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State Digging Out From Another Round of Snow


Driving conditions are difficult and numerous accidents have been reported as snow winds down after dumping several inches across the state.

White-out conditions affected travel on Interstate 84 in the Manchester area and police had to close Cedar Mountain in Newington because it was impassible. The road has since reopened.

Route 12 in Plainfield has also been closed due to a fatal crash.

State police said they have responded to 72 crashes, including nine with minor injuries. They responded to 850 calls for service and provided assistance to 108 drivers.

Since midnight, AAA has received 928 calls for emergency road service in Hartford, Middlesex, Tolland, Windham and New London counties, many of which were for stuck cars, jump starts and battery service. 

A number of schools closed in advance of the storm. UConn canceled classes at its Storrs and Greater Hartford campuses starting at 2 p.m. Central Connecticut State University closed at 1:30 p.m.

In addition to several schools, businesses began closing ahead of the storm and several parking bans have been issued. Check for snow closings and delays here.

The state Board of Education rescheduled a meeting planned for tonight. The meeting will now be held Monday, Feb. 24 at 5:30 p.m. at the Journalism and Media Magnet Academy, 150 Tower Avenue in Hartford.

At Bradley Airport, six flights were canceled and several more were delayed. Passengers are advised to check with their airlines prior to traveling.

The state Department of Motor Vehicle canceled all Tuesday road tests. To reschedule, call 860-263-5700 if you're in the Hartford area or 1-800-842-8222 outside Hartford.

All Department of Motor Vehicle officers closed at 2:15 p.m. because of the weather.

The DMV is also reminding drivers that they are required to remove snow and ice from hoods, trunks and roofs or face fines ranging from $75 to $1,250.

Drivers of commercial vehicles and passenger cars and trucks who drive a vehicle with accumulated snow and ice can be fined $75. However, the law calls for stiffer penalties when there’s personal or property damage from the flying elements.

In cases like that, the driver of a commercial vehicle faces a fine up to $1,250 and a passenger car or small truck driver can be fined up to $1,000. Drivers are exempt from the fines when the snow, sleet and freezing rain begins or continues while the vehicle is traveling. Parked vehicles are also exempt from the required removal of ice and snow.

When you see snow, share your photos with us at shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.



Lawsuit: Cops Can't Prohibit Personal Drone Use


A Hartford man is filing a lawsuit against the Hartford police department and two of its members, claiming they violated his civil rights when officers demanded that he stop flying a drone over a crime scene and detained him, according to court paperwork filed on Tuesday.

The plaintiff in the case, Pedro Rivera, of Hartford, is filing a suit against Lt. Brian Foley, the commander of the major crimes division of the Hartford police department, Sgt. Edward Yergeau and the police department, according to the complaint.

It alleges that Rivera’s Fourth Amendment and First Amendment rights were violated.

The incident at the center of the case happened on Feb. 1, when Rivera responded to a fatal crash in Hartford that he heard on a police scanner.

Rivera’s attorney maintains that he was standing in a public place outside of the crime scene as he operated his drone at 150 feet.

Rivera works as a photographer and editor at WFSB, but was not acting as an employee of the television station at the time, according to that complaint.

While Rivera made that clear to police officers at the scene, he acknowledged that he does, from time to time, forward the video feed from his drone to WFSB.

Last week, WFSB release a statement.

“WFSB does not own or utilize any drone devices. The person identified in the police report is a temporary, on-call employee of WFSB. However, he was not working for the station on the day
of the incident. He was not assigned to shoot video of the crime scene by WFSB and has never been compensated for any drone video,” Klarn DePalma, vice president and general manager of WFSB, said in a statement released on Feb. 7.

Rivera’s complaint says Yergeau and other uniformed members of the Hartford Police Department surrounded him, demanded his identification card and asked him what he was doing.

Rivera did not feel that he was “free to leave during the course of this questioning,” according to his attorney. 

