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2 Rescued After Small Plane Crashes in NY's Hudson River

Two people were rescued from a single-engine plane that crashed and sank into the Hudson River off Yonkers, N.Y. News 4's Ida Siegal reports.

Malloy to Announce Natural Disaster Legislation


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy will propose legislation that he said will improve the state’s ability to help residents who have been impacted by a natural disaster or other emergency.

Malloy, Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Deputy Commissioner William Shea held a news conference on Monday at noon in East Haven to introduce the Connecticut Coordinated Assistance and Recovery Endowment (CT CARE) Fund for victims of disasters and other emergencies.

The bill will be part of the governor's package of legislative proposals to be unveiled on Feb. 6.

The plan includes establishing several separate accounts restricted to each emergency, as well as an endowment for operations and sustainability, to provide an infrastructure to receive private donations in response to an emergency or disaster and disseminate the funds in accordance with the intent of the donors.

“This fund will be a great way to formalize the way Connecticut has always responded to hardship – by neighbor helping neighbor,” Lt. Governor Wyman said in a statement. “That is how we have gotten through each of the disasters we have faced recently, and CT CARE will ensure that people have a direct, reliable way to show their generosity and goodwill.”

The Executive Board consists of seven gubernatorial appointments from the nonprofit, corporate, and accounting community, a representative of the nonprofit community, five Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security REPT Chairs that are appointed by municipal leaders, the Office of Policy and Management Secretary, and the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Deputy Commissioner.

After the news conference, officials said they will visit an area of Old Saybrook that was heavily damaged by Storm Sandy, where they will discuss the governor’s disaster relief legislation with Old Saybrook First Selectman Carl Fortuna and other local officials.

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a federal  Sandy aid package on Monday and Sen. Richard Blumenthal will be in Bridgeport on Monday morning, touring Marina Village, an area hit hard by superstorm Sandy.


Photo Credit: AP

Crash Closes Route 67 in Oxford


Route 67 in Oxford is closed by Route 188 because of crash.

How many cars are involved is not known, but police said this is a serious crash.

No additional information was immediately available.

View Larger Map

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Man Sought in Tagging Vandalism


West Hartford police are looking for this man, who is wanted for questioning for several property damage complaints in the Corbins Corner area of West Hartford, according to police.

He is a suspect in spray-paint “tagging,” police said. 

Anyone who can identify the man is asked to e-mail Officer Allen of the West Hartford Police Department at jallen@westhartford.org or call (860) 523-5203.


71-Year-Old Woman Charged With Prostitution


Glastonbury police arrested a 71-year-old Westport woman at a local hotel after she advertised herself as a prostitute on Backpage.com, according to Glastonbury police. 

Sygun Liebhart, 71, of Westport, promoting herself under the escort section as “Lola,” according to Glastonbury police.

Members of the East Central Narcotics Task Force arrested her on Friday in her hotel room at the Homewood Suites in Glastonbury.

Officers took Liebhart into custody after the location of her hotel room was specified and a deal for sexual acts was arranged.

She was charged with prostitution and bond was set at $500.00 non-surety.

Police Charge 2nd Teen in New Haven Homicide


New Haven Police arrested a second 17-year-old boy in connection with the murder of a 29-year-old man on Wednesday, as well as possession of multiple weapons. 

Investigators said Lonni Star, 29, of New Haven, was shot once inside his car at the intersection of Level and Lodge streets.

His friend was in the passenger seat, got behind the wheel, drove to get help and ended up at the Dunkin Donuts at 295 Blake St., where she called 911, according to police.

Star was being taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and died of the way to the hospital.

New Haven Police said they brought in 50 to 60 extra local and state police, as well as federal task force officers to work on the case through the night. Several tips led police to the first teen's home, where detectives found a handgun believed to have been used in the crime.

Late Sunday afternoon, a 17-year-old boy approached officers and said he heard that police were looking for him in connection with the murder and robbery, police said.

