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Alert for Missing Teen Canceled


Police have canceled an alert for a 15-year-old girl from North Grosvenordale reported missing.

Police canceled the alert at 10:27 a.m. Until then, Chardonnae Presbre-Colt had last been seen near Riverside Drive around 8:30 p.m.

Police said she is a frequent runaway and they did not know her destination.

2 Smokers Hurt in Texas Oil Facility Explosion: Officials


Two people were critically injured in an explosion and fire Tuesday morning after smoking on a catwalk over oil storage tanks in northeast Texas, officials say.

According to Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen, at about 3 a.m. firefighters were called to a fire at an oil storage facility north of Van along state Highway 110.

At the facility are at least six 400-barrel fiberglass storage tanks, three of which caught fire and exploded, NBCDFW reported.  Multiple fire departments responded to the scene and ultimately decided to let the fire burn itself out.

A short time later, a 24-year-old man with burns to his face, chest and arms, and a 24-year-old woman also critically injured, showed up at the Van Fire Department seeking medical attention. Both were both taken to the East Texas Medical Center in Tyler before being transferred to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

The names of the victims have not been released and neither person has been identified as an employee of the storage facility.

Allen said the victims were believed to be trespassing and smoking on a catwalk above the storage tanks.

Allen added that most of the tanks had very little crude oil in them at the time of the explosion.

The fire marshal is working to identify which company owns the facility.


Nightclub Safety 101

Firefighters work to douse a fire at the Kiss Club in Santa Maria city, Rio Grande do Sul state, Brazil, Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. Firefighters say that the death toll from a fire that swept through a crowded nightclub in southern Brazil has risen to 180. Officials say the fire broke out at the club while a band was performing. At least 200 people were also injured. (AP Photo/Agencia RBS)

Lawmakers to Hear Testimony Today on Mental Health Services


The day after a bipartisan Gun Violence Prevention task force held 16-and-a-half hour hearing on preventing gun violence, a hearing will be held in Hartford on how to improve mental health in Connecticut.

Both hearings are being held in response to the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where 20 first graders and six staff members were killed on the morning of Friday, Dec, 14.  

The hearing of the mental health services working group begins at 10 a.m. at the legislative office building and the public portion begins at 2 p.m. 

Some of the ideas being offered include allowing people to put troubled relatives on a list to keep them from buying fire arms, improving access to mental health care for children and requiring mental health exams if you want to buy a gun.

You can view the testimony
on the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety Web site.


Woman Charged With Armed Robbery at Luv Express


Vernon police arrested a 20-year-old local woman accused of committing an armed robbery at Luv Express, an adult shop at 65 Windsor Ave., on Monday night.

Police said Angela Jordan, 20, of West Street, was wearing a mask and holding a knife when she demanded money from the clerk.

Jordan fled with an undisclosed amount of cash, according to police.

An East Hartford Police K9 team was called to assist and found Jordan at her home.

As police were taking her into custody, they found 43 bags of heroin, according to a news release from police.

Jordan was charged with robbery in the first degree, larceny in the second degree, possession of narcotics and carrying a dangerous weapon.

She is being held on a $100,000 surety bond and will be presented in Rockville Superior Court on Tuesday.

This is the second armed robbery at Luv Express in a month.

A man robbed the store at gunpoint on Saturday, Dec. 29, according to the Vernon Patch.


Driver Hospitalized After SUV Hits House


A sport utility vehicle hit a house at Warren and Windsor streets in Hartford on Tuesday morning and the driver has been taken to a local hospital.

Weather might have been a factor. Roads were slick this morning after temperatures dropped, turning a mix of snow and rain from the storm yesterday into ice in some areas.

The SUV went through the gate and hit the porch, according to police.

Whether anyone was injured is not known.

Photo Credit: Stephania Jimenez, NBC Connecticut

New Haven Officer Accused of Domestic Violence


A 14-year veteran of the New Haven police department has been charged with assault and threatening after a domestic violence complaint was filed and he has been assigned to administrative duties, according to New Haven police.   

A woman filed a domestic violence complaint against Officer Juan Monzon, 47, of West Haven, on Friday with the department’s internal affairs office, according to police.

Police said Monzon turned himself in to the internal affairs investigators at police headquarters at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday.

He has cooperated with the investigation and surrendered his duty weapon, in compliance with a domestic violence court order, according to police.

Monzon has been placed on administrative duties within the department.

