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The Darrelle Revis Conundrum


The Jets formally introduced their new general manager on Thursday. 

John Idzik met the media for a press conference at the Jets headquarters in Florham Park and the exercise was as short on specifics as you'd likely imagine. Idzik talked big picture about increasing competition up and down the roster, but avoided questions about individual players by saying that it's premature to talk about anything until he's had a chance to evaluate the roster. 

A fair and truthful answer, but it won't stop the questions from coming about cornerback Darrelle Revis. Multiple reports have Jets owner Woody Johnson interested in exploring options involving Revis, including the possibility of trading him before the 2013 season. 

It's a perfectly reasonable thing for a team in the Jets' position to consider. Revis is coming off a torn ACL, has one year left on his deal and the Jets have a big need for a widespread talent infusion that won't cost them as much as re-signing Revis would cost them. 

Thanks to a clause in his contract, Revis can't be franchised after the season so the Jets would need to sign him to a long-term deal before the year is out or risk losing him with no compensation in return. Based on that alone, there's plenty of reason to at least gauge what you could get in return for Revis. 

Revis' skills don't need any recounting so it's not like re-signing him would be the worst thing to happen to the Jets. That said, it would be a big commitment to a player coming off a serious injury and there's no guarantee that Revis Island's exclusivity would remain in place throughout the life of the pact. 

Swinging a deal that nets a first-round pick and another pick or player would help the Jets strengthen the rest of the roster while knowing that they can rely on Antonio Cromartie to play the lead cornerback role. Cromartie isn't as good as Revis, but he handled the job well enough and the chance to improve elsewhere is tempting. 

You consider options and this is an option worth considering. It's not that easy, though. Is it ever easy with the Jets? 

Dealing Revis is essentially a white flag on 2013 as trading your best player makes it crystal clear that you're doing a complete rebuild on the roster. That's not a bad thing, but why would you do that when you've just brought back Rex Ryan? 

Ryan's reportedly against a Revis trade, which makes sense since punting on the season would all but guarantee him a pink slip at the end of the 2013 season. That's not good for Ryan, but it isn't good for the Jets either since you would basically be delaying the start of the new regime while also saying that the current one isn't the one to take you forward. 

Time and again, the failure of the Jets to construct an overarching philosophy for the organization comes back to bite them in the rear. Hiring and firing general managers while keeping the head coach inevitably winds up muddying the picture when it comes to who calls the shots, something that doesn't work for a Jets team at a pretty crossroads. 

Idzik said plenty of the right things on Thursday, but what the Jets say and what the Jets do are often birds of very different feathers. 

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Donor to Pay for Putnam Fire Victims’ Funerals


On Tuesday morning, two little girls died of smoke inhalation when fire spread through a multi-family home at 6-8 Prospect Street in Putnam.

The community has been coming together to help the families who lived in the home and an anonymous donor has come forward and offered to pay the funeral expenses for 3-year-old Alexis Auger and her 9-month-old sister, Ava Auger, according to WINY Radio, which set up a fund to help the families affected by the fire.

The fire marshal said the fire started in the girls’ bedroom early Tuesday morning. The cause has not been determined, but officials said it was accidental. 

State police, the Eastern District Major Crime detectives and the fire marshal are investigating and specialists were called in to examine the house for possible code violations, according to state police.

Five families lived in the home and four people were taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, including the girls’ pregnant mother, according to fire officials.

WINY Radio posted on Facebook that the station and Putnam Bank will continue to raise funds for families affected by the fire through Feb. 8.

Checks may be made payable to “The Prospect Street Fire Fund” Care of Putnam Bank.

You can drop off household items, clothing and gift cards at Chase Building Supply in Woodstock.

Photo Credit: Steve Miller, NBC Connecticut

Pedro Martinez Returns to Red Sox


In December, former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez told WEEI radio that he was on his way back to the Red Sox organization.

Ever since, there has been speculation over what his role will be. 

On Thursday afternoon, the Red Sox organization Tweeted that an announcement will come today that the three-time Cy Young award winner is returning to the Sox as special assistant to general manager.

“I am thrilled to be returning to this organization and to the city I love," Martinez said, according to the Sox Twitter account. "I am grateful to our leaders; I believe in them & I thank them for allowing me to return to the field & help us win again.”

Martinez pitched for the Sox from 1998 to 2004, the year the "curse" was broken and the Red Sox won the World Series.

"He was one of the game's most dominant pitchers and without a doubt a beloved figure in Red Sox history," Red Sox executive vice president and general manager Ben Cherington said. "Similar to former teammate Jason Varitek, who joined the baseball operations staff in September, Pedro will be involved in several areas, including the evaluation, mentorship, and instruction of young players in Spring Training and throughout the season."