Yergeau and other uniformed members of the police department demanded that Rivera stop operating the drone over the crash scene and that he leave the area, according to the complaint.

The court complaint argues that Rivera did not violate any state or federal law and that he was not operating a “civil aircraft.”

The complaint states that private citizens do not need local, state or federal approval to operate a remote-controlled model aircraft and that police impeded Rivera’s First Amendment rights in monitoring the police response to a motor vehicle crash.

The complaint also states that Foley contacted Rivera’s employer, spoke to a supervisor, complained that Rivera interfered with the police department’s investigation and compromised the crime scene’s “integrity” and requested that the station discipline Rivera, the complaints says.

It goes on to say that Rivera was suspended form work for at least a week because Lt. Foley contacted his employer, causing the loss of a week of wages, emotion distress and the loss of his constitutional right.

DePalma released another statement on Tuesday:

"We never suspended Mr. Rivera.  He is not a full-time employee but rather someone we use from time to time to fill in when we need photographers," DePalma said in the statement.

Hartford police had no comment on the suit.

Rivera is looking for compensatory damages, punitive damages as well as declaratory relief that operation of a drone in this manner does not violate any federal, local or state law or regulation.

He is also asking that the Hartford Police Department not interfere with the lawful operation of drones.

The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered an investigation into the use of the drone.

Lt. Foley previously said there were concerns about the officers' safety and the victim's privacy.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cruise Worker Assaulted Woman: FBI


A crewmember on a Holland America Line cruise ship has been arrested after he sexually assaulted a guest in her room last Friday, FBI officials said Tuesday.

Ketut Pujayasa, 28, who is an Indonesian citizen, was arrested when the MS Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship returned to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday morning, the FBI said in a statement.

He faces federal charges of attempt to commit murder and aggravated sexual abuse after the alleged assault on the cruise ship, which took place on Valentine’s Day while the vessel was in international waters, the FBI said.

The victim, a 31-year-old American woman, was assaulted by him in her stateroom during Friday’s early morning hours, as the ship was on a seven-day western Caribbean charter cruise, Holland America Line said in a statement.

In the FBI’s criminal complaint Pujayasa said that while he was delivering room service, he knocked three different times. He said the woman disrespected him and his parents by saying through the door “Wait a minute, son of a b----.” The staffer said he was furious for the rest of the day, according to the complaint.

Pujayasa admitted to FBI agents that while he was off-duty he entered the woman’s room with his company-issued master key, and hid on the balcony waiting for her to return, the complaint said.

He told agents that when the woman got into bed he immediately choked and punched her numerous times. She resisted and attempted to defend herself, but during the attack Pujayasa proceeded to strike her with a laptop and curling iron, and he tried to strangle the victim with a curling iron cord, the complaint said.

The woman was able to fight off Pujayasa by stabbing him with a corkscrew, according to the complaint. She escaped and found another passenger in the hallway who offered her first aid.

The woman was stabilized in the hospital on board. She disembarked the ship on Saturday in Roatan, Honduras, and was taken by air to a hospital in the U.S., according to the cruise line.

“Holland America Line is continuing to provide full support to the guest and has flown her family to be with her while she receives treatment,” the company said.

The FBI and other authorities were immediately notified about the incident, with Pujayasa placed under guard and the crime scene secured, Holland America Line said. Pujayasa has been fired, the company said.

“We are terribly saddened by the senseless assault that took place on the MS Nieuw Amsterdam this past Friday, Feb. 14. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and her family during this difficult time,” Holland America Line said. “While no words can adequately express our shock at this event, this has shaken the entire Holland America family to our very core. We continue to work closely with authorities to understand how this incident occurred and what additional actions we can take to help ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

Pujayasa is being held in the Broward County Main Jail, online jail records showed. It wasn't immediately known whether he has an attorney.

Holland America Line said Pujayasa was hired in 2012 after careful screening that included a clean criminal history check. He had good references and no performance issues, the company said.