"The department followed through immediately with the investigation. We hold our Officers to high standards and take such complaints seriously - as we would when investigating similar complaints involving civilians. The department continued the investigation throughout the weekend, securing an arrest warrant from the office of the State’s Attorney,” Police Chief Dean Esserman said in a statement.

Monzon has been charged with risk of injury to a minor, assault in the third degree and threatening in the first degree.

The arrest warrant has a $10,000 court set bond.

The chief said the police union was also contacted.


Man in Critical Condition After Bridgeport Shooting


A male is in critical condition after a shooting at a public housing complex in Bridgeport on Tuesday afternoon.

Police said the shooting happened between Buildings 4 and 5 of the Bridgeport Housing Authority’s Charles F. Greene Homes apartment complex on Washington Avenue.

The victim was shot at least once and is at St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

The victim’s age and name have not been released.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Increase Patrols During Super Bowl


If you plan to imbibe on Super Bowl Sunday and on St. Patrick’s Day, make sure you have a designated driver.

Police in Farmington said they will be out in full force, working to make the roads safer through a grant from the Department of Transportation.

Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia

Water Department Impostors Strike in Meriden


Two men who claimed to be Water Department employees stole $5,000 from an elderly Meriden couple after getting into their home on Saturday morning.

The perpetrators went to a home on Sunbright Drive North at 11:15 a.m. on Saturday and got into the house after telling the homeowners, who are in their 80s, that there was a problem with the water, police said. 

One man went to the basement, distracting the homeowners, while the second broke into a cabinet and stole $5,000, according to police.

Detectives gathered some evidence and canvassed the area for any video or witnesses, but did not find any.

This is the second incident of this type in the Gravel Street area in the last few months, according to police.

Police said one perpetrator is 5-feet-9, in his 50s with a chubby build and has a New York accent.
The second is about 6-feet-tall, with a heavy build, in his 40s, and possibly has a Spanish accent.

Police want residents to know that City of Meriden Water Department employees have ID cards, uniforms and marked City of Meriden vehicles.

Any homeowner who is suspicious should call the police department for verification on the employee’s status.

This type of incident has happened in other towns.

Men posing as Metropolitan District Commission workers got into an elderly couple’s home in Hartford on Monday and stole a safe holding $10,000 and jewelry.

The Middletown Press reports that two men used a similar tactic in Middletown, but the men left without taking anything after a resident started asking questions.

In October, West Hartford police said men posing as water company employees were targeting elderly residents and robbed one couple.

Meriden detectives are investigating whether this incident is connected to others that have happened in other towns.

Vigil Tonight in Memory of Girls Killed in Putnam Fire


A vigil will be held tonight in Putnam in memory of two little girls who were killed in a fire at their home last Tuesday morning.

Alexis Auger, 3, and 9-month-old Ava Auger died of smoke inhalation during a fire at a multifamily home on Prospect Street.

The vigil will be held at Rotary Park at 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: Steve Miller, NBC Connecticut

School Security Forum Tonight in Newington


A school security forum will be held on Tuesday night in Newington to discuss school security issues.

It will take place at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium and panel members will include the mayor, town manager, police chief, superintendent of schools, board of education chairperson, and director of school security.

Parents and residents are invited.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

A-Rod Denies Report Linking Him to PEDs


Alex Rodriguez denied a newspaper report that accused him of buying human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances from a Miami-area clinic.

The Miami New Times, an alternative weekly, reported Tuesday that it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, Gio Gonzalez, Bartolo Colon, Nelson Cruz and Yasmani Grandal from a clinic called Biogenesis, run by Anthony Bosch. The paper also posted copies of what it said were Bosch's handwritten records, obtained through a former Biogenesis employee.

Rodriguez admitted four years ago that he used PEDs from 2001-03. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were suspended for 50 games each last year by MLB following tests for elevated testosterone.

"We are always extremely disappointed to learn of potential links between players and the use of performance-enhancing substances," MLB said in a statement. "Only law enforcement officials have the capacity to reach those outside the game who are involved in the distribution of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. ... We are in the midst of an active investigation and are gathering and reviewing information."

A baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements, said Monday that MLB did not have any documentation regarding the allegations. If MLB does obtain evidence, the players could be subject to discipline. First offenses result in a 50-game suspension and second infractions in 100-game penalties. A third violation results in a lifetime ban.

Rodriguez is sidelined for at least the first half of the season after hip surgery Jan. 16. A 50-game suspension would cost him $7.65 million of his $28 million salary.