You can read the full news release here.

He was the strikeout champion in 1999, 2000, 2002 and was the ERA champ in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003.

Martinez went on to pitch for the Mets from 2005 to 2008.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters


January is National Mentoring Month and the Connecticut Broadcasters Association has partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters to encourage more mentors to come forward.  

Tracey May, who has been a ‘Big Brother’ to 11-year-old Troy Crowe and another boy for several months, said the experience has been rewarding in every way.   

“They're doing better in school, they seem to be more productive, they seem to be happy and it just gives me great satisfaction that I’m making, even in a little way,  a big difference in their lives” May said.

CBA has been running a series of television and radio spots to promote the mentoring program.  

CBA’s Kathy Browne, a former ‘Big Sister’ herself, said there are more than 1,000 children on the waiting list who want to be matched.  

If you think you might be interested in volunteering, visit NutmegBigBrothersBigSisters.org



Photo Credit: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Waterbury Man Was Racing Before Deadly Crash: Cops


A 29-year-old man has been charged in connection with the death of a passenger in his SUV Monday night.

According to police, Jonas Rodela was racing along Meadow Street when he lost control of his Ford Explorer and hit a fire hydrant and a utility pole before the vehicle flipped and landed on its roof.

A passenger in the backseat, Gregorio Mendoza, 32, of Meriden, was killed.

Mendoza's brother, Jose Concepcion-Mendoza, 38, told police that Rodela pulled up alongside a pickup truck at a stop light on Meadow Street and raced the truck when the light turned green. 

Concepcion-Mendoza also told police that Rodela had been drinking before the crash.  Officers at the scene detected and odor of alcohol and Rodela admitted to drinking, police said.

Rodela was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries and was arrested after being released. 

He was charged with second-degree manslaughter and is being held on $250,000 bond after his arraignment on Wednesday.  He is due back in court in February.

Police said they are waiting on results from blood test to determine if Rodela's blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.  They could file additional charges against Rodela, police said.


Photo Credit: Waterbury Police

New London Raises Funds for Gun Buyback Initiative


The city of New London will be hosting gun buyback events in March, funded by donations.
The city administration will use private donations from individuals and groups throughout the city and county for the buyback initiative, according to a news release from the mayor’s office. No city funds will be used to buy the guns.

Residents who sell their guns will receive a pre-paid credit card.

Those who turn in handguns will receive $100, while shotguns and traditional rifles will be purchased for $75 and assault rifles will be purchased for $150.
The New London Police Department will bring the guns to the Connecticut State Police to be destroyed.
You can bring the guns to the Truman Street Police Substation on Saturday, March 2, Sunday, March 3, Saturday, March 9 and Sunday, March 10.
Donations for the buyback should be made to “the City of New London – Gun Buyback” and sent to the Mayor’s Office at the City Hall of New London at 181 State Street, New London, Connecticut 06320.

The donations are tax deductible and the donations to, and disbursements from, the fund will be public record.

17 Flu-Related Deaths in Connecticut: Health Officials


The flu has caused 17 deaths in Connecticut since August, according to a report the state Department of Public Health released on Thursday.

Fifteen of the 17 were 65 years old or older and two were between 55 and 64, according to state health officials.

There has been a large increase of positive influenza reports over the past four weeks.

More than 3,000 cases of flu have been reported. More than 1,300 people have been hospitalized for the flu since the outbreak began, health officials said, and most of the hospitalizations were during the first week of the flu emergency.  
Flu has been reported in all eight counties:

  • Fairfield: 902
  • New Haven: 731
  • Hartford: 627
  • Middlesex: 264
  • New London: 247
  • Windham: 238
  • Litchfield: 133
  • Tolland: 106

Photo Credit: CDC

Manti Te'o, Parents Share Hoax Story With Katie Couric


Manti Te'o and his parents spoke on-camera for the first time Thursday since the story of the Notre Dame linebacker's dead girlfriend began to unravel and questions swirled about who was telling the truth.

In an interview with Katie Couric that aired Thursday, Te'o insisted that he was fooled into believing that Lennay Kekua, an invented online personality, was real, and that he had fallen deeply in love with her. He also flatly denied lying for the sake of his heroic image or for covering up his sexual orientation.

"For people feeling that they're misled—for that I'm sorry. I wasn't as forthcoming about it as I should have been, but I didn't lie."