He was charged with felony murder, conspiracy to commit felony murder, carrying a dangerous weapon, robbery in the first degree, conspiracy to commit robbery in the first degree, larceny in the second degree and conspiracy to commit larceny in the second degree.

The teens' names are not being released because he is a juvenile. Police have not released any information about a possible motive.

Star was the second homicide victim of the year in New Haven.

Abdul Rawas, 55, was killed during a robbery at Orchard Market on Orchard Street in New Haven the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 22. Police do not have any suspects.


Teacher to Be Sentenced on Child Porn Charges


An East Hampton middle school teacher accused of receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography will be sentenced on Monday.

Richard Hendricks, 31, of Ashford, has been in federal custody, accused of possessing child pornography and watching minors have sex online.  Prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 10 years.

Hendricks was detained on June 9 after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations office in Boston identified him as allegedly using his credit card to purchase access to the live online viewing of minors in the Philippines performing sex acts on 50 occasions, according to a news release from David Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and the sentencing documents.

He served as a computer teacher at the East Hampton Middle School in East Hampton when he was detained. He was also the yearbook editor and was the adviser to the school news program.

Sentencing documents state he secretly recorded middle school girls, focusing on their chest and groin areas, kept collections of the images and manipulated them to see through clothing.

One directory on Hendricks' home computer included more than 900 pictures of girls in bikinis and bathing suits, including some who appear to have been students at the middle school, according to the sentencing memorandum. 

ICE special agents had seized two laptop computers, a desktop computer and two external hard drives from Hendricks’ house and found thousands of images and 278 videos of suspected child pornography, according to the release.

"All of these videos are disturbing; some are horrific," according to sentencing documents.

Officials said Hendricks took steps to hide the pornography, including masking his IP address and installing a file shredding program.

Hendricks pleaded guilty on Jan. 198 to receiving child pornography, according to the sentencing documents.


Connecticut Teachers Support Stronger Gun Laws


The first poll of Connecticut teachers on gun laws and school safety shows that an overwhelming number support tougher gun laws and additional funding to modernize school facilities to provide safe and secure public schools, according to the Connecticut Education Association.

“This is the first time teachers have been asked for their opinion in a comprehensive manner that is representative of educators’ views across Connecticut,” CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg said in a news release. “We want legislators to establish new and strengthened laws that protect the overall safety of children, schools, and our communities—including commonsense gun laws and funding to address safety issues in public schools.”

The CEA survey findings are as follows:

  • Ninety-eight percent favor extending criminal and mental health background checks for all gun purchases.
  • Eighty-eight percent support banning the sale and possession of military-style semi-automatic assault weapons to everyone except the police and military.
  • Eighty-seven percent of teachers surveyed also support banning the sale and possession of high-capacity magazine clips. 
  • Eighty-five percent) oppose any proposals allowing teachers to carry guns in schools.
  • Ninety-two percent believe the state should provide funding to local public school districts to modernize facilities to address today’s school safety issues.

When the numbers for all members are compared to members who are most familiar with guns, there is little to no change. Key findings for members who are gun owners, have guns in their home, are hunters, or are related to hunters:

  • Seventy-seven percent support stronger gun safety laws.
  • Almost all, 98 percent favor extending background checks.
  • Eighty-three percent favor banning high-capacity magazine clips.
  • Seventy-eight percent favor banning the sale and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons.
  • Seventy-seven percent are against plans to arm teachers.

The poll of 400 CEA teacher members statewide was conducted between Jan. 19 and Jan. 21.



BB Shatters School Bus Window


The window of a school bus carrying students from Career High School was shattered after being hit with a BB on Monday afternoon.

One window of the First Student bus was shot around 12:30 p.m. at Ellsworth and Edgewood avenues in New Haven, school officials said.

The bus driver drove away from the scene, radioed for assistance to stopped at Maple and Norton streets, school officials said,

No one was hurt and school officials said the shot appears to be from a BB gun.