"The news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true," Rodriguez said in a statement issued by a publicist. "He was not Mr. Bosch's patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story — at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez — are not legitimate."

Jay Reisinger, a lawyer who has presented Rodriguez in recent years, said the three-time AL MVP had retained Roy Black, an attorney from Rodriguez's hometown of Miami. Black's clients have included Rush Limbaugh and William Kennedy Smith.

Rodriguez spent years denying he used PEDs before Sports Illustrated reported in February 2009 that he tested positive for two steroids in MLB's anonymous survey while with the Texas Rangers in 2003. Two days later, he admitted in an ESPN interview that he used PEDs over a three-year period. He has denied using PEDs after 2003.

If the new allegations were true, the Yankees would face high hurdles to get out of the final five years of Rodriguez's contract, which call for him to receive $114 million. Because management and the players' union have a joint drug agreement, an arbitrator could determine that any action taken by the team amounted to multiple punishments for the same offense.

The Yankees said "this matter is now in the hands of the commissioner's office" and said they will not comment further until MLB's investigation ends.

Gonzalez posted on his Twitter feed: "I've never used performance enhancing drugs of any kind and I never will, I've never met or spoken with tony Bosch or used any substance provided by him. anything said to the contrary is a lie."

Colon was not issuing a statement, agent Adam Katz said through spokeswoman Lisa Cohen. Sam and Seth Levinson, the agents for Cabrera and Cruz, did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Cruz and Gonzalez had not previously been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. Cruz's team, the Texas Rangers, said it notified MLB last week after being contacted by the New Times.

The New Times report said it obtained notes by Bosch listing the players' names and the substances they received. Several unidentified employees and clients confirmed to the publication that the clinic distributed the substances, the paper said. The employees said that Bosch bragged of supplying drugs to professional athletes but they never saw the sports stars in the office.

Rodriguez appears 16 times in the documents it received, the paper said, either as "Alex Rodriguez," ''Alex Rod" or the nickname "Cacique," a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief. The paper said the records list that Rodriguez paid for HGH; testosterone cream; IGF-1, a substance banned by baseball that stimulates insulin production; and GHRP, which releases growth hormones.

Rodriguez's cousin, Yuri Sucart, also is listed as having purchased HGH. Sucart was banned from the Yankees clubhouse, charter flights, bus and other team-related activities by MLB in 2009 after Rodriguez said Sucart obtained and injected PEDs for him.

Also listed among the records, according to the New Times, are tennis player Wayne Odesnik, Cuban boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa and Jimmy Goins, the strength and conditioning coach of the University of Miami baseball team.

Mia Ro, a spokeswoman for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in Miami, said she could not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation in Bosch or the clinic.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Gay Boy Scout Hopeful of National Change


The news on Monday that the Boy Scouts of America has signaled its readiness to end the exclusion of gays as scouts or leaders came as a welcome surprise to one California family, whose teenage son has become a media celebrity for being openly gay and denied his Eagle Scout status.

"This was a big surprise," said Eric Andresen, whose son, Ryan, has been very public about his scouting experience, even sharing his tale on NBC's "Ellen."  "But it's a welcome surprise. This is a baby step, though. I hope they don't think that they can dodge the whole bullet on this one with just this step."

What Eric Andresen is referring to is the Boy Scouts' announcement, which would not only possibly allow homosexuals to become scouts or leaders, but also give the sponsors of local troops the freedom to decide the matter for themselves. The Scouts' national executive board could meet as soon as next week, and if approved, the change would be another momentous milestone for America's gay-rights movement, following a surge of support for same-sex marriage and the ending of the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Eric Andresen, who works as a property manager in San Francisco, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday that his son is glad that change seems to be on the horizon.

Ryan Andresen, 18, joined the Boy Scouts 12 years ago, and completed all the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, but was deemed ineligible to receive the award from Troop 2012 because he was gay. Despite support from heavy hitters such as U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, a national representative told Ryan Andresen that he didn't meet all the requirements.

"I hope people understand discrimination is not OK," Andresen told Ellen DeGeneres, who is also gay, when he appeared on her show in October. He added that he felt "so blessed" to have been a Boy Scout and that the organization offers opportunities "like nothing else will ever grant you in your whole entire life...I don’t think its fair that not everyone gets the opportunity to go through it."

Under the proposed change outlined Monday by the Scouts, the different religious and civic groups that sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the issue - either maintaining an exclusion of gays, as is now required of all units, or opening up their membership. It's unclear at this point if Ryan Andresen would receive his Eagle status or not.

