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Deadline for Storm Sandy Unemployment Benefits Is Feb. 4


If you were not able to work because of Superstorm Sandy, you can apply for disaster unemployment assistance until Feb. 4.

Connecticut residents who lost their jobs due to the disaster should file a claim by calling their local TeleBenefits line.

To find your local number, visit the Connecticut Department of Labor website at www.ctdol.state.ct.us, check the blue pages of your telephone directory or call the Infoline at 211.

The U.S. Department of Labor oversees the DUA program in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which provides the funds for payment of benefits and reimburses the state for its administrative costs.

DUA is available to those who are not eligible for state unemployment benefits, including the self-employed, farmers and farm workers.

Workers may qualify for DUA if:

  • They were injured in the disaster and are unable to work;
  • Their workplace was damaged or destroyed;
  • Transportation to work is not available;
  • They could not get to their job because they must travel through an affected area;
  • The disaster prevented them from starting a new job;
  • Their business suffered because most of its income was derived from an affected area; and They are able and available for work, unless injured in the disaster, and have not refused a suitable offer of employment.

Registering for FEMA disaster assistance is not required to apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance.


Photo Credit: AP

Manchester Police Investigate Home Invasion


Manchester police are investigating a home invasion that occurred on Monday night and said a small child was home when it occurred.

The home invasion happened on Woodland Street at 7:20 p.m., according to police.

The victim said a man entered her apartment while she was home with a small child, a brief struggle ensued with the intruder fled the scene.

He was wearing a black sweatshirt, blue jeans and dark “beanie” style hat and was wearing a backpack of some type, according to police.

The victim sustained minor non-life threatening injuries, but refused further medical treatment.  

Police said the intruder appeared to be looking for specific items that he believed were in the residence, so investigators believe this crime was targeted and not chosen at random.

Anyone with information should call Manchester police at (860) 645-5510.

Photo Credit: WNBC

Latino Families Targeted in Phone Scam


A new phone scam has been targeting Latinos. Nearly two dozen victims came forward in the last few days, and now multiple police departments were trying to track down the thieves.

The scammers have made phone calls and sent text messages to Latinos across the Greater Hartford Area.

"This is very alarming," said Hartford City Councilor Raul DeJesus Jr..

According to Hartford Police, a man would call and say the victim's relative was in a car accident or being held for ransom, and he needed money to help them out.

Investigators said in many cases he spoke Spanish.

"Usually if they hear the information given to them in Spanish it may bring some credibility to it," said DeJesus Jr.

People have bought the story. Police said at least thirteen from Hartford and four in Manchester wired money through Western Union to Puerto Rico since Sunday. They sent anywhere from $500 to $1,000.

"All the victims have been of Hispanic descent were tracked down over the Internet, after the scammers did research," said Sgt. Glendaly Garcia.

"There are websites that are being utilized to pinpoint names of family members and the victims themselves," Sgt. Garcia added.

Police want the public to be on high alert if they get a similar call or text message.

"Don't send the money and when in doubt ask for names sources company," Sgt. Garcia explained.

Anyone who has received the scam calls and has wired money are encouraged to report it to Hartford Police at 860-757-446.



Frozen Pipe Causes Extensive Damage to Library


A Farmington library branch remains closed after a pipe froze and burst during the cold snap causing flooding and extensive damage.

A dumpster now sits outside the Barney Library branch on Main Street. Inside, fans sit around the building to dry the floors, walls are destroyed, and thousands of books sit in boxes. It's all because flooding devastated the historic building after a pipe in a second floor wall froze and broke sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

 An employee discovered the damage just after six o'clock Saturday morning.

"When he came in, he found Niagara Falls coming down the wall by our circulation desk and our children's area," said Kathy Lescoe who is the director of the branch.

The fire department turned off the water to the building and workers scrambled to move 7500 books out of the children's area. They're boxed up now and still sit in alphabetical order. None of the books were damaged.

The building was built back in 1917 and once served as the town's main library. Renovations just wrapped up about two years ago. Now, damage estimates are still being tallied.

"We don't know at this point and we don't know when the library may be opening again. We'll be closed for a while anyway," said Andy Baron, the chairman of the library's Board of Trustees.

