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Ben & Jerry's Ups Goo Factor


Ben & Jerry’s has unveiled four new ice cream flavors, but it’s what in the middle of the pint that is getting all the attention.

The Vermont-based company, known for limited-batch flavors with off-beat names, has come up with a new ice cream concept which they are calling “Cores.” The ice cream features a column of gooey goodness running down the center.

The new "Core" flavors include “Hazed & Confused,” “Peanut Butter Fudge,” “Salted Caramel” and “That's My Jam.”

“Hazed and Confused” is chocolate and hazelnut ice cream with fudge chips and a hazelnut fudge core.

“Peanut Butter Fudge” has chocolate and peanut butter ice cream with mini peanut butter cups and a peanut butter fudge.

“Salted Caramel” is sweet cream ice cream with blonde brownies and a salted caramel core.

“That's My Jam” is chocolate and raspberry ice cream on either side of a raspberry core.

The flavors were inspired by the ice-cream maker's popular Karamel Sutra flavor, which is chocolate and caramel ice cream with fudge chips and a caramel core, the company said in a press release Monday.

“We wanted to blow out the concept of fun flavors, chunks and swirls and take it over the top,” said  Ben & Jerry's lead flavor developer Eric Fredette.

The pints cost $4.39 each and will be available in U.S. stores in February.

Ice cream lovers everywhere rejoiced at Ben & Jerry's announcment, taking to social media to share their execitment about the new treats:

Photo Credit: Ben & Jerry's

Driver Pleads Guilty in Meriden Fatal Crash


The man who caused a drunken crash in Meriden that killed two young children pleaded guilty today on several counts and will be sentenced in April.

Police said Israel Gonzalez, 29, was drunk early on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 3 when he struck the car carrying three children and two adults. Blood alcohol tests revealed that he was more than three times over the legal limit.

He was charged with manslaughter, assault with a motor vehicle and operating a vehicle under the influence in connection with the November 3 crash that killed 5-year-old Tatiana Cruz and 8-year-old Lorenzo Cruz, a brother and sister from Meriden.

Gonzalez pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree manslaughter with a motor vehicle, three counts of second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, driving under the influence and evading responsibility.

The family of Michael Cruz and Gina Schroder was in a Subaru Legacy, stopped at a traffic light at Broad Street and Gale Avenue around 2 a.m. when Gonzalez crashed a GMC Denali into the back of it, police said.

Michael Cruz and Gina Schroder, as well as Schroder’s 12-year-old son Alejandro, were injured in the crash.

Alejandro was in the intensive care unit after the crash, but was released from the hospital. Gina had to undergo surgery.

Barbel Valentin, the children's grandmother was in court for a prior hearing and said she is grateful to the people who have been supporting the family through this time. 

Gonzalez was being held on $1 million bond. He will be sentenced on April 21.

As family members began to grieve, they also set up a donation fund to make funeral arrangements and help pay the survivors' medical expenses.

"Their long-term needs is what we're trying to protect and help with," said Cruz. "You know they're obviously going to have a lot of bills and we just want to try and help and be there, with community help. That's our greatest goal."

You can send donations to:

The Cruz and Schroder Memorial Fund
Care of David R. Cavanaugh
Vice President of People United Bank
1310 Silas Dean Highway
Wethersfield CT, 06109

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com and Israel Gonzalez

UTC to Invest Billions in Upgrades, Build New Pratt Headquarters


United Technologies is investing billions in research and development projects around the state and will construct a new Pratt & Whitney headquarters, keeping some 75,000 jobs in the state, UTC Chairman and CEO Louis Chenevert and Gov. Dannel Malloy announced in a news conference Wednesday.

The announcement  $500 million in aerospace research, development and manufacturing and up to $4 billion in research and other capital expenditures in Connecticut, according to Malloy, who met with Chenevert today to discuss the agreement.

"This agreement secures the future of aerospace in Connecticut. It will open a bright new chapter for our aerospace businesses, for our thousands of local suppliers and for the people of Connecticut,” Chenevert said in a statement. “The investments announced today will enable UTC's aerospace businesses to continue to perform cutting-edge research and development in Connecticut and will provide exciting new opportunities for top engineering and science graduates - including the best and brightest from our state's colleges and universities."

Pratt & Whitney will construct a new corporate headquarters, which will remain in Connecticut for at least 15 years. Sikorsky headquarters will remain in-state for at least five years, Malloy said.