Of course, not everyone is happy with the Boy Scouts' proposed change. Southern Baptist leaders - who consider homosexuality a sin - for example, were furious about the possible change and said its approval might encourage Southern Baptist churches to support other boys' organizations instead of the BSA. Protests over the no-gays policy gained momentum in 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the BSA's right to exclude gays. Scout units lost sponsorships by public schools and other entities that adhered to nondiscrimination policies, and several local Scout councils made public their displeasure with the policy.
More recently, pressure surfaced on the Scouts' own national executive board. Two high-powered members - Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T Inc. CEO Randall Stephenson - indicated they would try to work from within to change the membership policy, which stood in contrast to their own companies' non-discrimination policies.
Amid petition campaigns by Change.org, Intel, shipping giant UPS Inc. and drug-manufacturer Merck & Co. announced that they were halting donations from their charitable foundations to the Boy Scouts as long as the no-gays policy was in force.
The announcement came shortly after new data showed that membership in the Cub Scouts - the BSA's biggest division - dropped sharply last year and was down nearly 30 percent over the past 14 years. According to figures provided by the organization, Cub Scout ranks dwindled by 3.4 percent, from 1,583,166 in 2011 to 1,528,673 in 2012. That's down from 2.17 million in 1998.

Eric Andresen noted that all these reasons - especially the loss of corporate funding and the 1.2 million people who had signed the multiple Change.org petitions - probably fueled the fire for the switch in gears. Whatever the reason, or reasons, Eric Andresen said, his son is hopeful "they're finally doing something."

"As he's said before," Eric Andresen said. "He just doesn't want another scout to have to go through this."
 Associated Press writers David Crary, John Seewer in Toledo, Ohio, and Rachel Zoll in New York contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Cheryl Hurd

Middletown Eye Doctor Arrested


A Middletown optician whose professional license was suspended last year after he was charged with sexually assaulting a customer was arrested on Tuesday after an investigation revealed that he had continued to practice as an eye doctor, according to the Division of Criminal Justice.

Jeffrey Fine, 66, of Portland, was charged with one count of unlawfully practicing as an optician, one count of criminal attempt at unlawfully practicing as an Optician and one count of deceptive ownership or management of an optical establishment.

Middletown police arrested Fine in March 2012 and charged him with sexual assault in the third degree and the case is pending.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit in the latest case, the State Board of Examiners For Opticians suspended Fine’s professional license in May 2012, according to the Division or Criminal Justice.
He also had been reprimanded and placed on probation by the state Department of Public Health in 2002, following another, similar incident, according to the warrant.

In October 2012 a DPH investigator posing as a customer seeking eyeglasses met with Fine, who provided services that only a licensed optician can provide, the warrant states.

Fine was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Middletown Superior Court, G.A. No. 9, on Feb. 21.

Sources: Heroin Use Probed in Death of Pickens' Grandson


Police are investigating the death of Thomas "Ty" Boone Pickens IV, the 21-year-old grandson of billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens, as a possible drug overdose, two sources familiar with the investigation told NBC 5.

At least one witness told investigators that Pickens, a student at Texas Christian University, took the prescription drug Xanax and later injected heroin in the hours before he died, the sources said.

Pickens was pronounced dead Tuesday morning at Baylor All Saints Medical Center, where a friend brought him after saying he wouldn't wake up. He already may have been dead for several hours, the sources added.

Pickens had been staying at off-campus condos located in the 1800 block of Rogers Road, Fort Worth police Cpl. Tracey Knight said. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner will determine his cause of death, she added.

A young man who answered the door at the condo did not want to give his name, but said that he and his cousin -- also TCU students -- were with Pickens Monday night.

The man, who was visibly shaking, said Pickens told them he had taken Xanax earlier Monday and later used heroin inside their condo when the two had gone to the store and left Pickens alone.

When they returned from the store, Pickens appeared to be sleeping, he said.

Tuesday morning, when Pickens did not wake up, he and his cousin carried his body to a car, he said. His cousin drove Pickens to the hospital while he went to class, he said.

The man said police searched the condo for drugs later Tuesday morning, but he could not say what officers found.

Police had not yet decided late Tuesday whether or not to arrest anyone who may have been involved in the drug use.

Knight said homicide detectives were notified of the death but it wasn't known if they would lead the investigation.

News of the death and the possible drug connection was certain to spread fast across the TCU campus following a well-publicized drug raid just last year.

