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Bracket Blunder Costs Meriden Man $100,000


A 28-year-old Meriden man could have been $100,000 richer after UConn took the title Monday night, but he says an Internet error dashed his hopes of a winning bracket.

Corey Johnson was one of about 7 million to build a bracket with the Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge hosted by Yahoo Sports, he says. He was tied for fourth place going into the NCAA national championship game Monday afternoon and was banking on a UConn win.

But as he was checking his bracket Sunday before the game, he noticed something was wrong.

“As I’m going through the leader boards and everything, I’m noticing that everybody else has a championship winner except for me,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Johnson’s final selection hadn’t saved properly. The field where the winner should have been listed was blank.

“Since there was no winner, you know, I’m pretty much out of luck there,” he explained.

The top 20 bracket entrants were slated to win $100,000 each.

A UConn fan, Johnson had the Huskies winning it all. As for Kentucky, he said he was hoping for a “Cinderella-type story” pitting two lower seeds against one another in the championship game.

“I knew Kentucky had a solid little basketball team and was just thinking to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if Kentucky and UConn met up in the championship?’” he said.

But as he watched the title game Monday night, he thought back to that empty spot on his bracket and knew he was in trouble either way.

“It was not a win-win for me at all,” Johnson said.

Johnson also correctly picked three of the Final Four teams, seven of the Elite Eight teams and 11 of the Sweet 16 teams.

After noticing the error, Johnson searched the bracket challenge website for a way to get in touch with the organizers, but said he couldn’t locate a contact number and eventually gave up.

“This is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack,” he explained, adding that it seemed impossible to get ahold of anyone.

Johnson said he would have used his winnings to pay off tuition at Porter and Chester Institute, where he studies heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and to buy a new car.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened to me,” he said. “I definitely could have used the money for lots of things.”

He’s a good sport, though. Johnson has been reminding himself that at least he didn’t lose money and added that the national media attention has been “kind of cool.”

Friends have started a Change.org petition asking Quicken Loans and Yahoo Sports to honor Johnson’s bracket and pay up.

It’s been shared on social media with the hashtag #PayCoreyJohnson and had received nearly 300 signatures at the time this story was published.

Local news sources including the Meriden Record-Journal reached out to Yahoo and Quicken Loans for comment and did not hear back.

Photo Credit: Corey Johnson

UConn Storms to 9th Title, Routing Notre Dame 79-58


Geno Auriemma and Connecticut stand alone in women's college basketball, and they reached the top in unprecedented fashion.

The Huskies routed Notre Dame 79-58 Tuesday night in the first championship game featuring undefeated teams, winning their record ninth national title. Auriemma broke a tie with Pat Summitt and Tennessee for most all-time, doing it in her backyard.

Breanna Stewart, who was the AP's player of the year, scored 21 points to lead the Huskies (40-0) while Stefanie Dolson added 17 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists. Auriemma took out his senior center with a minute left, and the pair embraced in a long hug.

The victory also means that UConn is now the center of the college basketball world with both the men's and women's teams winning the championship in the same year again. The men's team beat Kentucky in the title game Monday night. This pair of victories come a decade after the Huskies became the only school to accomplish the feat.

While the names change at UConn, from Rebecca Lobo to Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore and now Stewart, Auriemma has been the constant, winning nine titles in only 20 seasons — including the last two. He's never lost in a national championship game.

"Congratulations to the UConn Huskies for winning the 2014 NCAA National Championship!," Summitt said in a statement emailed to The Associated Press. "My compliments also to coach Geno Auriemma for winning his ninth national title. He has accomplished this feat in record time."

It was the fifth unbeaten season for Auriemma and UConn and the first time the Huskies went 40-0 — matching Baylor as the only schools to accomplish that feat. The victory was also Connecticut's 46th straight dating back to last season's NCAA tournament title run. It's the third longest streak in school history — well short of the NCAA record 90 straight they won.

The loss was Notre Dame's third in the title game in the past four years. Kayla McBride finished off her stellar career with 21 points to lead the Irish, who were looking for their first championship since 2001.