The technology giant also plans to create a customer training center at UTC Aerospace Systems in Windsor Locks and build new labs and infrastructure at the United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford.

UTC will additionally fund new research projects and capital investments at Pratt, UTC Aerospace Systems and the United Technologies Research Center.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, one that will make sure we are keeping and creating good-paying jobs with good benefits – not just in the UTC companies, but also in the hundreds of aerospace supply chain companies throughout the state and the region,” Malloy said in a statement. “UTC’s decision to invest now in new facilities in our state is a strong signal of their belief in Connecticut’s talented workforce, commitment to innovation, and determination to build a world-class business climate.”

According to a release from Malloy's office, the agreement will create almost 1,500 construction jobs. The state could reimburse UTC up to $400 million in unused tax credits to help fund the project.

"The agreement is great news for our state and our economy, and represents a turning point in Connecticut's status as a business-friendly state," said Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, a Democrat representing Hamden, in a statement. "UTC's impact reaches all corners of Connecticut as both a major employer and corporate citizen. Their history and importance to our state cannot be overstated, and their commitment to keeping Connecticut home is welcome news."

The above graphic, courtesy of Malloy's office, represents private vs. public investments in the UTC agreement announced today.

Photo Credit: Gov. Dannel Malloy

West Hartford Woman Injured in Crash


A 65-year-old woman is in the hospital following a crash on New Britain Avenue in West Hartford earlier today.

Police said the collision happened around 1 p.m. Wednesday when Laura Rosario, of West Hartford, was driving eastbound on New Britain Avenue. Dung Nguyen, 71, of Windsor, was traveling in the opposite direction and turned left onto Hollywood Avenue, cutting into Rosario’s path.

Neither driver could avoid the crash, according to police. Rosario was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment of injuries. Her condition is unknown.

The cars were both heavily damaged and were towed from the scene, police said. No other people were involved in the crash.

Nguyen was issued an infraction for failure to grant right-of-way while making a left turn.

West Hartford police are actively investigating.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cold Weather Hampers Maple Syrup Season


A season of frigid temperatures is leading to a slow start for those in Connecticut’s maple syrup industry, as many farmers wait for their trees to unfreeze and the sap to flow.

Bob Dobos, of Bedlam and Bats Maple Farm in Chaplin, said he couldn't even tap his trees until this week because they were frozen solid. He usually taps them in late January, but the cold weather led to a delay.

“In the long haul, it means we may end up making half the maple syrup we made last year,” he said.

The polar vortex is making the already short maple syrup season even shorter. A good season usually lasts nine weeks; this year, they're hoping to get in at least four weeks. With no syrup to produce, maple farmers have had to turn down tours and cancel events, waiting for warm weather to thaw out the trees.

However, they say cold could lead to one benefit when it comes to the quality of the syrup.

“The cold weather keeps the sap nice and clear and you end up making a nicer grade of syrup,” Dobos said.

Farmers had such a strong season last year that many still have plenty of maple syrup on reserve so they do not expect the price of syrup to rise.

Teens Arrested After Chase in Stolen Car: Police


An 18-year-old and two others are facing charges after leading police on a chase in a stolen car through North Haven, authorities said.

Officers tried to pull over the stolen car the evening of Feb. 25. Police said the Toyota Corolla, driven by 18-year-old Hector Diaz, was speeding down Montowese Avenue.

Diaz led police on a chase and tried to get away but crashed on Universal Drive, police said. He got out and fled on foot but two passengers, 19-year-old New Haven resident Quanisha Cole and a juvenile, remained in the car.

Police said a K-9 officer led them to a building on Universal Drive where Diaz was hiding. He was arrested and charged with third-degree larceny, third-degree burglary, second-degree reckless endangerment, interfering with police and evading responsibility. Diaz was held on $10,000 bond.

Cole was charged with third-degree larceny and served several outstanding warrants for failing to appear and violating probation. She was held on $47,250 bond.

The juvenile passenger was charged with third-degree larceny. He as released and will be charged in Juvenile Court.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

New Metro-North Head Promises Improvements


Metro-North's new president, Joseph Giulietti, wants to reassure Connecticut commuters that change is coming as he takes over an organization that has seen its share of problems.

The New Haven line has been a big trouble spot, from the derailment in Bridgeport to a massive power outage and issues with late trains.