A spokesman for Pickens' grandfather issued a written statement.

"Ty’s loss at such a young age is an unspeakable family tragedy for the entire Pickens family and his many friends.  We mourn his passing and respectfully request that the family be allowed to grieve in private in this time of sorrow," said Jay Rosser, spokesperson for T. Boone Pickens.

The university also emailed a statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this member of our community and our hearts and thoughts are with Ty’s family at this time,” said Cavins Tull, TCU vice chancellor for student affairs. “Staff members are available if students need to speak with someone about this sad news.”

TCU360.com reports Pickens was a junior majoring in strategic communication.

A spokeswoman for the Tarrant County Medical Examiner did not immediately return a call for comment.

NBC 5's Amanda Guerra and Meredith Land contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com/ty.pickens

The Final Answer to the Tim Tebow Mystery


It took almost a year, but someone finally stood up and took responsibility for the trade that brought Tim Tebow to the New York Jets. 

Former general manager Mike Tannenbaum didn't let his lack of obligation to the team stop him from raising his hand to stop the wondering once and for all. Tannenbaum called it "a trade that just didn't work out" during an interview with ESPNNewYork.com that serves as the final episode of a show that you stopped watching a long time ago. 

"Once we met on it and talked about it, ultimately that was my decision to trade for Tim," Tannenbaum said. "I had a great working relationship with both Woody (Johnson) and Rex (Ryan). Anytime we'd make a decision on something like this, we'd talk about it, discuss the pros and cons and ultimately it was my decision. I've always said that."

Tannenbaum laid out the thought process that preceded the trade and why the team didn't think it would be a problem to bring Tebow into the locker room. It's still hard to believe that Ryan would allow a player who comes with Tebow's baggage onto the team and then allow him to sit unused or that Johnson's constant enthusiasm about Tebow wasn't a reflection of his feelings, but it's a good lesson to never argue with someone who wants to take the blame. 

Tannenbaum clammed up when it came to explaining why things went pear-shaped, which is fine since there's no way to unspill milk. It won't do much to recommend him for future employment in the football world, but Tannenbaum's willingness to fall on the grenade should finally put an end to the Tebow era. 

He'll be gone soon enough, floated out to sea with the rest of the debris from this miserable season while Johnson and Ryan can answer questions about what's next for the Jets. According to new general manager John Idzik, finding competition for Mark Sanchez ranks high on the list

Thankfully, the search is not (yet?) desperate enough for the team to take a look at bloated former first overall pick JaMarcus Russell. Russell is trying a comeback after three years out of the game and his first obstacle is the fact that he weighs 308 pounds. 

The team shot down any talk of interest in Russell quickly. Presumably they have a few better ideas than Tebow and Russell kicking around now that Idzik is on the job. 

If not, 2012 will likely be referred to as the good old days. 

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images

West Haven Bakery Closing After Decades in Business


A West Haven institution is closing its doors after 67 years in business.

The owners of Peschell's Bakery announce Tuesday that they are retiring and closing the business for good. Peschell's has been on Campbell Avenue since 1946.

"This bitter sweet decision did not come lightly for our family," owner Harold Peschell wrote in a letter posted on the bakery's Facebook page. "Small businesses are at the heart of a community, however, in an ever-changing business climate, the demands of owning a business and the competition have become increasingly challenging."

"There are no more butcher shops or bakeries in West Haven," said Donna Peschell, the owner's daughter. "People can go into Stop & Shop and get everything they need. We can't compete with the big stores."

The store originally opened on Grand Avenue in New Haven, before moving to it's location on Campbell Avenue in West Haven.

The official last day for Peschell's Bakery is Feb. 1, but the store closed two weeks ago as it does for the end of January every year, and it won't reopen, according to Donna Peschell.

Photo Credit: Peschell's Bakery/Facebook

Moss Proclaims He's "The Greatest Receiver" in NFL History


Super Bowl Media Day is upon us, a time when the density of journalists and athletes reaches critical mass. Usually, this intense proximity causes one or two moments noteworthy for their ridiculousness, despite most players endeavoring to maintain a low profile.

Leave it to Niners wide receiver Randy Moss to make things interesting.

"I do think I'm the greatest receiver," declared Moss. "This year has been a down year for me statistically, the year before I retired was a down year and then in Oakland was a down year. So, I don’t really live on numbers, I really live on impact and what you're able to do out on that field. So I really do think that I'm the greatest receiver ever to play this game."