As bad as the damage is, workers are thankful it wasn't worse.

"It's heartbreaking," said Lescoe.

For now, programs and services are being provided at the town's main library.

Sandy Hook Chorus to Sing at Super Bowl


The chorus from Sandy Hook Elementary School will sing "America the Beautiful" before Sunday's Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, The Associated Press reported.

The chorus features 26 children from Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where 20 first-graders and six adults were killed in a shooting rampage last month.

The performance will be part of CBS's pre-game show and will be broadcast live.

For full U.S. news coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

A few weeks ago, the chorus joined Grammy-nominated singer Ingrid Michaelson to record "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for the one-month anniversary of the shooting.

According to Rolling Stone magazine, the children of the choir and Michaelson recorded the song in the home studio of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and the Tom Tom Club, who are longtime Connecticut residents.

You can download the track here. Proceeds will go to benefit the Newtown Youth Academy and the United Way of Western Connecticut.


Photo Credit: Getty Images for Tim Hayes

Officer Arrested for Armed Sexual Battery: Miami Police


A Miami Police officer was arrested Wednesday on charges of armed sexual battery by a law enforcement officer and armed kidnapping, police said.

Luis Hernandez, 27, a seven-year member of the police department, was arrested by internal affairs detectives after DNA evidence backed up a woman's claims he kidnapped and sexually battered her in November 2011, police said.

"The findings were enough to have a Miami-Dade County judge sign an arrest warrant and charge Officer Luis Hernandez with sexual battery by a law enforcement officer, and armed kidnapping," Miami Police spokeswoman Officer Kenia Reyes said.

The charges stem from an early morning alleged attack by Hernandez on Nov. 26, 2011. That day, he was called in to relieve an officer going off-duty by transporting a 44-year-old woman to to the Miami-Dade County Jail. She had just been arrested after an earlier bar fight, police said.

Hernandez picked up the victim from a colleague at police headquarters just after one o'clock that morning. Soon after, she said, he drove her to a parking lot off the 2500 block of Northwest 2nd Avenue. She recalled that Hernandez told her, "I'm going to help you," police said.

Man "A Danger to the Women of the Community": Judge

The victim told police internal affairs investigators that Hernandez gave her some gauze and told her to clean up her face. With her shirt torn from the fight hours earlier, she recalled Hernandez poured a liquid onto a scratch on her breast. Then, she said, Hernandez lifted her shirt, and began fondling her.

Police documents note the victim told investigators that Hernandez, dressed in police uniform, removed his duty belt and exposed himself. According to the victim, the officer then told her to "get down," a demand, she believed, for oral sex.

The victim refused, and she claimed Hernandez began fondling her private parts. According to police, she said he then ordered her to turn around, and she begged him to stop.

Officer Arrested After Woman Accused Him of Having Sex With Her: Report

After the encounter, the victim said she was handed off to a detention officer, but because of her wounds, that officer asked Hernandez to come with him and the victim to jail. While being processed, the victim, who is a Spanish-speaking undocumented immigrant, felt comfortable sharing the story that would launch the investigation, police said.

Within months, DNA evidence linked Hernandez to the crime, they said.

Mayor Tomas Regalado told NBC 6 the investigation and arrest proves the city demands the best of its officers.

"To me, this is not a scandal, this is a clean up of the department," he said.

Hernandez is being held without bond, online Miami-Dade Corrections records said. It was not known if he has an attorney.

More Local Stories:


Photo Credit: NBC 6 South Florida

Kwame Harris: Chris Culliver Is Spreading Hate


Former San Francisco 49er and openly gay football player Kwame Harris has responded to Chris Culliver's comments on gays in the NFL.

"It’s surprising that in 2013 Chris Culliver would use his 15 minutes to spread vitriol and hate. I recognize that these are comments that he may come to regret and that he may come to see that gay people are not so different than straight people," Harris told NBC Bay Area.

Harris was outed as a gay man just this week. He was charged with assaulting a former boyfriend last summer outside a Menlo Park restaurant, and the charge became public after a recent court appearance.