"People should be able to believe that they're getting on a train and getting safely to their destination," Giulietti said in an exclusive interview with NBC Connecticut.

Giulietti said he wants to wait for the results of several federal investigations before he makes any connections among the incidents.

He did admit that Metro-North has too heavily emphaized on-time performance and said the railroad has not given enough attention to safety.

"Safety wasn't the number one, and in this industry safety has to be your number one," said Giulietti.

He said that may mean trains may have to run a bit slower.

As a result of issues with the railraod, frustration among commuters has reached new heights. The biggest complaint from riders: a lack of communication. That's something Giulietti plans to address head on.

"When we have these public meetings, I will be at the meetings," he said. "I have done this before. I will continue to do that."

Giulietti ssaid Metro-North needs to be able to face its critics and most importantly, listen.

Last week, he met with Gov. Dannel Malloy, who requested a 100-day plan from Giulietti on he works to turn the railroad around. Giulietti would not elaborate on the details of that plan.

"It is being formulated, it is being worked on and I'm being asked to get it in as soon as possible to the State of Connecticut," he said.

He'll testify before the General Assembly's Transportation Committee in Hartford on Thursday.

Giulietti, a Hamden native, worked most recently at the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. He became Metro-North's president just three weeks ago following the resignation of Howard Permut.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Mix of Heroin and Fentanyl Blamed for Overdose Deaths


A potentially lethal mix of heroin and the synthetic narcotic fentanyl has been found in Connecticut and is being blamed in several overdose deaths, including that of a 14-year-old girl from East Windsor.

Hartford police say they arrested two dealers last weekend, both selling the heroin and fentanyl mix in packaging labeled “new world.” Police believe the emergence of this dangerous combination is related to recent trends in overdoses.

“Over the last month or so, our homicide detectives started noticing an increase in overdoses in the area,” said Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

In recent months, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Maryland have reported huge spikes in overdose deaths resulting from heroin combined with fentanyl.

Police say the cominbation has made its way to Connecticut. They believe the drug has likely been in state for several months, and that this weekend’s bust in Hartford is just scratching the surface.

Foley said police confiscated a "couple thousand" bags.

"In the real market heroin world, while it's a good arrest, it's not going to stop anything, that's for sure," he said.

East Windsor Police Det. Matthew Carl said they’ve seen at least eight overdoses attributed to the combination, one of which resulted in the death of a 14 year-old East Winsor High School student.

Even before this potentially lethal combination arrived in Connecticut, Lt. Kenneth Cain with the Statewide Narcotics Task Force already considered heroin use an epidemic.

“You can’t pin them down to ethnic, racial, sex, financial backgrounds. You just can’t. It could be anybody, the stay at home mom, doctors, anybody,” said Cain.

Educators Demand Changes to Common Core Roll Out


The Connecticut Education Association is demanding major changes to the roll out of the Common Core curriculum in public schools around the state.

The group, which represents more than 40,000 teachers, called for educators to become more involved in the implementation of the new standards at a press conference today.

According to the CEA, teachers have been pushing back against the implementation of the Common Core and are concerned that limited time and resources will prevent students from succeeding on the state’s new standardized tests.

“When you get the results from these tests, you’re going to have students identified as failing, said Mark Waxenberg, executive director of the CEA. “And it’s not true. It’s not true. We should not be identifying students as failures that are not failures.”

The CEA said in a release Wednesday that two-thirds of Connecticut teachers have not had the opportunity to provide feedback on the Common Core.

Republicans in Hartford are working to expand the conversation. Party leaders said they've put together a petition that requires Democrats to hold a public hearing on the roll out.

"It is critical that educators, parents, taxpayers and students be heard on these issues within the legislative process, and that can take place only if we have a formal public hearing,'' said House Republican Leader Larry Cafero, in a statement. "To date, the Democrats on the Education Committee have refused to raise any bills or allow for a traditional public hearing where all parties can be heard.''

The Department of Education released the following response from Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor:

"The implementation of the Common Core is a complex undertaking, and getting it right requires that we meet the needs of teachers and principals in our schools. That’s why, in response to feedback from teachers and other educators, we have sought to make the implementation more gradual. Specifically, we have given each school district the option of whether to administer a Common Core-aligned test or the old CMT/CAPT tests this spring, and we have reduced the stakes of the Common Core tests by enabling their removal from teacher evaluations for the next two school years. We have also provided new supports to teachers, including special training opportunities and a collection of resources on our CTcorestandards.org website. We will continue to incorporate feedback from teachers as we build an education system that enables all our students fulfill their highest potential."