“At Holland America Line, the safety of our guests is our highest priority, and we are shocked and deeply saddened by this incident,” President and CEO Stein Kruse said. “To our knowledge, no incident like this has occurred in our company's 140-year history.”

Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Soldier Surprises Daughter, 9


A 9-year-old suburban Chicago girl who hadn't seen her military father in 14 months was shocked to see him appear at her school Tuesday.

Petty Ofc. Steven Jones appeared at Mae Jemison School in Hazel Crest during the lunch hour, much to the surprise of his daughter, Madison, and her fourth-grade classmates.

It took a few seconds for Madison to register what was going on before bursting into tears and flinging herself into her father's arms.

"I feel amazing that my daddy is back. I missed him so much," Madison said.

"It was great. It's my baby, so I miss her, and I'm crying, too. It's a wonderful feeling," Steven Jones said.

Madison's mother, Yasmin, was also there for the reunion. She said the surprise was planned for several months, and now she's happy to not have to live the single-parent life anymore.

"A vacation," Yasmin said when asked what she planned to do now that her husband is home. "Daddy duty in full effect."

An extra bonus for Madison? She got to leave school early. The very first thing father and daughter planned to do was watch "Little Mermaid."

Steven Jones has been serving overseas in Afghanistan.

Legislature Moving Forward on Internet Sweepstakes Ban


Lawmakers took the next step in an attempt to drive internet sweepstakes games out of Connecticut on Tuesday.

State Sen. Dante Bartolomeo, of Meriden, testified in a public safety committee hearing regarding Senate Bill 102, an act prohibiting internet sweepstakes cafes.

Bartolomeo testified that the slot-style sweepstakes games are Class C gambling and violate the compact between the state and tribal casinos.

She stressed the need to shut down the internet sweepstakes related businesses before they “spread like a cancer” throughout the state.

An NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation shedding light on the businesses that offer these sweepstakes games aired just two-and-a-half weeks ago.

Sen. Bartolomeo, along with Public Safety Committee Chair State Sen. Joan Hartley, of Waterbury, held a press conference the day after the story aired proposing the legislation.

Last week, state and local police raided business centers in Enfield and Bloomfield that were featured in our investigation.

Our undercover cameras showed dozens of people, mostly seniors, playing these sweepstakes games and winning money.

Operators of the games tell us they’re legal and do not violate any state gambling laws because the winners are pre-determined and they’re free to play – depending on how much money you spend on other things inside the store.

Stephen Scott, the manager of the Mouse Pad Business Center and Tech Solutions, is facing charges of operating gambling devices and maintaining a gambling premises.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in court on Feb. 25.

Attorneys for Scott would not comment on the charges or the proposed legislation.

Bartolomeo says there will be another public hearing on the proposed bill in the coming weeks.

Dozens of Homes Affected by Water Main Break in Hartford


Thirty-eight homes, 150 apartments and a school is without water while crews work to repair a water main break on Broadview Terrace in Hartford.

The break happened Tuesday evening and water service was shut down around 7:20 p.m., according to an MDC representative.

Two additional 8-inch water mains were shut down by 9:30 p.m., including one on Sherbrooke Avenue and another on Chandler Street.

The Mary Hooker School is without water but is unoccupied. One of the mains supplies water to the A.I. Prince Technical High School on Flatbush Avenue, but the school is also serviced by another main and still has water, according to MDC. School officials have been informed.

MDC said the schools are expected to open on time Wendesday.

Hartford police said the break caused a "huge crack in the road with water pouring out of it."

The affected homes are located on Broadview Terrace between the intersections with Coolidge Street and Sherbrooke Avenue, according to MDC.

Repairs will take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours and should be finished sometime between 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.

Hartford police are at the scene and road closures are in effect.

The eight-inch water main was installed in 1950. 

View Larger Map

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Murder Charges in Building Collapse


The backhoe operator implicated in last summer's deadly building collapse in Philadelphia is facing upgraded charges.

