

Police said the victim had rear-ended Daniel Mozaeko’s car and the fight broke out after that.

Witnesses said Mozaeko, 42, of New Britain, grabbed the man, slammed his head into the sidewalk and punched his face until a bystander broke up the fight.

The victim was transported to St. Francis Hospital to be treated for the head laceration, as well as cuts and scrapes on his right hand.

Mozaeko was charged with second-degree assault and second-degree breach of peace. He was released on a $5,000 bond.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Cheating Scandal Decision


A Southern California school board decided Tuesday night to expel nearly a dozen students for a cheating scandal that involved a private tutor who has been missing for more than one month.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District had already suspended 11 students that officials identified as being involved in a scheme to alter grades.

"It is our sincere hope that the speculations and rumors regarding student discipline matters can now be put to rest and for the sake of the school community and all involved, these student discipline matters are considered resolved," Board of Education President Karen Yelsey said in a statement. 

The school board spent hours in a closed session Tuesday night before voting on a recommendation by Corona del Mar High School's principal that the students be expelled. The school board weighed each student's case on an individual basis.

Parents, many of whom attended the board's regular meeting Tuesday, of the accused students claim the scandal is more widespread. The tutor was working with up to 150 students, the parents said.

The school wil audit 750 grade entries over the past year as part of an investigation into whether more students were involved in the scheme.

Police are looking to interview the private tutor for his alleged involvement in the cheating scandal, according to a statement by the Newport-Mesa Unified School District.

Read: Disgraced Journalist Can't Practice Law: Court

The private tutor provided students with a key logger device that allowed them to steal password information that allowed them to access tests and other information, according to police. The tutor -- 28-year-old Timothy Lance Lai -- has not been seen since mid-December.

Read: Second Woman Charged in Nightclub Beating

Lai, whose last known residence was in Irvine, provided students with the device and instructions on how to use it, district officials said.  Parents and students told NBC4 that he might have left the country.

Corona del Mar High School is a 2,500-student public college prep school in Newport Beach named one of the nation's best by U.S. News and World Report.

Newport-Mesa Unified School District is currently auditing teachers' grade books to ensure the integrity of posted grades, and has also implementing a new notification system to flag grade changes, according to the statement issued by the district.

"The District will continue to partner with Corona del Mar High School administration and staff to ensure that the rigor and educational excellence demonstrated by (Corona del Mar’s) graduates for decades is not tarnished. Despite needing some time to wrestle with the disappointment of this unfortunate incident, we are confident that the school community will rise above this event," the statement said.

Cantore Wards Off On-Air Ambush


Veteran meteorologist Jim Cantore has been whipped by winds and reported amid other extreme weather conditions. During a live report from South Carolina’s College of Charleston Tuesday night, Cantore faced down a different sort of adversary.

An enthusiastic young man charged at The Weather Channel meteorologist in the middle of a live broadcast. Unfazed by the heckler’s antics, Cantore swiftly responded with a knee to what appeared to be the ambusher’s groin. Cantore then continued to deliver the news.

The famous weather expert was reporting from the Charleston campus for The Weather Channel on a rare winter storm that battered the Deep South, leaving thousands stranded.

"Obviously, here at the College of Charleston, they are already having a good time," Cantore quipped about the storm.

Cantore told NBC 10 Philadelphia on Wednesday that such on-air interruptions happen to reporters all the time and he wanted to teach the man a lesson.

"I just hear somebody screaming, I just happen to catch him with a corner of my eye," Cantore said describing the encounter. "I just thought, 'I want him to remember what he just did.' I just reacted."

New Husky for UConn


There’s a new Jonathan the Husky at UConn.

Jonathan XIV looks nothing like the mascot of years past, but more like the new logo.

The new mascot has the markings of a traditional Husky, rather than the all-white Huskies that served as previous mascots.

The four-month-old Husky puppy made its debut during the UConn board of trustees meeting this morning.

He will take over for Jonathan XIII, who has served as mascot for the past five or six years and is being retired because he began to be anxious around crowds.

The students who take care of the dog said they had to change a long-standing policy requiring the Husky to be all white.

Jonathan XIV is still being trained, but will likely make an appearance at a women's basketball game in the next few weeks.

The Daily Campus reports that both dogs will live with a host family off campus.

That family plans to adopt Jonathan XIII as their pet.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Water Main Break Repaired in Avon


A water main break that affected several businesses on Route 44 and West Main Street in Avon earlier today has been repaired, and traffic is flowing normally, according to police.

The break has impacted water service to several local businesses, including Russell Speeders Car Wash, Consignment Boutique and New England Pasta Company, business offices located at 302 West Main Street and shops located at 290 West Main Street, police said.

The break happened around 2 p.m. Wednesday and Route 44 westbound was down to one lane of traffic while crews worked to make repairs. It has since been fixed and all lanes of travel have reopened.

The eastbound side of the road was not affected.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Peck Place Students Head to Yale


Students from Peck Place in Orange started at a new school at a converted office building on Yale’s West Campus on Wednesday.

The students were displaced after their elementary school took on significant damage when a pipe burst earlier this month. Due to asbestos and the time it will take crews to clean up, they will not be allowed back in for the remainder of the school year. 

For the first few weeks, students were split up among other elementary schools as officials worked to find a better solution.

Yale’s West Campus happened to have an unused office building that was once home to the company Bayer.

Administrators and architects worked to convert the building once made up of cubicles into classrooms.

“We had to create a cafeteria where there wasn’t one,” Principal Eric Carbone said. “We developed indoor recess areas and a gym where at least children can move and have some physical fitness.”

The temporary school is an open air environment, with partitions dividing the classrooms. School officials have tried their best to offer everything they used to have at Peck Place, but there are a few limitations.

Students will only be able to get cold lunch because there is no set kitchen. They will also have to arrive to the bus stop 10 minutes earlier due to the travel time it takes to get to Yale. 

Other than Peck Place, the campus only houses Yale's School of Nursing.

Yale officials do have plans to use the office building once Peck Place is done, but because it was vacant, they are only charging them for the utilities.

They hope to be back at Peck Place by the start of the next school year.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Ramp from I-95N to I-91N in New Haven Reopened


The Interstate 95 North ramp to Interstate 91 North, exit 48, in New Haven has reopened. It was closed after a car rolled over.

Minor injuries are reported.

There were no highway lane closures.

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