The state adopted Common Core standards in 2010 and is now one of 45 states to have done so. The Dept. of Education said the curriculum is “carefully designed to prepare students for success in college and careers.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

Gourmet Heaven Worker Says Deli Owes Him $20,000+


A New Haven restaurant owner is facing a string of labor law violations and employees hope the investigation will bring them the money they say they earned but never received.

For seven years, Julio Olivar worked in the deli at Gourmet Heaven in New Haven, even though he and other employees say they weren’t being paid for the time they worked.

"About, about $20,000, and that’s just for the past two years because unfortunately, we can’t claim for the past seven years," said Olivar.

Olivar’s claim is now part of a Department of Labor investigation that started last summer and ended in the arrest of the restaurant's owner, 50-year-old Chung Cho.

"We found that Mr. Cho had not paid overtime and minimum wage to almost all his workers, at least the ones that we got records for," said Blair Bertaccini, principal investigator for the Connecticut Department of Labor, at a news conference Wednesday.

Cho now faces a number of charges for reportedly failing to pay more than $200,000 in wages and defrauding immigrant laborers. No one was home at his house in Woodbridge when NBC Connecticut tried to reach him for comment.

New Haven Board of Aldermen President Jorge Perez said he wants all businesses in New Haven to thrive, but to do it fairly.

"It’s important for not only fair competition, but for quality of life issues. If a person does an honest day’s work, that person should get paid that wage that was promised to them," said Perez.

Julio Olivar is hoping that in the wake of this this arrest, he'll eventually be paid the $20,000 he said he's owed.

"He has to first treat the workers better, pay the workers what he owes. He owes the workers a lot of money. For the past month I’ve been struggling just to put gas in my car so I can go looking for a job, it’s really bad," said Olivar.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Malloy Activates State's Severe Cold Weather Protocol


Bitter cold is again sweeping the state, and in anticipation of single-digit temperatures, Gov. Dannel Malloy has enacted the state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol.

Over the next few days, temperatures are expected to plummet into the teens and single digits, especially overnight. Chief Meteorologist Brad Field said some towns could see subzero temperatures tonight, and a quick snow squall could move in tomorrow as another cold front arrives.

The Severe Cold Weather Protocol will remain in effect until Saturday, March 1.

Malloy said the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security has activated an internet-based communications network allowing emergency officials to share information about shelter capacity and conditions around the state.

Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 211.

Malloy also encouraged communities to open warming centers.

Bloomfield will open the following warming centers Feb. 28 and March 1-2 and will provide water at all locations:

  • Alvin & Beatrice Wood Human Resources Center at 330 Park Avenue, 860-769-3566
  • Prosser Library at 1 Tunxis Avenue, 860-243-9721
  • McMahon Wintonbury Library at 1015 Blue Hills Avenue, 860-242-0041

We could see some flurries over the weekend. Our weather team is monitoring a winter storm that could move in early next week and will bring you more information as it develops.

Photo Credit: Amanda Kennedy

Holocaust Survivor Killed by Bus


A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor died after being struck by a school bus in Montgomery County, Md., Wednesday afternoon.

With the help of his walker, Elia Miranski was crossing Columbia Pike at Tech Road in Silver Spring about 2:20 p.m. when he was struck by a school bus contracted by Howard County Public Schools. Miranski, who was going shopping, safely crossed the southbound lanes before continuing across the northbound lanes, where he was struck.

He was taken to a local hospital where he died.

Fourteen students and two employees from Hammond Middle School in Laurel were on the bus, which was returning from a field trip to the White House, but none of them was injured. Another bus went to the scene to pick up the students and returned them to school.

Miranski's family confirmed to News4's Shomari Stone that he was a Holocaust survivor. The family had no other comment Wednesday evening.

Police are interviewing the bus driver, 52-year-old Lori Jean Latimer, and witnesses to determine who had the right of way, News4's Kristin Wright reported.

Police also are investigating traffic signal sequences at the intersection.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington.com

New San Diego Police Chief Named


Mayor-Elect Kevin Faulconer has chosen a new chief to lead the San Diego Police Department, in light of Chief William Lansdowne's retirement.

Flanked by other city leaders, including City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and councilmember Marti Emerald, as well as Lansdowne, the mayor-elect announced that SDPD Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman will serve as the new chief.