Sean Benschop, a.k.a. Kary Roberts, had six counts of involuntary manslaughter upgraded to charges of third degree murder during a preliminary hearing in the Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday. The man has pled not guilty to the charges.

Benschop, 43, was operating the excavator at the site of a building demolition at 2136 Market Street on the morning of June 5, 2013 when the building's western wall collapsed. The four-story brick wall was free-standing and had not been braced using demolition equipment.

The debris from the wall crushed the one-story Salvation Army Thrift Shop next door, on the corner of 22nd and Market Streets, burying shoppers and store clerks alive. Six people died in the collapse, and 13 others were injured.

The most severely injured person, Mariya Plekan, had both legs amputated at the hips after being pinned beneath the brick, steel and glass debris for more than 12 hours. She spent five months in the hospital.

Benschop was arrested shortly after the collapse and underwent drug and alcohol tests. Police said those tests came up positive for prescription painkiller and marijuana use. The man, however, did have a broken arm, for which he said the painkillers were being used.

He and his family have maintained the man's innocence during the entire ordeal. His attorney, Daine Grey, told NBC10 Philadelphia in September 2013 that he believed evidence would vindicate his client.

Along with the newly upgraded charges, Benschop also still faces 13 counts of reckless endangerment. Should he be found not guilty of the murder charges he could still be found guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Benschop was the only man charged in the case for several months, until Griffin T. Campbell, the contractor on the job, was arrested last November.

Campbell, 49, stands charged with six counts of third degree murder, six counts of involuntary manslaughter and 13 counts of recklessly endangering another person.

Several investigations were launched in the wake of the collapse including the convening of a grand jury. The grand jury came back with their findings in November 2013 and along with that presentment, came the charges against Campbell.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said the building was not properly demolished and that those involved ignored safety advice.

He also said additional charges could be brought forward at a later time based on the investigation.

Plato Marinakos, the architect and the expeditor for the construction project at the building, also spoke in court on Tuesday and provided prosecutors with pictures he took with his camera a day before the collapse.

Marinakos, a key witness for prosecutors in their case against Benschop and Campbell, was granted immunity in exchange for his testimony.

“This whole construction site became extraordinarily dangerous very quickly,” said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Selber. “Plato Marinakos himself didn’t get there until 6 p.m. on the Tuesday evening before the collapse. When he saw the inherent danger, he immediately told Griffin Campbell, who knew anyway.”

Jay Bryan, the father of Anne Bryan, who was killed in the collapse, told NBC10 he hoped the ongoing grand jury investigation would lead to more results.

"We're grateful that it sounds like the investigation is ongoing," Bryan said. "We hope that everyone will be held accountable from bottom to top."


Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

Woman's Body Pulled From Connecticut River


A woman's body was pulled from the Connecticut River on Wednesday morning following a water search in the area of the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown, according to Middletown police.

The victim has not been identified.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia

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Metro-North Commuters Voice Their Concerns


Train riders did not hold back their feelings about Metro-North. They were invited to speak out during a special forum in Fairfield.

"If this were a restaurant quite frankly no one would eat there," said Spencer Brown, who takes Metro-North every day from Westport to Grand Central. "If this were an airline and you had a choice nobody would fly it... The bottom line here is that service on metro north is deplorable. And it's not something that's occurred over the last year."

Commuter after commuter vented Tuesday night to a panel including Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker and railroad officials. The Connecticut Transportation Lobby hosted the forum.

"We're not just commuters we're family people. We depend on that railroad to get us to our office in the morning," said Westport resident Thomas Orofino.

"I don't believe that you guys care enough. I don't because we shouldn't be telling you this for the first time," said Neal Edelson, also of Westport.

Commissioner Redeker acknowledged the tough times the railroad has gone through over the past seven months, including the 10 day power outage in September in the Bronx and the deadly derailment in December, also in the Bronx.

"It's important for me and metro north to be listening to customers," Redeker said. "There's a lot of frustration. Performance is nowhere where it needs to be.