Jen Biddinger, spokesperson for the First Student bus company, said the glass remained in the frame after the window was shot.

The New Haven Independent reports that school was releasing early for a teacher-in-service day.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Boyfriend Charged With Murder of East Hampton Woman


Police have arrested the boyfriend of a murdered East Hampton woman who went missing last July.

East Hampton police arrested Anthony Garofalo, 38, on Monday and charged him with the murder of his girlfriend, Jini Barnum.

Barnum was last seen alive July 28, 2012 after an argument with Garofalo, according to police. According to investigators, Garofalo reported Barnum missing the next day.

Barnum, 30, was a mother of two, including a 6-week-old baby when she disappeared. A woman found Barnum's remains in a shallow grave while walking her dog along Windham Road in Glastonbury on Sept. 9.

Police began an investigation, but never called Garofalo a suspect. He was convicted in 2002 on a sexual assault charge. Police arrested Garofalo in August and charged him with a technical violation of special parole.

On Monday, East Hampton police charged Garofalo with murder, first degree strangulation and tampering with physical evidence in Barnum's death. He was arraigned in Middletown Superior Court and held on $1 million bond.

Opinions Split at Connecticut Gun Control Hearing


The wait to get into the legislative office building in Hartford for a hearing of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety, was around two hours and 1,300 members of the public expressed interest in speaking.

The hearing opened with family members of the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting asking lawmakers to ban assault weapons.

Neil Heslin, whose son Jesse was killed in last month's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, asked people in the room to put themselves in his position as he questioned the need for any civilian to own semiautomatic, military-style weapons.

"It's not a good feeling. Not a good feeling to look at your child laying in a casket or looking at your child with a bullet wound to the forehead. It's a real sad thing," said Heslin, who held up a large framed photograph of himself and his son.

A handful of people at the packed legislative hearing then shouted about their Second Amendment rights when Heslin asked if anyone could provide a reason for a civilian to own an assault-style weapon.

"We're all entitled to our own opinions and I respect their opinions and their thoughts," Heslin said. "But I wish they'd respect mind and give it a little bit of thought."

The hearing by a legislative subcommittee reviewing gun laws offered the first public testimony by family members of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary, where a gunman slaughtered 20 first-grade children and six women. Adam Lanza had killed his mother in their home across town and then drove to the school to carry out the shooting before committing suicide.

Vicky Soto, 27, of Stratford, was a teacher at Sandy Hook, and died trying to save her young students. Her 15-year-old brother submitted written testimony because it would be too hard to speak. He too asked for a ban on assault weapons.

Veronique Pozner lost her 6-year-old son  Noah in the school shooting as is asking lawmakers for a comprehensive ban assault weapons and to limit high-capacity magazine.

She showed a photo of her son holding a Hanukkah candle. It was taken the night before he was killed.

She also showed a Thanksgiving turkey picture Noah made by tracing his hand. Each feature included something he was thankful for.

At the center, “he wrote,’ the life I live,’” she said.

Many gun rights advocates, wearing yellow stickers that read: "Another Responsible Gun Owner," were among the estimated 2,000 people at the hearing. Metal detectors were installed at the entrance to the Legislative Office Building, and some people waited as long as two hours to get into the building in Hartford.

Many spoke about the need to protect their rights and their families' safety.

"The Second Amendment does not protect our right to hunt deer," said Andrew Hesse of Middletown. "It protects our right to self-preservation and preservation of our family. The right to bear arms."

Elizabeth Drysdale, a single mother from Waterbury, spoke of three recent incidents that caused her to fear for her safety. She said she should be able to choose the size of magazine and type of firearm to defend herself.

"Don't my children and I deserve your support and consideration to be safe," she asked lawmakers.

Judy Aron of West Hartford said bills such as those requiring gun owners to have liability insurance and ammunition taxes only harm lawful gun owners.