“The San Diego Police Department needs leadership now. Chief Zimmerman is a 31-year veteran, and she’s ready to lead," said Faulconer.

“As your mayor, my top priority is ensuring a healthy San Diego Police Department that services all of our neighborhoods every single day of the week. I believe there is no better choice to lead this department and to accomplish this goal than Assistant Chief Shelley Zimmerman. She understands clearly what will be acceptable in this department and what will not be,” he added.

“She knows how critically important it is that we recruit and retain the best and brightest officers to serve this great city of ours. Working together, all of us, we will support this department from the ground up,” said Faulconer.

The mayor-elect said his focus remains on "ensuring trust" of the SDPD and moving forward. He also said he and city leaders plan to have an outside national agency conduct a review of the SDPD.

When Zimmerman took the podium at Wednesday's briefing, she expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve as SDPD chief.

“I am absolutely, extremely grateful, extremely honored, extremely humbled and consider it an absolute privilege to wear this uniform and this badge for the San Diego Police Department and I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity,” said the new chief.

She went on to thank Lansdowne for his service, guidance and leadership.

“Chief, we are a better department and a better city because of all of your efforts,“ said Zimmerman, addressing Lansdowne who was standing near her.

“Chief, it was you who gave me the opportunity to work in a variety of assignments and in several leadership positions. And it was you that had prepared me well for today to become the next police chief of our great department,” Zimmerman added.

The new chief also hit on the recent scandals plaguing the police department.

“As a proud member of our department for 31 years I can tell you without question that 99.9 percent of our officers serve every single day with honor, distinction and professionalism, and for those few that make the absolute terrible decision to discredit this badge and dishonor our profession, I will not tolerate this,” said Zimmerman.

She said she fully supports the audit of the department.

Lansdowne also took a moment to say a few words at the press briefing, congratulating Zimmerman on her new job.

“I know in my heart [Faulconer] picked the right person to lead the City of San Diego forward. Shelley Zimmermann is now going to have the privilege and honor to be the chief of the City of San Diego. It is a privilege and honor that is bestowed on few people during the history of this organization but she has the compassion, the integrity and the courage to do that,” he said.

San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith took a moment to speak at Wednesday's briefing as well, discussing the independent audit of the SDPD that is forthcoming.

“[Chief Lansdowne], you’ve left us with two ideas for improvement and reform that we, as a city, are committed to following up on and making happen. One of them has to do with the independent review. The independent review must be thorough and independent. What I mean by thorough is no rock unturned. What I mean by independent is that it’s conducted by outsiders, those outside the city that will determine the scope and report,” Goldsmith explained.

Goldsmith also talked about a proposal being passed to the San Diego City Council to add $2 million to the SDPD's budget to fund individual uniform cameras for every police officer in the department.

On Tuesday, Lansdowne announced his retirement from the department, effective Mar. 3, 2014.

On Wednesday morning, prior to the Faulconer press conference, Lansdowne spoke in-depth with NBC 7 about his decision to leave his job.

“It was a very difficult decision for me. I did have some long discussions with the mayor and he left it up to me and me alone. He was very gracious. He has a vision for the city. And, my decision is that right now, it’s time for me to go and let the mayor move forward with someone that has the vision for a new day," he told NBC 7.

"I think I’m a lightning rod right now for negative press and that’s not good for the city -- it’s certainly not good for the police department. So, I’m stepping down and retiring. Not resigning, I’m retiring," Lansdowne continued.

The chief’s departure comes on the heels of recent sex scandals allegedly involving two separate SDPD officers, both accused of sexual misconduct on the job.

TIMELINE: SDPD Officers Accused of Sex Crimes

Former Officer Christopher Hays, 30 – who’s no longer employed with the department, effective Feb. 19, 2014 – is accused of giving several women improper pat downs on the job and getting sexual gratification from the alleged acts.

On Feb. 18, Hays was formally charged with two felony counts of false imprisonment with violence and three misdemeanor counts of sexual battery involving four women. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintains his innocence.

Meanwhile, Officer Donald Moncrief, 39, is accused of touching a woman inappropriately during an arrest in the South Bay last year and allegedly exposing himself to the woman. Lansdowne announced this second scandal involving this second officer on Feb. 19. Moncrief has not been formally charged, and the investigation into his case is ongoing.