Culliver's comments, in which the 49er suggested that gay players would not be welcome in the 49ers' locker room, came during an interview with shock jock radio host Artie Lange on Super Bowl Media Day Tuesday.

"I don't do the gay guys, man," Culliver told Lange. "No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do. Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah ... can't be ... in the locker room, man."

By 8:30 p.m. ET, Culliver released a statement apologizing for what he said.

"The derogatory comments I made yesterday were a reflection of thoughts in my head, but they are not how I feel. It has taken me seeing them in print to realize that they are hurtful and ugly. Those discriminating feelings are truly not in my heart. Further, I apologize to those who I have hurt and offended, and I pledge to learn and grow from this experience,” Culliver's statement read.

The 49ers issued a statement as well, saying the team rejects Culliver's comments.

"The San Francisco 49ers reject the comments that were made yesterday, and have addressed the matter with Chris. There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level. We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community,” the statement read.

Burger Joint Feeds Sick Lion

Twisted Root burgers donated 50 pounds of elk meat to help a sick lion get better in Texas. Click here for the story.

Power Out for Thousands


Power is out for more than 68,000 Connecticut Light and power customers and more than 12,000 United Illuminating customers on Thursday morning as a significant storm system rolls through the state.

Transformer explosions have contributed to the problem.

The highest prcentages of outages for CL&P customers are in East Haddam, Franklin, Woodstock, Montville and Salem, but they are outages throughout the state. Power is out for more than 1,000 customers in Cromwell, Coventry, Hartford, Clinton, Glastonbury, Guilford, East Haddam. Darien, Danbury, Killingworth, Montville, Monroe, Norwalk, Mansfield, Manchester, Madison, Newtown, Tolland, Stafford, Sprague, Stamford, Seymour, and Westport.  

More than 2,000 power outages are reported in Bridgeport and Stratford for UI, and more than 1,000 are without power in Fairfield, Milford and North Branford

Power outages are affecting the school day. More than 70 delays and closings are posted.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles Bridgeport branch office will open late because of power outages. Check the DMV Web site for updates.

The weather will calm down tomorrow with breezy weather, clearing skies and falling temperatures.

Advisories are posted through tomorrow morning.

You can watch the interactive radar here.

If you take weather photos. you can send them to us here.


Extreme Weather 2013

2012 was the hottest, and some say most extreme, weather year in U.S. history. 2013 Promises more of the same. Already we've seen dramatic weather including tornadoes, damaging thunderstorms and snow. Here Will Carter, surveys tornado damage to his house in Adairsville, GA. Click to see more dramatic weather photos.

Dad Smoked Crack With Kids in Car: Cops


Police arrested a Torrington man Tuesday night after officers said he smoked crack in a car with his 2-year-old twins sitting in the back seat.

According to authorities, Dennis Robinson's wife called police after he failed to pick her up from work in Plainville. She called Robinson, 28, several times but he continued to give her excuses for not showing up, police said. Four hours later, Robinson's wife finally got a ride home and called police to report her husband and her two children missing.

Officers spotted Robinson's 2002 Dodge Durango and tried to stop him. According to police he briefly tried to flee, but officers stopped him on Harwinton Road.

Another man in the car told police the two drove to Waterbury and bought crack cocaine with the kids in the back seat. The pair smoked the crack in the car, according to police.

Robinson is charged with risk of injury to a minor. He was released on a $20,000 bond. His other man was not charged.

Photo Credit: Torrington Police

Calif. Family Mourns F-16 Pilot's Death


The body of a U.S. Air Force pilot reported missing off the coast of Italy has been found, officials said.

Captain Lucas Gruenther, 32, of Twaine Harte, Calif. was killed when his F-16 fighter jet disappeared after taking off from Aviano Air Base Monday. He was taking part in a nighttime training mission at the time of the crash.

A shipping vessel found some fragments from the plane Tuesday. According to the family, they included Gruenther's drogue parachute and helmet that was intact. His family was optimistic that he would be found alive.

Ongoing search efforts in the area were hampered by heavy fog. Then, on Wednesday, Gruenther’s body was recovered in the Adriatic Sea, officials said.

"A compassionate husband, a loving son, and a devoted brother; Luc leaves behind a family who loves him dearly and a legacy of achievement," a family statement reads.