He also insisted the hoax was not an elaborate way to conceal that he was gay. When Couric directly asked if he was gay, said he wasn't. "Far from it," he said. "Far from it."

Over and over, Couric asked how he could not have seen the signs, how he could have missed all the clues that this person didn't exist. She ticked off all the evidence: During FaceTime chats, he could never see her face, plans to meet face-to-face never came through.

Te'o confirmed that during their online chats, "Kekua" could always see him, but he could never see her. He said he would always complain to her about the chronic problem. "I don't know what's wrong with your camera, but I can't see you," he said he would say.

But he added that there were also signs that she and her story were real. During the time she said she was hospitalized, he would call and hear a respirator on the phone. When he learned she was in a coma, he would call her supposed friend who would let him listen to the sound of his girlfriend's breathing.

And Couric, who reviewed his phone records and voice mails, said there was plenty of reality.

"You listen to their conversations and it's of a boyfriend and a girlfriend, at least from her end," Couric said. "And yes, he stayed on the phone with her for hours upon hours while she was ostensibly in the hospital being treated for leukemia."

Couric played voicemails that Kekua had left for him. In one angry one, she cried after accusing him that another woman had answered the phone when she had called him earlier.

"I don't know who answered your phone and I don't care. I swear on my life I'm trying. You made it clear what you want. Take care," she said.

Te'o told Couric that there was no way that a woman had answered his phone since he was in his room with his phone and his door locked at the time Kekua said she had called.

In another voicemail, she was sweet.

"Hey babe, I'm just calling to say goodnight," she began, signing off with: "I love you so much hun, sweet dreams."

Couric asked if he thought the man who confessed to orchestrating the scheme—an acquaintance named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo—had been impersonating a woman's voice.

"It didn't sound like a man. It sounded like a woman," Te'o said. "But if he somehow made that voice, that's an incredible talent to do that, especially every day."

Tuiasosopo, Te'o said, had contacted him to reveal that the whole thing was a lie and to apologize for letting it go so far for so long.

Te'o said that Tuiasosopo had told him "he just wanted to help people and that this was his way of helping people."

"Obviously I didn't really say anything." Te'o explained. "I was so speechless."

Te'o did admit that he lied to his father and told him he had met the woman he had called the love of his life, in person.

"The biggest lie that I'm sorry for is the lie I told my dad." he said, adding that he always aims to please his parents.

Both his parents became emotional as they defended their son.

"I've known him 21 years of his life," his father said. "And he is not a liar." He said he worried for his son's safety when he learned the full story. He pointed out that Manti was at the end of his career and blackmail crossed his mind. "Is something going to solicit him later on?" he wondered.

His mother talked about how she and her husband had also been sucked into the hoax and had spoken to Kekua on the phone. But she also said that Manti's devotion to this woman—fake or not—as she battled with an illness, confirmed the kind of person he is.

"I am proud of his character."

Photo Credit: AP

Sandy Victims Shiver Through Cold Snap with No Heat


As temperatures hover well below freezing for a third day this week, some New Yorkers on Long who are still rebuilding after Sandy have been enduring the cold without any heat.

The problem for these Island Park, N.Y., residents, according to gas provider National Grid, is that moisture left from Sandy has frozen in the pipes carrying gas to heat the homes.

"You think that Sandy's over, and it's not over," said homeowner Marty Lampart.

In all, some 80 homes in the area have been affected, according to National Grid spokeswoman Wendy Ladd.

The coldest weather gripped the region Wednesday and Thursday, with temperatures starting out in the teens and creeping up to the mid-20s during the day. Subzero wind chills are making the already freezing temperatures feel even colder.

National Grid has set up a command post in Island Park, as crews go house to house, trying to correct the problem.

Despite that effort, several homeowners said the heat has been coming on, then going out since Tuesday.

"I knew it was out when I saw my breath this morning," said Ira Tennant, who has lost his heat, then regained it and lost it again.  

Leonard D'Angelo, whose indoor thermostat read 56 degrees, said he wears outerwear just to get by inside.

"I'm dressed inside like I would be outside," he said.

Several homes in the town remain boarded up and damaged, nearly three months after Sandy.  Some did not return to their homes and see heat restored until November.

National Grid says it will keep working in the area until the cold snap lifts. That might not be until Monday.

Threats, Slurs Found Written at Avon High School


Avon police are investigating after the discovery of threatening messages written on school property at Avon High School.

The threats were directed at school staff and included racial slurs and anti-Semitic epithets, according to police. The writings also threatened destruction of school property, police said.

It was not clear when the messages were discovered.