"Every gun owner did not pull the trigger that was pulled by Adam Lanza, she said.

The state's gun manufacturers, meanwhile, urged the subcommittee to not support legislation that could put the state's historic gun manufacturing industry at risk.

Mark Mattioli, whose 6-year-old son James was killed at Sandy Hook, got a standing ovation when he said there are plenty of gun laws but they're not properly enforced. He urged lawmakers to address the culture of violence.

"It's a simple concept. We need civility across our nation," he said. "What we're seeing are symptoms of a bigger problem. This is a symptom. The problem is not gun laws. The problem is a lack of civility."

Two Southbury natives who survived a mass shooting last year at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., urged lawmakers to address online, private guns sales that don't require background checks. Stephen Barton and Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent also want to require background checks for purchases of so-called long guns and not just handguns.

State Rep. Arthur O'Neill, R-Southbury, who has known Rodriguez-Torrent since he was a child, predicted state lawmakers will reach a compromise on guns.

He said lawmakers' minds have changed since the Dec. 14 school massacre.

"Dec. 13 was one way of looking at the world, and Dec. 15 is a different way of looking at the world," he said.

The hearing started at 10 a.m. and lawmakers have said it might last until after midnight.

Two other meetings will be held later this week, including a full task force meeting on Wednesday at Newtown High School. 

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut/Lynn Sferrazza

The Super Bowl Commercial Pre-Game Show


Volkswagen’s latest Super Bowl ad features reggae great Jimmy Cliff channeling the Partridge Family as he urges the crying cat lady, the screaming politician and others who became improbable Internet stars by letting their passions overwhelm them to “C’mon, Get Happy.”

The meta approach feels appropriate: The YouTube spot, which debuted 11 days before kickoff, pokes fun at folks who get too emotional over things that aren’t all that important – like, say, football games and Super Bowl commercials. But unlike Cliff’s cast of characters, who unwittingly became Internet jokes, Volkswagen’s goal is to go viral.
Volkswagen, which gave us the Vader kid in 2011 and the “Star Wars” singing dogs ad last year, has a knack for stoking the Internet hype machine to get viewers to watch repeatedly online – and then tune in again on Super Sunday. The efforts go hand in taped hand with the game, TV’s greatest exercise in promotion. But unlike the gridiron contest, the winners and losers of the commercial competition aren’t determined by the final whistle.
For advertisers, the stakes – and costs – are high: CBS reportedly is charging a record $3.8 million for a half-minute of ad time, or nearly $127,000 per second, to reach an audience expected to exceed 100 million. So the advertising playbook is constantly being tweaked, spurring enough creativity and gimmicks to keep us entertained – even if we usually remember the laughs more than the product.
Some ads build excitement, earning repeated viewings online (the Vader video is at 55 million YouTube hits and counting) and culminating in a satisfying shared experience on game day. For others, the broadcast threatens to be anticlimactic after days of teases or longer versions online. As much as we liked Honda's "Ferris Bueller" ad last year, it felt a tad overplayed by the time the final version hit TV.
It's also difficult to predict which ads will show staying power. Last year’s amusing spot with the dog that uses Doritos to get away with murder wasn't our favorite of the crowded field, but still brings a smile on the umpteenth viewing.
Doritos is behind the “Crash the Super Bowl” online commercial contest, which taps into social media and the ingenuity of the masses – this year offering the winner a chance to work with director Michael Bay on the next "Transformers" movie and a possible $1 million bonus. Coke, meanwhile, wants the public to pick the ending to its movie-genre-mixing desert chase spot.
Volkswagen’s Jimmy Cliff commercial, which is an homage of sorts to Coke's old "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" campaign, logged a modest 670,000 views as of Monday morning. That’s far behind the 5.2 million hits already racked up by Mercedes-Benz’ steamy Kate Upton ad, which relies on the time-tested selling power of sex – and, to a lesser extent, celebrity.