"We will never fully recover from our loss, but take heart in the knowledge that during his all-too-short time in this world, he made a significant difference in the lives of all whom he met."

Sacramento television station KCRA reported that Gruenther was from Twaine Harte in California’s Central Valley.

The pilot had married Cassy, his high school sweetheart, who is expecting the couple’s first child, Serene, in a few weeks.

She spoke of her husband to the base website, describing him as a "health nut" who learned to speak fluent Italian and loved to go sky diving, rock climbing and scuba diving. The couple documented many of their travels on their blog "Luc and Cassy."

Gruenther served six months in Afghanistan and was the grandson of Army Gen. Alfred Gruenther, who served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 1953 to 1956.

Photo Credit: U.S. Air Force

Tree Falls on House, Then Fire Starts


More than 50 firefighters battled a house fire on Olive Road that started around 9 a.m. on Thursday.

When firefighters, they found smoke coming from every window and flames were shooting out of the sides of the house. 

Jeremiah Olden  was only one person in the home when the fire broke out and he escaped unharmed with two dogs and two cats, according to family members.

His wife, Autumn, was at work when the fire started, according to family.  

A tree fell on top of the house hours earlier, and firefighters said wires, the metal roof and the lingering wind from the powerful storm that swept through made the fire more difficult to fight.

Whether the toppled tree caused the fire is not yet clear.

Cody Olden, of Lebanon, said his uncle Jeremiah, who is a works as a tree trimmer, was cool, calm and collected.

“He knew what to do and he did it fast,” Cody said.

Jeremiah Olden’s mother, Cheryl, lives in a finished garage on the property and said her alerted her to the fire.

“My son came up and alerted me and said, ‘Quickly get dressed get out. My house is on fire,” she said.

Firefighters from Lebanon, Columbia, Bozrah and Hebron battled the blaze.

Photo Credit: Amy Parmenter, NBC Connecticut

Police Interrupt Thieves Stealing Cars, Auto Accessories


A Branford police officer interrupted four men and a juvenile from New Haven accused of stealing cars and auto accessories in a dimly lit parking lot on North Main Street just after 1 a.m. on Thursday. 

As the officer stopped his patrol car to investigate, the thieves jumped into two stolen cars and fled, police said. One vehicle backed into the patrol car.

The officer brought in reinforcements and the stolen vehicles fled, lost control as they tried to enter Interstate 95 eastbound and crashed into the woods near the highway, police said.

Officers said they immediately apprehend Emilio Davila, 18; Jose Natal, 19; Gerald Dejesus-Ortiz; and a 15 year old juvenile.

Police said Jose Sanchez, 18, ran off, but an officer and a K-9 apprehended him.

Police said they recovered two stolen cars at the crash site, one stolen car on North Main Street and several auto accessories and personal items stolen from vehicles throughout the Short Beach, Branford Hills and Harbor Street area of town.

All four men, including the juvenile, were charged with three counts of larceny third, three counts of conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree, five counts of burglary in the third degree, five counts of conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree, larceny in the sixth degree and interfering with an officer.

Sanchez and Davila were also charged with reckless driving, evading responsibility, engaging officer in pursuit and operating without license for their roles as the operators of the fleeing vehicles.

All except the juvenile were held on $50,000 bond and were arraigned in New Haven court this morning.

The juvenile was released on a written promise to appear to a parent or guardian.

Anyone who is missing articles from a vehicles is encouraged to contact the Branford Police at 203-481-4241.

Super Bowl Breakdown: Keys to Success for Ravens, 49ers


We've officially reached the point where it's okay to stop focusing on the spectacle of the Super Bowl and start focusing on the game. That means the only reason to talk about John or Jim Harbaugh is to discuss the coaching decisions that they'll have to make, rather than the fact that they shared the backseat in a family car.

Both coaches already made their biggest moves of the year: John fired his offensive coordinator in December, a move that could have backfired in spectacular fashion if the Ravens hadn't caught fire.  Jim turned the offense over to Colin Kaepernick even though things were going well in San Francisco.