Performance was among the litany of things that was nagging at customers. Overcrowding was another.

"Standing in an aisle for an hour or hour and 20 minutes to get to work you feel like you need a shave and a haircut by the time you get there," said Orsino.

"We're not customers. We're like animals half the time we're commuting," Edelson added.

On Tuesday the National Transportation Safety Board recommended improvements for the railroad that included inward and outward recorders on trains and speed limit signs at all locations where one isn't already there.

Locals Cheer on Branford Native and Olympic Medalist


In a town known for pink granite and the Thimble Islands, Branford now has another claim to fame.

While many of the locals we talked to know little about snowboard cross, they're all about Alex Deibold, a Branford native who reached the podium with a bronze-medal finish in Sochi on Tuesday.

As the regulars gathered at Branford's Cue & Brew restaurant and sports bar, billiards took a backseat to the snow in Sochi and the shoreline native who's made it big in the Caucasus Mountains.

"Alex: Go get it baby. You deserve it," said John Bencivengo, Jr., who was overcome with excitement watching Deibold compete. "A Branford local guy – a local guy; how great is that?"

Across town at Tommy Sullivan's Cafe, the snowboard cross specialist was celebrated by his one-time neighbor Nancy Fryer.

"It's very exciting," said Fryer, a longtime Branford resident. "I got texts from my daughters in Colorado and they all wanted to know if this was the kid that they remembered from the street. I said, 'Yes!'"

By the end of the night, the rooting turned to regaling as the 27-year-old Diebold secured some Olympic hardware.

"He's got the bronze and we're so excited about that," said Fryer. "It's wonderful."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Fire Damages Eagles Nest Restaurant in Terryville


A fire heavily damaged the Eagles Nest Restaurant on Route 6 in Terryville on Wednesday.

Flames broke out at the restaurant  at 163 Main Street around 9:30 a.m., according to fire officials.  There were 35 to 40 people in the restaurant at the time of the fire, but everyone was able to get out safely, fire officials said.

The restaurant suffered extensive damage and may take months to repair.  The Eagles Nest will be closed until further notice, according to the restaurant's owners.

The fire appears to have started in the basement, according to fire officials.

Apartments above the restaurant were also damaged.  Those residents are being assisted by the building's landlord.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Freezing Rain Continues to Fall Statewide


Rain and freezing rain will continue into the evening around the state and could cause patches of black ice on the roads.

Winter weather advisories are in effect for northern areas of the state through 8 p.m. Wednesday evening.

Freezing rain advisories issued for Fairfield, Middlesex and New Haven counties expired at 4 p.m.

Up to 3 inches of fresh snow fell today in Litchfield County. The snow has since moved out, but rain will continue throughout the evening statewide.

Temperatures are still below freezing in inland areas of Connecticut, and any rain could freeze on the roads. Any roads that appear wet should be considered icy, said Meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan.

Temperatures remain in the 30s around the state.

We'll see a warm up over the next couple days, but will return to below-normal temps next week.

Photo Credit: Brian Ohler

Comedy Show Will Benefit Injured Police Officer


A night of laughter will help a New Britain police officer who was badly injured in the line of duty last month. 

On Feb. 21, “Chaz & AJ In The Morning” will host a benefit comedy show for recovering Officer Brett Morgan, who was run over by a stolen car last month.

Morgan has had several surgical procedures and intensive rehabilitation therapy. He was recently released from the hospital, but continues to go through therapy and rehabilitation as he works to recover from his injuries. 

“Stand Up For Brett,” the Chaz & AJ Benefit Comedy Show for Officer Brett Morgan, will be held on Friday Feb. 21 at Trinity On Main at 69 Main Street in New Britain.

The doors open at 7 p.m. and the show is at 8 p.m.

Dave Reilly, from MTV and Fox, and Gary Pettinella, the “Bad Boy of Comedy,” will perform.