A joint released by the Avon Police Department and the Central Office of Avon Public Schools said school officials are "following appropriate processes in response to what was discovered," but did not clarify what those processes are.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Wind Chill Puts State in Deep Freeze


Connecticut continues to feel the deep freeze.

Temperatures across the state were expected to dip below zero in some places on Thursday night into Friday morning, according to NBC Connecticut Chief Meteorologist Brad Field.

Gusting winds could produce wind chills from 10 to 20 below zero inland and zero to 10 below along the shoreline.

Several cities and towns have opened warming centers for people who need them.

A coastal storm will move out to sea south of Connecticut, sparing the state any real snow on Friday. Some towns may see a dusting to one inch of snow, while other areas see no snow at all.

Temperatures over the weekend are forecast to remain in the 20s for highs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bullet Found on Stafford School Bus


Lockdowns at Stafford schools have been lifted after a bus driver found a bullet on the seat of a school bus while doing a sweep of the vehicle on Thursday morning.  

The bus company, First Student, contacted state police at 8:30 a.m. and  the high school, along with Stafford Middle School and Stafford Elementary School, were placed on lockdown.

Police responded to the high, middle and elementary schools, as well as St. Edward's School in Stafford, seized the bullet and documented the runs, as well as the students who had been on the bus where the bullet was found, according to state police.

For hours, no one other than investigators were allowed into or out of the school as police investigated. Outside, parents waited and were later allowed to pick their children up.

Police completed their search as of 11:45 a.m. and found no additional bullets or contraband.

The lockdowns have been lifted. 

The Stafford Resident State Trooper will continue to investigate to determine where the bullet came from.

Photo Credit: Stephania Jimenez

Firefighters Battle Fire in Frigid Temps


Multiple fire crews responded to a house fire in East Windsor Thursday night in frigid conditions.

Crews were dispatched to 67 North Main Street at around 8:47 p.m., said Tolland County Dispatch.

According to police, mutual aid from Enfield, Broadbrook, and Windsor Locks assisted the East Windsor Fire Department because the temperture was so cold.

Police closed off North Main Street between Bridge and Pleasant Streets.

No one was injured.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.


Colchester Woman Arrested for Stealing 22 Years Ago Returns Home


A Colchester woman is back home after spending nearly a week in a Florida jail after being arrested on a warrant for stealing cigarettes more than two decades ago.

Robin Hall was exiting from the Disney Dream Cruise with her entire family when authorities took her into custody.

Hall, a mother of two, never paid the $85 in court fees following her 1991 arrest. The ship docked in Brevard County Florida, but her original arrest was in Orange County.

With it being a holiday on Monday, she could not be transferred to Orange County until Tuesday. She would have to spend the weekend locked up.

“I take full responsibility. I shoplifted cigarettes.I deserved a punishment but not this.”

Hall says she was angry and scared while the hour turned to days behind bars, but she credits the fellow female inmates with reassuring her everything would be alright.

She says the hardest part of the whole weekend was explaining it to her 7-year old daughter.

“You don't know how to explain to her that mommy did something bad and I don't know when I'm coming home.”

A judge did hear her case on Tuesday and she was sentenced to time served. She does have advice for anyone planning a trip.

“If you have anything in your past you might have questions about - get a background check done. Just take care of your stuff”

Residents Use Social Media to Help Make Roads Safer


One community in East Haven is fed up with drivers breaking the law and are getting help from police by using social media.

Cars blow through a four way intersection at Thompson Avenue and Tyler Street right in front of Valerie Faticone's home.

"They never stop," said Faticone, who's lived in the home 12 years.

"All of sudden you'll be sitting there and you'll hear a 'bam' and you jump off your couch and you're like oh my god! Somebody is going to come through these stop signs and they are going to hit somebody walking their dog or with their children."

East Haven police say this is one of their problem streets along with Hemingway Avenue which is one of the biggest arteries in the city. Sergeant Joe Murgo says he doesn't have a specific reason why people are disobeying traffic laws other than that drivers are using less care.

Officers are focusing their efforts on these streets by using social media--hearing about problem areas from concerned neighbors through the department's new Facebook page.

"People are actually reaching out to us," Murgo said. "They're giving us inbox messages if they don't want to post on our wall. It's turned into a tipline asking for help in saturating areas with more important crimes and more violent things," he added.

Murgo says the social networking site has helped bridge the gap between the community and the department so that they focus on dangerous intersections like Thompson and Tyler as well as roads like Hemingway and other issues residents might have.

East Haven Police said Facebook is another way to reach out and heal its relationship with the community in the wake of the racial profiling scandal that's rocked the department for years.