As with the game, the ads we’ll be talking about most probably will be the ones that pack surprises – like when Oprah Winfrey got David Letterman and Jay Leno to share her couch in 2010. There will be plenty of time, though, after Super Bowl XLVII for Monday morning quarterbacking. In the meantime, c'mon get happy and check out some early pre-game ad favorites: 


Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

Cows Shot in North Stonington


Police are looking for the person or people who shot two cows in North Stonington over the weekend.

The Palmer Farm, at East Clark Falls Road in North Stonington, owns the cows and one will have to be euthanized, according to the office of the North Stonington Resident State Troopers.

The cows were shot in a field on Pendelton Hill Road, near the farm, sometime late Friday or early on Saturday morning, according to state police.

A veterinarian treated both cows at the scene, but one suffered injuries too severe.

The Palmer Farm was featured in “Down on the Farm; the last dairy farms of North Stonington,"  according to an article published in the day or New London in 2010.

Anyone with pertinent information about this case is asked to call the North Stonington Resident Troopers office at 860-535-1451 or the CT State Police, Troop E-Montville at 860-848-6500


Barnes and Noble to Close 30% of Stores: Report


The book store chain Barnes and Nobles plans to close as many as a third of its retail stores over the next decade according to a published report.

The article in Monday’s Wall Street Journal said the book chain has 689 retail stores as well as a separate chain of 674 college stores.

The company expects to close approximately 20 stores a year, bringing the total number of retail outlets to the 450 to 500 stores, Mitchell Klipper, chief executive of Barnes & Noble's retail group was quoted as saying in the WSJ article.

A spokesperson from the company pointed out, however, that the rate of store closures has actually not changed. "We have historically closed approximately 15 stores per year for the last 10 years," Mary Ellen Keating wrote in a statement, according to NBC News. "Of that number, some of the stores are unprofitable while other are relocations to better properties."

Keating also pointed out that Barnes and Noble has opened two new prototype stores last year and plans to test other prototypes this year.

Three weeks ago, the company reported a drop in holiday sales over the previous year. Bookstores, BN.com earned $1.2 billion for the nine-week holiday period, down 10.9 percent over the previous year.

Sales of NOOK devices have also dropped 12.6 percent over the previous year due to “lower unit volume and average selling prices” according to a company statement.

The company did see a 13.1 percent increase in digital content sales including books, newsstand and apps.

"NOOK device sales got off to a good start over the Black Friday period, but then fell short of expectations for the balance of holiday,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. in the written release. “We are examining the root cause of the December shortfall in sales, and will adjust our strategies accordingly going forward."

Stolen School Computers Found 2 Months Later


Police ave found 16 computers and additional electronics equipment that was stolen from a Manchester elementary school in November.

The value of the computers and other equipment stolen from Bowers Elementary School sometime between Nov. 9 and 12 was estimated around $20,000.

On Jan. 20, Manchester Police responded to 38 Hillside St. for a suspicious activity complaint and found 14 Apple laptops, 2 Apple desktops and several other electronic items inside an unlocked shed that was attached to the abandoned home, police said.

Police determined that the items were the electronics been reported stolen from Bowers School and said all items stolen from the school have been recovered.

Police are still investigating and no further information is available.

In the days after burglary, several members of the community came forward to make donations to begin replacing the stolen equipment.

Police Brutality Caught on Camera: Lawyer


A Bridgeport man has filed a lawsuit claiming police brutality against three Bridgeport police officers.

The suit was filed Monday, days after a video surfaced on YouTube of an arrest of Orlando Lopez. The video shows the officers standing above Lopez and kicking him as he is lying on the ground. Officers used a stun gun on Lopez during the arrest in Beardsley Park on May 20, 2011. Lopez and his family say the officers had every right to used excessive force by kicking and stomping on Lopez after he had been subdued.