Those were the kinds of risky moves that got the teams to this game, so we know that neither side is going to be afraid to go for broke. Here's what to watch for on Sunday evening:

Ravens Offense vs. 49ers Defense: Joe Flacco's made headlines for throwing eight touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs, but the resurgence of the Ravens running game has been a hidden reason for that. They've been feeding Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce the ball more than 30 times a game in the postseason, making life easier for Flacco. 

The 49ers defense isn't easy to run against, but the addition of Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and the injury to defensive lineman Justin Smith gives the Ravens reason to believe they can keep the ball rolling. If they can, it will help them avoid exposing some bad matchups in pass protection (Michael Oher vs. Ahmad Brooks, Justin and Aldon Smith against McKinnie and guard Kelechi Osemele). 

The 49ers will play man on the outside, something wide receiver Torrey Smith struggled with against New England. Anquan Boldin thrived, however, and getting the run going would open up the play-action shots down the field that Baltimore enjoys taking. 

49ers Offense vs. Ravens Defense: It's become a passing league, but the 49ers run game is a thing of beauty. Kaepernick's read-option skills are all the rage, but the 49ers were already a good power running team with Alex Smith. 

Now, they can overwhelm you on the ground both ways, and Frank Gore looks fresher than he did at the end of last season. The Ravens will counter with a well-rested Haloti Ngata in the middle and athletic players at the edges in an attempt to avoid overcommitting to one while allowing the other to beat them. 

The 49ers throw a lot of different formations out there, which will require a lot of discipline from the Ravens defense to identify and communicate with one another. Those formations are designed to come up with favorable matchups for Kaepernick's targets in the passing game while also making it easier for the still-inexperienced quarterback to make the right decisions.

Ravens Will Be Happy If: Strangely enough, they might be happy to see Kaepernick run a bit early in the game so that they have a chance to get physical with him right away. The Ravens beat the Patriots up in the AFC Championship Game, and they'd love to do the same to the 49ers in the Super Bowl. Hitting Kaepernick is a good way to make that happen, although the 49ers haven't been easy to push around this year.

49ers Will Be Happy If: The two Smiths on the 49ers defense were running roughshod over the league through the first 14 weeks or so of the regular season, but since Justin's injury, Aldon's pass-rushing productivity has fallen off. If the two of them come up with a play or two to disrupt Flacco, it will be a very good sign for the Niners. 

Ravens X-Factor: Linebacker Terrell Suggs started the season with an Achilles injury and suffered a torn biceps muscle later, which kept him from playing at the level he did in 2011, when he won Defensive Player of the Year. He's looked lively in the playoffs, though, and hes the kind of athletic edge player that can both pressure Kaepernick on passes and clamp down on the read-option. If the extra time off gives Suggs something extra, he could make a big difference.

49ers X-Factor: When Kaepernick took over, tight end Vernon Davis dropped off the face of the Earth. He had just six catches in the final five weeks of the regular season. But he's been rediscovered in the playoffs. Davis has six catches for 150 yards in the two 49ers wins and he's got the potential to be a matchup nightmare for Ravens linebackers Dannell Ellerbe, who has an ankle injury, and Ray Lewis, whose coverage deficiencies help explain why he's retiring.

Key Matchup: Ray Rice vs. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. The importance of Rice to the Ravens offense can't be overstated, both as a runner and a receiver on screen passes. When their offense is looking good, Rice is in the middle of everything. 

To get Rice free on Sunday, the Ravens will need to handle the 49ers' all-world inside linebacking duo. Willis and Bowman excel in all phases, so it's not like there's some way to limit their effectiveness through creative playcalling. The Ravens are going to have to block them, but Rice also has to run around or through them for the Ravens to dictate the pace and tenor of the game. 

That's key, because the 49ers are the more talented team from top to bottom. Riding Rice makes that a lot less important because it's hard to score when you don't have the ball.

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Chicago Beefs Up Police Presence After Teen's Death


Two hundred Chicago police officers will migrate from administrative tasks to the streets, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced Thursday.

"Why would you ask the taxpayers for more when you're not using what you have today well?" Emanuel said at a press event at Area Central Headquarters.