After proving to be no challenge for the Huskies during the first 15 years of the rivalry which began in 1995, Notre Dame had owned the series lately, winning seven of the previous nine meetings. UConn though has won the last two, eliminating Notre Dame in the Final Four last season before topping them in the championship game this year.

The two former Big East rivals, who have no love lost for each other, put on a show in a game that women's basketball hoped could transcend the sport. The coaches added to the drama of the game with their verbal sparring on Monday. But it was Auriemma who got the last word again.

Even with the loss, it was a record-setting season for the Irish.

Notre Dame lost Skylar Diggins to graduation and changed conferences to the ACC. Neither mattered as they ran through their opponents, winning by an average of 25.6 points while taking both the conference regular season and tournament championships.

The Irish lost senior Natalie Achonwa to a torn ACL in the regional final win over Baylor. Notre Dame wore warmup shirts with Achonwa's nickname "Ace" below her No. 11.

The team played inspired basketball in the Final Four win over Maryland, outrebounding the Terps by a record margin. The Irish couldn't muster a similar effort against UConn and it's gigantic front line. Stewart, Stefanie Dolson and Kiah Stokes dominated the interior. The Huskies outrebounded the Irish 54-31 and held them to a season-low in points.

After the teams traded shots early on, Stewart fueled a 16-0 run as the Huskies, who have played stellar defense all season, held the Irish without a point for nearly five minutes. Stewart's lay-in with 11:02 left made it 22-8.

A minute later, Dolson had an acrobatic tip to Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis for another layup.

The Irish stayed in the first half by hot 3-point shooting by Michaela Mabrey and Jewell Loyd. Trailing 37-25 with 4:09 left in the first half, the pair sparked a 13-6 run, hitting three 3-pointers which brought the Irish faithful to their feet.

UConn led 45-38 at the half, shooting 57 percent from the field and having 16 assists on their 21 baskets.

The Huskies closed the door on any Irish comeback scoring 18 of the first 22 points in the second half to put the game away. Stewart and Dolson had 10 points during the burst.


Photo Credit: AP

Clinton "Thinking" About 2016 Run


Will she or won’t she run? Hillary Clinton appears to be inching closer to an answer.

After months of speculation and sidestepping, Clinton tackled the big question with a maybe, telling tech innovators she is "thinking” about a 2016 run.

“I am thinking about it, but I am going to continue thinking about it for a while,” Clinton said Tuesday at a conference for marketing professionals in San Francisco.

Looking very much like a presidential candidate, former U.S. Secretary of State Clinton kicked off a series of West Coast appearances with a keynote speech addressed to several thousand people at a customer conference hosted by Marketo, a Silicon Valley maker of marketing software.

Following her speech, Clinton participated in a question-and-answer session with Marketo chief executive Phil Fernandez.

Clinton told Fernandez she’ll have to weigh some difficult questions before she decides whether to run for president in 2016.

“I’m not going to make a decision for a while because I’m actually enjoying my life,” Clinton said. “I’m actually having fun doing ordinary things like seeing my friends and going on long walks, playing with dogs.”

Back in 2011, Clinton told NBC's Today show a 2016 run for the Oval Office was not "in the realm of possibility."

Clinton’s keynote speech included comments on clean energy, the immigration debate, and education and unemployment.

“I see the small and the large changes we can make right now that will put us on the path to the kind of success that I know awaits us if, individually and together, we make the right decisions,” Clinton said.

Clinton travels to Portland Tuesday night to speak to the World Affairs Council of Oregon. Then she’ll make a stop in Las Vegas and then it’s back to the Bay Area.

Clinton, who ran for president in 2008, is widely expected to run again in 2016.

Political analysts say Clinton has been doing a great job keeping herself relevant and in the public eye since she left her post as secretary of state 14 months ago.

“Barack Obama showed that it was very effective to try and bring new voters into the system and to really target young voters, so I think that Hillary Clinton is following that same playbook,” said Melinda Jackson, associate professor of political science at San Jose State University, where Clinton will speak Thursday night.

Clinton is scheduled to appear on the SJSU campus as part of a lecture series featuring prominent women. As of Tuesday evening, StubHub had 67 tickets left to see Clinton at the 5,000-seat SJSU Events Center.