The lawsuit claims officers Elson Morales, Joseph Lawlor and Clive Higgins deprived Lopez of his right to be free from excessive force and his right to due process. Lopez is seeking $1 million in the lawsuit.

"He was embarrassed and scared, his word against police," said Attorney Robert Berke, about the 20-month delay in filing the lawsuit on behalf of Lopez. "Having this tape changes the ballgame."

The three officers have been assigned to desk duty while the department investigates the incident.

Lopez is serving a five-year sentence on an unrelated weapons charge.

Photo Credit: YouTube

Repairs Continue after Storm Sandy


Brian Zysek with Installation, Inc. is busy working to repair the Beachhead Restaurant in East Haven.  It was one of the places hit by Sandy.
“It's not hard to see the damage that was done.  It's not a scam.  And it happened around the worse time, around Christmas time.  A lot of the business, restaurants and workers took most of December off because they were battling with FEMA,” said Zysek.
While the federal government does give businesses money to get back on their feet, it's by no means instantaneous.  So businesses are kept in the lurch, trying to figure out what to do.
“They have to wait.  There's a whole process.  There's paperwork.  Meanwhile, they A- have nowhere to live or no business to run,” said Zysek.
Governor Malloy is proposing new legislation that would get victims the money they need and fast!  He wants to set up the Connecticut Coordinated Assistance and Recovery Endowment, or CARE, which would serve as one big account set up to handle private donations.
“Every time we have an incident like this, somebody has to go through the paperwork and the time it takes to put these funds together,” said Governor Dannel Malloy.
This fund would eliminate that timely process and would guarantee that the donations are going to the right place.
“We were contacted at our Senate office for folks along Cosey Beach by people who wanted to donate, but they weren't sure where to donate to, where to send the money to.  I couldn't identify a group other than the Red Cross.  This now gives a whole other opportunity,” said Senator Len Fasano, who represents East Haven.
CARE still needs to be approved by the legislature, but the Governor doesn't anticipate any objections

New Haven Mayor Not Seeking Another Term



Tomorrow, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano will announce that he will not seek an 11th term as the city’s mayor, ending his streak as the longest serving mayor of the city.
The New Haven Independent reports that DeStefano, accompanied by his  family, will be making the announcement tomorrow at 5 p.m. at The Russian Lady where he held many election night victory parties.
According to The New Haven Independent, since DeStefano won his first term in 1993, no one has won more than 45-percent of the vote against him.


MDC Impostors Rob Hartford Home



The Metropolitan District Commission is warning customers after a group of men posing as water company employees entered a home in Hartford and robbed the homeowners.
According to Hartford Police Lt. Brian Foley, on Monday night two males knocked on the door of a Hubbard St. home claiming to be MDC employees. They entered the residence and asked the elderly residents to take them into the basement.
When the homeowners got suspicious and asked the men to leave, two other males entered the home. The four males then proceeded to steal a safe filled with thousands of dollars and jewelry from the home.
The MDC is urging residents to be alert for impostors. Spokeswoman Kerry Martin says that all MDC employees wear clothing and drive vehicles clearly marked with the MDC logo.
Martin also urges customers to ask for identification, stating that every MDC employee will gladly present it upon request.
Martin also says to follow the policy “No Identification, No Entry.”



Roads Slick, Schools Delayed


The snow is over, but the problems continue on roads across Connecticut because of icy spots.

Route 73 is closed by Municipal Stadium in Waterbury because of a serious crash. The state Department of Transportation is reporting that a car hit a pole.

Several other crashes have caused congestion and have since cleared.

There was a crash on Route 15 South in Meriden between exits 67S and 66, by Interstate 91.

Crashes are also reported on Route 83 between Charter Road in Ellington and Route 74 in Vernon.

Because of slick conditions, schools are opening late in several communities.

Almost 100 delays are reported.

See the full forecast here.

Check the interactive radar here.

Photo Credit: Rosemary Gargano
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