Joey Mitchell will host the event and Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara will also make an appearance.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at www.wplr.com and www.959thefox.com. All proceeds will benefit The Brett Morgan Benefit Fund, which will help Officer Morgan and his family to deal with the medical expenses.

“Everyday officers and firefighters put themselves at risk for complete strangers,” morning show co-host Chaz said in a statement. “When we heard about this, how could we not help?”

Another fundraiser will be held on Feb. 23,

Bolo Bakery & Café, at 33 Whiting St in Plainville, will host a fundraiser on Feb. 23, from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The shop will donate 25 percent of all sales to Officer Morgan’s Benefit Fund at the New Britain Police Department. Donations will also be accepted.

The Fund:

The New Britain Police Department and New Britain Police Union have set up the Brett Morgan Benefit Fund at TD Bank.

To donate to the fund, go to any TD Bank branch and ask to make a contribution to the Brett Morgan Benefit Fund c/o Robert Martin New Britain Police Department.

You can also donate by mailing checks to the New Britain Police Department, Brett Morgan Benefit Fund, 10 Chestnut Street, New Britain CT, 06051. Checks should be made payable to the “Brett Morgan Benefit Fund.”

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

4 Students Injured in Explosion


Chicago students were temporarily evacuated Wednesday morning after a fire during a cooking class at Northside College Prep High School, police said.

Four teens were injured in the incident, which happened at about 10:30 a.m. at the school on the 5500 block of North Kedzie, Police News Affairs said. The students were taken to area hospitals, one in serious-to-critical condition, two in fair condition and one in good condition, fire officials said.

One student suffered facial burns, according to reports.

Police initially said some sort of explosion occurred at the lab.

"During a routine cooking instruction, there was an incident with a single-burner stove that resulted in a small fire," Chicago Public Schools spokesman Joel Hood said in a statement."The school responded immediately. All students were evacuated from school for a short time until it was determined that they could return safely. An investigation is underway."

CPS said students were immediately evacuated from the lab, and the fire was isolated and extinguished. Parents were notified via robo-calls and a letter sent home with students.

It's not clear what caused the incident, but a hazmat crew was called to the scene along with several fire trucks and an ambulance.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports the students were heating hot chocolate on gas burners in the lab when a fire started.

Check back for more details on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com

Injuries Reported in Crash on I-84 West in Southington


Injuries are reported in a rollover crash on Interstate 84 West by exit 32 in Southington.

The highway is not closed, but traffic delays are growing.

The crash is by the Queen Street exit.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras

Police Radio, Imitation Handguns Found in Massive Drug Bust


Twelve men and one woman are facing charges following a New Haven drug bust that turned up crack cocaine, heroin, a West Haven police radio set to the New Haven Police Department channel and two facsimile handguns.

The suspects were arrested following a string of gang-related drug crimes, according to police.

Police believe they’re connected to drug gangs known as the “Playboys” and “88 Boys,” which operate in the Foxon Hill area of New Haven.

The arrests come in the wake of three police searches executed at 12 Bouchet Lane, 297 Foxon Road and 437 Eastern Street.

Investigators found drug paraphernalia at the home at Bouchet Lane and in the second-floor apartment on Foxon Road. The two handguns were also discovered at the Foxon Road apartment, according to police.

The police radio, along with 8 grams of crack cocaine, 60 bags of heroin, drug packaging materials and $1,400 cash were found at 437 Eastern Street, police said.

The following New Haven residents were arrested:

  • Vincent Clark, known as “Pudge,” 18, and Edwin Rodriguez, known as “Shorty,” 25, who were reportedly in possession of 6.8 grams of heroin, 5 grams of cocaine and about $900 cash
  • Shan Thompson, 25
  • Justin Q. Wright, known as “Pooka,” 23, who was charged with the sale of narcotics and has a prior robbery conviction
  • Vincent Ayala, 25, who was charged with the sale of narcotics
  • Jose Nieves, known as “Dave,” 26, who was charged with two counts of the sale of narcotics
  • Calvin Brunson, known as “Cool,” 50
  • Kari Massey, 18
  • Melvin Suggs, 25
  • Mark Harvin, 20
  • Timothy Ingram, 23, who was charged with two counts of conspiracy to sell narcotics
  • Carmela Stankiewicz, 39, who was charged with two counts of selling narcotics and conspiracy to sell narcotics
  • Marquis Moore, 28

Police said Massey, Suggs and Harvin are behind bars. Authorities expect to make additional arrests.