Clinton stepped down as secretary of state at the end of President Barack Obama's first term. Before that, she served as a U.S. Senator from New York from 2001-2009.

She is married to former President Bill Clinton and was first lady from 1993-2001.

San Mateo-based Marketo was founded in 2006 and produces marketing automation software. Its annual summits attract thousands of participants, with 3,500 people expected to attend this year.


Lisa Fernandez, the Associated Press and Bay City News contributed to this report.

UConn Women Arrive Back in Connecticut


Storrs, Connecticut has become title town and you can welcome the UConn women’s championship team home today.

UConn defeated Notre Dame, 79 to 58, last night and the 2014 NCAA national champs returned from Nashville this afternoon and landed at Bradley International Airport around 3 p.m.

The women arrived back in Storrs to take a victory loop through campus on an open-air double decker bus, accompanied by the UConn pep band and cheerleaders.

Coach Geno Auriemma and senior players Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley took the podium to share their excitement express gratitude to the fans.

"Winning is great, but if you win by yourself, it's not as meaningful," Auriemma said. "What makes it even bigger is that we're able to share it with the men's team, and we're able to share it with every student athlete on this campus, because whenever we do something like this, we don't just do it for ourselves. We do it for all of you. ... We do it in a way that is really impressive and we do it in a way that represents who we are."

Dolson took the mic next and broke down during her heartfelt thank-you.

"Four years ago, when I came here, I wasn't sure," she explained. "You know, Storrs, Connecticut isn't the most exciting place... but it wasn't the activities we could do that made me come here. It was the people; it was the feeling that I got when I walked on this campus. And being able to play in front of you guys for four years has been an honor and I'm going to miss it a lot."

Hartley echoed Dolson's feelings and also got emotional at the podium.

"That moment yesterday when I was coming off the court was the most special moment in my career," she said. "To end that season perfect, going 40-0 with my teammates, going through all the years with this coaching staff. ... I think I'm just so proud of this school and being ale to come here and play for this university. Because everything we do, we do it with such class and we make people earn our respect every day."

Hartley also turned to Auriemma and said, "Coach, you mean so much to me through all the years here, and I love you so much." She said she wouldn't be the person she is today without his guidance and support

You can see a map of the parade route here and follow the team on Twitter at @UConnWBB.

6 Hospitalized After Crash on Route 17 in Middletown


Six people have been taken to the hospital after a crash on Route 17 in Middletown.

Police said three high school students were in the truck and an adult driver and two small children were in the other vehicle.

Based on the preliminary investigation, police said that a white GMC pickup driven by Umberto Spada, 17, was traveling north on Route 17, crossed the center line and collided with a gray Hyundai Santa Fe driven by Jennifer Wargo, 42. 

Spada had two juvenile passengers in the vehicle and Wargo had her two children in the vehicle, police said.

Everyone involved in the accident was transported to area hospitals for serious but non life threatening injuries.

The Traffic Division’s Crash Reconstructionist Officer Michael Inglis is investigating. 

Anyone who witnessed the crash should call Officer Inglis at 860-638-4063.
Route 17 was closed between Wesleyan Hills and Brush Hill roads, but has reopened.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cop Dies From Fire Injuries: NYPD


A veteran NYPD officer overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide responding to a fire in Coney Island allegedly set by a 16-year-old boy has died, police say.

Dennis Guerra, 38, had been in critical condition since the fire Sunday at an apartment building on Surf Avenue. He and fellow officer, Rosa Rodriguez, 36, took an elevator to the 13th floor to warn residents and help evacuate the building, but when they emerged from the elevator they were overcome by smoke.

Both officers, who are members of the force's housing bureau, were found unconscious by firefighters. Guerra, a married father of four and seven-year NYPD veteran, died shortly before 7 a.m. Wednesday, police say.

Mayor de Blasio said Guerra was an exemplary officer who went to save people in need. He called him a good man and a brave officer, and vowed to stand by his family.

"He went selflessly towards the flame, selflessly towards those who are in danger, no matter what the risk to him," de Blasio said. "It’s something that our police officers do every day. It’s something our first responders do every day. It is something we need to appreciate every day." 