New Contract between the City of New Haven and Police Union


After a year and a half without a contract, New Haven's finest could soon be seeing a new 5-year deal.

“Yesterday, the City and the Police Negotiating Committee reached a tentative agreement.  It now has to go to the membership,” said New Haven Mayor John DeStefano.

The contract has been a hot button issue with New Haven's police officers and even led to some expedited retirements because of the threat of what could happen.  The officers are worried about their wages, health care and pension.  The City is worried about burdening the taxpayers with too large of a police budget.

“It's a fair contract in the sense that it preserves what's important to the union in terms of wages and benefits, and I think for us what it does it delivers to taxpayers an affordable agreement,” said Mayor DeStefano.

However, not all the rank and file believe it's fair, and they're worried about their livelihood.

Police Union President Lou Cavalier, Jr. says the contract keeps things pretty much status quo.  It provides a nine percent wage increase over the entire contract, only a small increase in benefit payments and keeps a pension for veteran officers after 20 years on the force.  New officers coming onto the job wouldn't see the same benefits, but would have that information ahead of time.

“This was, again, not everybody getting everything they wanted, choosing to compromise and choosing to the best of our availability to avoid going to a third party to settle it,” said Mayor DeStefano.

If the police officers approve the new deal, it has to be approved by the Board of Aldermen.  The contract would run through 2016.

Victoria Beach Rebuilds After Hurricane Sandy


Like many others living along Cosey Beach Avenue, the people who live in the Victoria Beach condos noticed a great change to their backyard after two powerful storms.

“Well Irene came and [took] it out totally, and caused a lot of erosion.  We were in the process of redoing it, through our paperwork, and Sandy came,” said Pat Marchitto, President of the Victoria Beach Condo Association.

Marchitto says what it looks like now is an improvement.  After Sandy, there were no bags shoring up the sand berm outside. 

“We had to actually cut a stairway out from that first deck because it was hanging in mid-air and it was pulling against the building,” said Marchitto.

But now, Victoria Beach can start rebuilding the berm.  The DEEP approved the project within 60 days after a fight by the East Haven delegation.

“We're creating what's known as a living shoreline, and I would suggest that this project at Victoria Beach is the first one of its kind in the State of Connecticut,” said State Sen. Len Fasano.

Now that the new berm has been approved, an engineer will be drawing up plans on how to rebuild it.  Then the condo association will be putting the project out to bid.  Residents here say they're so relieved that this project has been approved.

“It's totally, all work will be on our property.  The toe of the wall, the berm, sand, the sea grass, everything is on our property,” said Marchitto.

The berm will be paid for by the Victoria Beach residents, but it's a necessary measure to take to protect their shoreline homes.

“If another one came through, one of these quote hundred-year storms, that we've been getting every year, it would have been devastation for Victoria Beach,” said East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo.


Crews Battle Factory Fire in Berlin


Crews battled a factory fire in Berlin at 555 Wethersfield Road. It was out as of 7 a.m.

No injuries are reported.

The building is almost 22,000 square feet, according to the assessor's office.


Photo Credit: Steve Miller, NBC Connecticut

Madison Woman Killed in Guilford Crash


A 23-year-old Madison woman was killed in a crash on Saw Mill Road in Guilford late on Thursday night.

Police have identified the woman as Michelle Noble, 23, and said she was suffering from trauma when responded to Flat Meadow Road and Saw Mill Road at 11:41 p.m. on Thursday.

The Guilford Fire Department transported her to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police said the preliminary investigation indicates that the vehicle was traveling north on Saw Mill Road when the driver lost control at Flat Meadow Road and the car went into the woods. 

The driver and two other occupants were transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where they are being treated for injuries.

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information about this crash to call the Guilford Police.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Shelton Police Make Assault Weapon Arrest


Shelton police charged a 58-year-old local man with possession of a banned assault weapon after finding a rifle made in China that several features had been added to, police said.

Police said they found the Norinco brand AK-47 while investigating a domestic dispute at a Shelton Road residence on Jan. 11.

Because of threats made at the house, police went into the home that night and removed all of Michael Soda’s weapons, police said. Police said there had been ongoing domestic issues at the house.

As investigators went through the weapons, they determined that one of the rifles -- a Norinco brand AK-47 in 7.62 x 39 mm assault rifle made in China – was a banned assault rifle because of several features added to it. 

Soda surrendered at police headquarters on Thursday after learning a warrant was issued charging him with two counts of disorderly conduct and one count of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 

He posted a court-set $5,000 and will be arraigned in Derby Superior Court today.

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