Rollover Crash Sends 2 Adults, 2 Children to Hospital


Two adults and two children were taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries following a car crash on Trout Brook Drive in West Hartford that severely damaged both cars involved, according to police.

Police said 18-year-old Nhi Phan was driving southbound on Trout Brook Drive in the area of Fern Street around 10:40 Wednesday morning when she lost control of her vehicle, which slid into the northbound lane and struck a car driven by Erik Beard, 41.

Phan’s Nissan Pathfinder rolled over onto the passenger side. Phan, Beard and Beard’s two 6- and 7-year-old children, who had been buckled into car seats, were taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Both cars were heavily damaged and were towed from the scene, police said.

Phan told police she had braked for a car that had slowed down in front of her. She was issued a citation for driving too fast for the road conditions.

Hartford Students Back to School After Snow Days


Students at Hartford Public Schools were back in school Wednesday for the first time in almost a week.

After three snow days and Presidents Day off, parents were eager to get back to work and get their children back in class. However, the sidewalks outside of the E.B. Kennelly school were still slippery Wednesday morning.

“It’s just scary hopefully they don’t get hit by these drivers not paying attention,” said Joseph White, of Hartford.

Crossing guards spent the morning clearing openings in the snow banks along White Street so students could walk safely, but the piles were still getting in the way

“I managed to chop some down,” said crossing guard Beverly Adamcewicz. “The sun will have to do its job for the rest, and hopefully I will be able to get the kids across.”

There have been six snow days so far for Hartford Public Schools, compared to eight in total last year.

Many are hoping the weather will hold up for the rest of the season so summer doesn't get any shorter.

Project CHILD Brings Students a New Way to Learn


The days of one teacher as one-stop shopping are gone at Chamberlain Elementary School in New Britain.

Welcome to Project CHILD, which stands for “Changing How Instruction for Learning is Delivered.”

It’s best described by student Jayden Lopez, who explained that “one teacher will know mostly everything about, let's say math, and one teacher will know about reading and writing.”

The initiative is designed to help children benefit from the strengths of multiple teachers and ensure their educations are well rounded.

“In 2008, we started using Project CHILD; we started using the model,” said Chamberlain Elementary School Principal Jane Perez. “And we have seen continuous, significant improvement ever since.”

Project CHILD organizes the school day in a non-traditional way. Teachers specialize in a subject area and stay with the same group of students to teach that subject for a few years.

“Having them for three years, I know exactly what they need to work on, I know exactly what they need to focus on, so I don't have to waste any time,” said reading teacher Craig Muzzy. “I know them, I know what they need to do, and they develop that relationship with me as well.”

And so far, Chamberlain officials say it has been a success. Test scores have jumped, with 72 percent of students at or above proficiency on the Connecticut Mastery Tests in math, as opposed to 47 percent before Project CHILD was adopted. Proficient writing scores have increased from 48 to 65 percent of students, and reading proficiency has spiked from 35 to 50 percent, all in the last five years.

“I think that I learn a subject better when a teacher wants to teach that certain subject,” said student Jessica Taing.

It also helps teachers to better train.

“Working in clusters of teachers – reading, writing, and math – those teachers have developed a system where they develop routines together, and they learn a lot from one another,” explained Perez.

That means more time for small group instruction and hands-on learning that seems to be getting results.

“This is a program that really helps students become very engaged in their learning,” said Perez. “They become self-directed learners.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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