Guerra had two daughters, 20 and 14, and two sons, 17 and 7.

"The entire city grieves this terrible loss," Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in a statement. "It is a startling reminder that what can appear to be a routine assignment can very quickly become deadly."

Rodriguez remains in critical condition at a hospital. 

Teenager Marcell Dockery was arrested Monday on assault, reckless endangerment and arson charges in connection with the fire, which originated from a mattress in the building.

It's not clear if he has an attorney, nor was it known if he would face additional charges following Guerra's death.

Police say Dockery told detectives he lit the mattress on fire because he was bored. They say he said he tried to put out the fire and warn residents as the flames spread.

Five people suffered minor injuries, including two firefighters, authorities said. 


Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Kids Served Booze in Restaurant


Several children were hospitalized Tuesday after they were accidentally served what parents believe was alcohol at a restaurant in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. Police, though, said tests showed none of the children had any trace of alcohol in their systems.

The children, ages 10 and younger, were at the Home Run Inn pizza restaurant on the 4200 block of West 31st Street for a birthday party. Neyante Eggleston, a mother of a 6-year-old boy who attended the party with her son, said the children at about 9:40 p.m. were eating pizza and drinking what was supposed to be fruit punch.

"The drinks tasted funny to begin with," said Eggleston. "But we didn't pay any attention. We just thought it was us, but they just came and just swooped all the cups up. So we were like, 'OK, what's going on?'"

Police said the group told the waitress they were one cup short of fruit punch so she went back to the bar and saw a drink that looked like the fruit punch and brought it to the table. She returned to reclaim the cup when she realized there was alcohol in the cup.

A girl at the table took a sip but immediately spit it out, police said. When officers arrived to assist Chicago fire officials, the girl said she drank from the cup. The rest of the children then suddenly said they too drank from the cup.

Some of the children were taken from the restaurant and transported to a hospital.

Eggleston said the waitress was very apologetic and the incident was clearly a mistake but expressed disappointment that no one from the restaurant ever admitted there was alcohol in the cup or apologized for the mix-up.

Police said the restaurant's permits are up to date and it will not be cited.

NBC Chicago's attempt to reach a restaurant spokesperson was not immediately successful.

Photo Credit: NBCChicago.com

Twin Toddlers Drown in Fla.


Two twin girls have died after they were found in a community pool at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex, officials said.

The girls, both two-years-old, were found in the pool at the Tivoli Park apartment complex at 743 Siesta Key Terrace around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

An out-of-town couple staying at the apartment complex went for a dip in the jacuzzi and found the girls and attempted to do CPR, said BSO.

"A guy walking in there was smoking a cigarette," said Louis Gerogianis. "Seen the two children face down."

The two people, who were visiting from North Carolina, took immediate action, according to officials.

"[The man] jumped into the pool right away, began CPR," said BSO spokeswoman Keyla Concepcion. "That's when the female, his companion, noticed the second body in the pool and also pulled that girl out."

The girls, identified as Harmani and Harmony West, were airlifted to Broward Health Medical Center, but could not be revived.

Authorities said the lock to the pool where the toddlers were found was broken, and other bodies of water around the complex are not gated.

"There's a lake right behind the family's apartment building," Concepcion said. "There were a number of bodies of water where children could have drowned."

Witness Ester Campos said neighbors think the mother was sleeping when the incident took place.

"If there's any message at all it's that children must be supervised," said Broward Fire Rescue Spokesman Mike Jachles. "Children should know how to swim. Parents and children who are old enough should learn CPR."


Stay with NBC6.com for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBC New York

Sick Baby Reached "Just in Time"


The California Air National Guard commander who took the initial call about a family stranded at sea with a sick infant said his crews "got there just in time."

While the family's decision to take two young children on an around-the-world sailing trip has been criticized in the wake of last week's dramatic rescue, Lt. Col. Nando Polo told NBC 7 that the parents of 1-year-old Lyra Kaufman "did everything right" once they realized the seriousness of the situation.