The move comes on the heels of a recommendation report released last week by Chicago's Inspector General and with the city ending one of its most violent months in a decade. As of late Thursday, Chicago recorded 42 homicides, including the death of a 15-year-old girl gunned down earlier in the week in what authorities said was a gang turf war.

"Getting these officers out the door quickly from their assignments, putting them into places where they can make a difference, this was the simplest, easiest, best assignment that we could do," said McCarthy.

The reassigned officers, who Inspector General Joe Ferguson said are doing administrative tasks such as making travel arrangements, timekeeping, grant writing and nursing, will be replaced by civilians, Emanuel's office said.

Ferguson said the move could save city taxpayers about $16 million annually.

The first deployment will happen fairly quickly. Sixty officers will be reassigned to mobile units by the weekend. Emanuel said the full transition of 200 cops should be completed by the end of March.

"If we're hiring officers to be clerks, we're being inefficient. If we're hiring officers to put them in the places at the times when crime is most likely to happen, and giving them the tools, those are the steps that will reduce crime," said McCarthy.

Moving the officers from the desk to strike force is contrary, however, to Emanuel's and McCarthy's original plan to de-emphasize specialized units.

"Emanuel's administration is so controlling of police headquarters. Everything has to be run past them. They've got to knock it off," said Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields. "City Hall needs to get their fingers out of the policing process and let Chicago police officers go do their job."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com

Super Bowl Becomes Forum on Gay Rights


Former NFL cornerback Wade Davis hears the pre-Super Bowl debate over gay athletes and same-sex marriage and one word comes to mind: progress.

Davis, a retired pro-football journeyman who came out last summer, even sees something positive in San Francisco 49er Chris Culliver’s disparaging remarks about playing with gay teammates.

“In a way, he’s doing us a favor, because we’re having this conversation,” Davis said. “Everyone’s talking about it on ESPN ... people are asking (players at the Super Bowl’s media day) about gay rights. That’s never happened before. That’s progress.”

Football, and pro sports in general, has traditionally been perceived as a bulwark of homophobia, a place where coming out would spell career suicide. In part, that remains true: no active American pro male athlete has ever said publicly that he is gay. But underlying that image is a widening acceptance of gays that reflects a similar shift in the general public, according to scholars, journalists and athletes who follow the issue.

“Sports is the last closet,” said Cyd Zeigler Jr., co-founder of the website Outsports. “Nobody’s out, but sports aren’t necessarily this horrible homophobic institution anymore. It’s just not.”

Much of that shift has to do with the fact that pro sports are played by young people, and young people are less likely to view homosexuals as undeserving of equal treatment on the playing field and in life, Zeigler said. He did his own survey of pro athletes, and said nearly all told him that they’d have no problem with gay teammates.

“People don’t realize how much sports have transformed. Guys really don’t care,” Zeigler said. “Culliver is just an outlier.”

The reaction to Culliver’s comments – in which he told a radio interviewer that there were no gays on the 49ers and “they gotta get up out of here if they do” – has shed some light on the transformation. The 49ers denounced his remarks, as did former 49er Kwame Harris, who is gay. Culliver ended up apologizing and saying he would “learn and grow from this experience.”

But the pre-Super Bowl conversation has not only involved Culliver, or Harris, who made news himself when he was charged with assaulting a former boyfriend. Members of the 49ers and their Super Bowl opponents, the Baltimore Ravens, spoke openly, and respectfully, on the issue of gay marriage. Ravens center Matt Birk said his Catholic faith fed his belief that only a man and woman should be wed. His teammate, linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, continues to be a vocal proponent of gay rights.

What’s missing, of course, is an active player comfortable enough to acknowledge his homosexuality publicly.

One reason is there still may be fear of teammates’ reactions, especially among players who aren’t among the sport’s elite -- those who struggle to keep their careers alive, said Eric Anderson, an American sociologist who studies homosexuality in sport at the University of Winchester in the United Kingdom.

Another explanation is statistical: assuming that the rate of homosexuality is the same among athletes as among the general public, there are probably only few dozen active NFL players who are gay, Anderson said. Of those, the number of superstars who can assume the Jackie Robinson role is very small.