As a result of these recent cases, Lansdowne had said he wanted an outside audit into the police department to review how the SDPD handles misconduct among officers.

Another cop scandal that plagued the SDPD while Lansdowne was chief was that of former police officer Anthony Arevalos, who’s currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for various sex crimes.

On Tuesday, a judge threw out two of the convictions involving one of the victims and an encounter with Arevalos in a convenience store bathroom.

The timing of Lansdowne's retirement has surprised some, as the top cop recently said he wanted to see the SDPD through these latest scandals.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Officials to Make Major Announcement About Travelers Championship


Officials will make a major announcement about the future of the Travelers Championship golf tournament tomorrow, according to Travelers and Gov. Dannel Malloy.

Company executives, Malloy, PGA Tour officials and other state and local leaders will announce the news at a 9 a.m. press conference at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.

Travelers Chairman and CEO Jay Fishman, Executive Vice President and CAO Andy Bessette, PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and Travelers Championship Tournament Director Nathan Grube are expected to attend, according to a release from Travelers.

Company officials haven't said what they plan to announce, but The Hartford Courant is reporting that the Travelers Championship and the PGA Tour will extend their contract, which expires after this year's tournament.

Travelers became the tournament’s title sponsor in 2007. Since then, the Travelers Championship has raised $7 million for charity and has contributed $160 million to the state’s economy, according to a release from Malloy’s office.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

4 Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide


Authorities are calling the Wednesday gunshot deaths of four members of a family in the south Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn the result of an apparent murder-suicide.

Emergency crews responded to a fire at a home in the 9800 block of 51st Avenue at about 5 a.m.

"We encountered a vehicle in the garage and noises coming from the vehicle. At that time we approached the vehicle and opened the door, and observed an adult male in the driver's seat take his own life with a shot gun," Oak Lawn Police Chief Michael Murray said.

Officials said John Conta Sr.'s body was found inside the hallway of the home. The body of his slain wife, Janice Conta, was found in the first-floor bedroom. Their 5-year-old grandson, Matthew Meier, was found dead in the basement.

John and Janice Conta lived in the residence for more than 30 years, and their 36-year-old son, John Conta Jr., who's believed to have committed the shootings, lived at the home with them.

"They really were fantastic people, fantastic neighbors, do anything for us, we'd help them out and stuff. They're going to be really missed around the neighborhood," neighbor Tom Repenty said. "The son was great, too. We'd always see him outside, mowing the lawn, we'd chit-chat. He was a mathematician, really smart kid, so it's just a tragedy."

Neighbors say the couple had a birthday party for their 5-year-old grandson Tuesday night, but the child's mother left and let him spend the night.

NBC Chicago has learned that the couple were longtime parishioners at St. Linus Catholic Church. Church officials described them as a "faith-filled couple that will be sorely missed."

The roof and floor of the home collapsed in the blaze, which began at about 5 a.m., and a crane had to be used to lift the rubble.

"They were very, very nice people," said  Nancy Melvin, who described their deaths as "very tragic."

Melvin said the husband was retired from AT&T. The couple had another grown son, Melvin said.

Man Says He was Robbed, Assaulted While Buying Pot


A Bridgeport man told police Tuesday he was assaulted and robbed while trying to purchase marijuana.

According to police, the 22-year-old man, who has not been identified, told police he went to the Greene Homes Apartment Complex to buy marijuana because his own “medical marijuana ran out.”

The victim said he was jumped and attacked by several people who stole sleeping pills, Xanax and $50 in cash, according to police.

Police said the responding officer couldn’t find the victim or suspects at first, but when went back to the complex and encountered the victim, who said he had been hiding out.

No arrests have been made.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Newly Released Video Provides Clues About Soldier's Murder


A New Britain mother wants answers about the murder of her son, a soldier, five years ago in Springfield, Mass. Now investigators have taken new steps to find his killer.

The Hampden District Attorney just released surveillance video that captured the crime the night of Feb. 22, 2009. You can see Julian Cartie walking by the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield with his family and friends. Seconds later, he’s shot three times, and the group rushes over to help him.

“When this person took my son's life, he took my soul,” said Marie Busque, Cartie’s mother, who said his family in New Britain can't get past the devastating loss. "As a mother, it’s just heart wrenching to know something like this would happen to your child."

Busque said her 25-year-old son had just finished basic training for the National Guard and was months away from a deployment to Afghanistan.