As heads around the world shook in disbelief, NFL Network analyst Rich Eisen said what we all were thinking.

"And Jerry Rice just threw something at his television set," joked Eisen, who went on to express his gratitude to Moss for offering something other than the standard boilerplate so many athletes regurgitate.

But sometimes boilerplate is exactly what a team needs, and that's what deposed Niners starting QB Alex Smith offered up. Media Day can be a grind under the best of circumstances, so imagine the dread felt by Smith, who lost his starting job in November, after sustaining a concussion during a 24-24 tie with the St. Louis Rams.

In less than three months, Smith has gone from leading the offense of a first-place team to not even having a podium at Media Day. But Smith took it like a man, standing there amid a rotating throng of journalists, addressing the biggest loss of his career.

"It's tough, for sure. I'm not gonna lie to you," Smith said. "It hasn't been the easiest thing, it's been frustrating, disappointing, for sure. I really felt like I was playing my best football right before the injury, so that's been tough. But at the same time, you deal with it, you move on… Do I still deal with it? For sure. But this is a team game. I love the locker room, I love the group of guys we have, and that's bigger than me. I certainly wasn't gonna put myself before any of that."

Colin Kaepernick, the man who replaced Smith as the starting QB, made every effort to be equally gracious about the awkward situation.

"Alex is a great guy, he's been phenomenal this whole time," Kaepernick said when asked about his relationship with his predecessor. "He's done everything he can to help, and he continues to help me."

Kaepernick hopes to lead San Francisco to their sixth Super Bowl championship, which would tie them with the Steelers for most all time. Naturally, he turned to Steve Young, who in 1995 led SF to the last of those titles, for some advice.

"Steve Young gave me two words that he thought about when he thought about the Super Bowl: 'humility' and 'fierce.' Those are two things that resonated with me.

Nobody drew a bigger crowd at Media Day than Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, one of the NFL's biggest, loudest, most controversial personalities.

Among the first question thrown his way was about the recent "Saturday Night Live" sketch spoofing his emotional outburst during the National Anthem ahead of the AFC Championship game against the Patriots.

"I'm a big comedian myself, so I love comedy," laughed Lewis. "I looked at it, I enjoyed it, like most fans enjoyed it."

On a more serious note, Lewis is mentioned in a Sports Illustrated story that went online shortly before Lewis faced the media, in which it is claimed that the future Hall-of-Famer had used a banned substance, deer antler velvet extract, to come back from injury. Lewis brushed aside questions about the report.

"Two years ago it was the same report, I wouldn’t give that report or him any of my press," said Lewis. "He's not worthy of that. Next question."

Lewis offered a more formal denial via the Ravens.

"Ray has been randomly tested for banned substances and has never failed a test. We have never been notified of a failed test. He has never been notified of a failed test," Kevin Byrne, vice president of communications for the Ravens, told ESPN. "He denied using the substance discussed in the article and we believe him."

With five more days until the big game, you can be sure we haven't heard the last of deer antler velvet extract.

Photo Credit: AP

Vigil for Victims of Putnam Fire


On Tuesday night friends said goodbye to Ava and Alexis Auger at a candlelight vigil. 

The young sisters were killed a week ago in a Putnam house fire. 

Investigators said the damage was so bad they might never know the cause. 

The girls’ loved ones struggle to find closure and hoped the vigil would help them heal.

Dozens prayed for peace at Rotary park and remembered 9 month old Ava and her 3 year old Alexis.
 “She was everything to me,” said Ava’s father,  Michael Bandlow.  “Her smile...her little beautiful smile."
 That was something everyone at the vigil struggled with.
“It’s like a part of me leaving...that’s what it is, part of me leaving,” said Lee Auger, their great uncle.  “I’m going to miss these girls...I raised them."
 He could not imagine what the sisters went through when the fire raged through their bedroom last week.
“You don’t know this is going to kill me for the rest of my life,” Auger added.
The mother of the girls was going through a lot as well.  Lauren Auger managed to escape from the burning home.  She is pregnant and due in a few weeks.
“She’s doing alright. It’s day by day,” said friend Shanon Ciukaj. 
Friends tried to find strength in each other and give her support.  
“We're trying to do everything we can to help,” Ciukaj explained. 
 The hardest part for the victim’s parents was knowing they would never get to see their children grow up.
“Its been tough...very very tough,” Michael Bandlow said.
Investigators ruled the fire was accidental. They said they wanted to know if the building was up to code and that was something they were looking into.


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