But Anderson said that when it happens – and it will – this “hero” will be inundated with sponsorships from gay-friendly companies, praised on TV talk shows and gain legions of new fans.

“Their cultural commercial value will go through the roof,” Anderson said.

Davis, the former NFL cornerback, said he thinks the NHL will be the first sport with an openly gay athlete -- perhaps because its players come from places with more liberal attitudes toward homosexuality, like Canada and Europe.

“Americans are further off, but we’re getting close, definitely,” Davis said.

He added: “The fact that we’re talking about gay rights before the Super Bowl, the largest stage in the sports world, is progress.”

Photo Credit: AP

Woman Knocked Into Parked Car During Purse Snatching


New Haven police are looking for two men who stole a woman’s purse and pushed her into a parked car on Saturday night.

Police said the 61-year-old woman suffered a severe laceration to her arm and a head injury during the robbery and purse snatching at State and Trumbull streets in front of Goodfella’s Restaurant around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

The victim, who did not want her name released, said she was on her way to dinner in New Haven to celebrate the first anniversary of having heart surgery.  Instead, she ended up back in the hospital after two men got out of an SUV, grabbed her gold Coach purse and threw her to the ground.

"I can't believe someone could do this to somebody. It just hit me, this could happen at a place we go to all the time," she said.

According to police, the man shown in a surveillance photo grabbed her bag, which contained her driver’s license and a Goodfella’s gift certificate.

"I was trying to let it go, he flung me and I went flying across the sidewalk," she added.

The force was so strong it ripped the coat she was wearing and she was badly bruised and required stitches.

The two men fled with the purse after knocking the victim down. 

Police said they are believed to be in their mid-20s.

Anyone with information about the men should call the New Haven Police Department Robbery Unit 203-946-6304 or the general number, 203-946-6316.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Teens Charged With Stealing Guns in Southington


Police have arrested five teenagers in connection to the thefts of weapons from a home in Southington.

A relative of one of the teens called police after finding one of the stolen guns under a bed, police said.

According to police, Brooke Palmer, 18, and two 17-year-olds found the guns stored in a locked closet. They took four guns and ammunition from the closet and kept them for a week, police said. The two 17-year-olds even fired the guns into a tree in a wooded area on the west side of Southington, according to police.

At some point, the teens gave one of the guns to Perry Sharp, 18, of Southington, according to police. Officers found the gun in Sharp's car and charged him with larceny and having a weapon in a vehicle.

According to police, two of the other guns were being stored at the home of 18-year-old Jeremy Reilly of New Britain. Reilly was charged with reckless endangerment, larceny, carrying a pistol without a permit and improper storage of a firearm. Reilly was held on a $25,000 bond.

Brooke Palmer was charged with four counts of conspiracy to commit larceny of a firearm and reckless endangerment. She was held on a $25,000 bond and was expected to be in court Thursday.

Police did not name the two 17-year-olds because of their age. Both are facing numerous weapons charges. Police also charged one of the juveniles with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell after finding marijuana packaged for sale, according to officials.

Photo Credit: Southington Police

Camille Bridal in West Hartford to Close


The days of brides to be finding the perfect dress at Camille Bridal Boutique in West Hartford Center are coming to an end. The store is closing in February.

“The opportunity to serve our brides and their families has been extremely fulfilling. The business has been very rewarding financially and personally.  Unfortunately, running this business has taken me away from my children,” Irene Zalevsky, who took over the business in the summer of 2007, said in a statement.

The business was listed for sale for a while, she said, but there was no qualified buyer. 

“I had to make the decision to close it so that I could dedicate more time to my family. The family is very excited to spend more time together!” she said.

The shop has worked with Brides Across America for several years and given gowns free to military brides on Veterans Day. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/the-scene/fashion/Saying-I-Do-to-Military-Brides-69696927.html

“We have been so fortunate to have such a loyal client base and support from all over Connecticut and beyond. I will miss the closeness I have built with so many clients over the years.” decided to close the store due to other competing family priorities,”  Zalevsky said.

Camille Bridal plans to close on Feb. 23 and is holding a sale offering savings of up to 80 percent off retail prices.

For information, call 860.233.1203.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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