“My son was an army-strong individual who was just starting his life," she said. "It was just snatched away for no reason."

Years later, Cartie's family still doesn't know who pulled the trigger or what exactly led to this.

Police said Cartie was leaving a bar when a car pulled up to him and an argument ensued. A man got out of the vehicle, opened fire and took off in a blue sedan.

“It's been five years and still no answers. I need somebody to talk,” said Damon Peterson, Cartie's brother.

His loved ones said they hope anyone who was there that night remembers something and speaks up so police can identify a suspect.

“My hearts always going to be empty for my son,” Mary Busque said.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the Springfield Police Department.

Security Tightened on Hernandez


A day after he was involved in an altercation with another inmate at the Bristol County Jail in Massachusetts, Aaron Hernandez has been moved to a more restrictive location in the correctional facility, the sheriff’s department told NECN on Wednesday.

The former New England Patriots tight end and murder suspect is now locked in a cell behind a heavy black door in a special management area, NECN reports. The sheriff’s department said he’ll stay there for 30 days.

Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson told NECN authorities are looking into the altercation that happened Tuesday.

“We’re investigating it now to find out why two inmates would have been out at the same time in that unit,” Hodgson told NECN. “I’m not happy that there may have been a breakdown in our system and our protocols.”

NECN reports that Hernandez and the other inmate had been taunting each other for days prior to the incident.

Hernandez now will eat meals in his jail cell rather than alone in the cafeteria, and must now wear handcuffs, a waist chain and leg irons whenever he leaves his cell, according to NECN.

Hernandez is accused of murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro, Mass., last summer. He pleaded not guilty and is in jail awaiting trial.

He has also been linked to an unsolved 2012 drive-by double homicide in Boston.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

Inside Hernandez's New Jail Cell


Jailed former NFL star Aaron Hernandez has been moved to a more restrictive part of the Connecticut jail where he's awaiting trial on murder charges, one day after his altercation with another inmate, authorities told NECN.

In an exclusive jail-house tour, NECN viewed the area of the Bristol County House of Correction where the former New England Patriot is now locked in a cell behind a heavy black door, marked with "EE," in a special management area.

He must stay there for 30 days, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Earlier Wednesday, Sheriff Thomas Hodgson addressed the scuffle that sent Hernandez there.

"We're investigating it now to find out why two inmates would have been out at the same time in that unit," said Hodgson.

A source close to the investigation tells NECN that Hernandez was not in handcuffs at the time of the incident, but the other inmate was. It allegedly happened in an area right outside his former cell.

A source also tells NECN Hernandez and the other inmate had been taunting each other in the days leading up to the altercation.

Sheriff Hodgson says he wasn't sure of that information at this point, but that a full investigation is underway.

"I'm not happy that there may have been a breakdown in our system and our protocols," he said.

At least for the next 30 days, Hernandez will have to stay in the more restrictive unit.

His cell looks similar to the one he was in prior to the altercation. It's a small barren room, with bars on the windows, a double bunk bed, stainless steel toilet and a small sitting area. However, Hernandez can no longer eat meals by himself in the cafeteria; instead, he must take meals in his cell.

Prior to this altercation, jail officials say Hernandez was able to go outside for recreation time uncuffed.

Now, he has to be in cuffs, complete with a waist chain and leg irons every time he leaves his cell.

Some other conditions remain the same: Hernandez must spend 23 hours a day in this cell, except for three showers a week, and one hour of recreation a day. He can also take phone calls at times and have lawyer visits.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd.

He's in jail awaiting trial.

Photo Credit: Boston Globe via Getty Images

Autistic Teen's Death Undetermined


The medical examiner's office has concluded that the cause and manner of Avonte Oquendo's death cannot be determined.

The remains of 14-year-old Oquendo, a non-verbal autistic boy, were found along the East River in Queens in January. He had been missing since last October, when he bolted out of his Long Island City school.

His disappearance launched a search that extended citywide and beyond, and captured the attention of the nation.

The family's lawyer, David Perecman, filed a notice of claim in October, the first step in suing the city, and has publicly listed a number of mistakes he alleges contributed to the boy's disappearance and what he has described as a flawed search effort. 
The city's law department has called the boy's death a tragedy and said its attorneys will review a lawsuit when it's filed.

The Department of Education had no immediate comment. The NYPD said the matter is under investigation and it could not comment because of pending litigation.

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