Polo, who is with the 129th Rescue Wing, was the operations commander who took the initial call concerning the Kaufmans after the family with San Diego roots ran into trouble off the coast of Mexico.

After the little girl’s symptoms - diarrhea, vomiting and rash – were evaluated by a flight surgeon, it was determined crews should immediately launch the rescue attempt, Polo said.

The intervention was something his crews have done many times before for marine merchants and fishermen but never for a baby; Polo said he’s never seen anything like this in his 30-year career.

Once the guardsmen got to the sailboat, Polo said it was apparent that, given the seriousness of the situation, his crews had gotten there just in time.

The family returned to San Diego around 10 a.m. Wednesday, Navy officials confirmed.

The Kaufman's two-year voyage of bringing babies to sea has ignited a national debate over their parenting decisions. The topic even made it to the front page of the New York Times.

As for the criticism the parents face from people across the country, Polo said the Kaufmans did everything right when they realized the baby needed medical attention.

“I understand what it means to be a parent," he said. "I’m also a surfer and I have been in situations where things have not gone right in the ocean.”

On Thursday, Lyra Kaufman fell seriously ill just as the family’s boat, the Rebel Heart, lost its communication and steering abilities.

Thursday night, the California Air National Guard dropped four pararescuemen from a plane into the ocean. Those men climbed aboard the Rebel Heart to stabilize Lyra.

Navy frigate USS Vandegrift reached the boat two days later, and Sunday morning, the Kaufmans boarded the rescue ship.

The child was back in San Diego Wednesday and headed to her family physician, according to Navy officials.

Dog Races Train


A daring dog raced alongside a Metro-North train from the South Bronx to Manhattan Tuesday as passengers and crew cringed in fear she would hit the third rail before MTA police officers rescued her from the busy tracks.

The dog, named Tie by MTA workers for all the railroad ties she ran across, is being cared for by Animal Care & Control and will be up for adoption unless her owner is found. 

The MTA says the brown and black pup started running next to the train as it moved out of Mott Haven Junction en route to Grand Central shortly before 11 a.m. 

Engineer Joseph Delia, a dog lover, told the New York Post he slowed the train down to a crawl to avoid hitting the dog, who at one point got ahead of the lead car and twice fell between the track ties. 

"She's not a very big dog. I was worried she wouldn't make it and get electrocuted," Delia told the Post. 

The pup made it safely to the 125th Street station in Harlem, where two MTA police officers and a station worker made their way toward the tracks to corral her. Instead, she ran toward them. 

Passengers cheered as emergency service officers evaluated the dog and put her into a patrol car, the Post said.

Tie had a limp and was nursing her right front paw, but was wagging her tail and seemed in good spirits, says Luis Alvarez, one of the MTA police officers who helped rescue her. He has a dog, and says he could tell she was a very friendly pooch.

Photo Credit: Handout

Civil Rights Act's Golden Age


On Aug. 4, 1964, the day Barack Obama turned 3, the remains of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were found in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Miss. The grisly discovery came about six weeks after the three civil rights workers, all in their early 20s, were set upon by a lynch mob.

The disappearance of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner spurred a national outcry that helped push the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to passage and into law on July 2nd of that year. The legislation, coupled with the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 – signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson two days after Barack’s fourth birthday – not only changed the youngster's destiny, but altered the course of the country.
That history, shared and personal, no doubt will be on the mind and lips of President Obama as he speaks at LBJ Presidential Library in Austin on Thursday to mark the golden anniversary year of the Civil Rights Act, a law intended to end the ugly institutionalized discrimination that long tarnished our nation. The President’s keynote address at the “We Shall Overcome” summit stands as an opportunity for a defining speech about where we were and how far we’ve come – as well as how far we have to go.
It seems so simple – a law outlawing discrimination, nearly a century after the Civil War.
That’s the word Johnson used the day he signed the Civil Rights Act: “The purpose of the law is simple. It does not restrict the freedom of any American, so long as he respects the rights of others. It does not give special treatment to any citizen…. It does say that there are those who are equal before God shall now also be equal in the polling booths, in the classrooms, in the factories, and in hotels, restaurants, movie theaters, and other places that provide service to the public.”
That might have been the most eloquent and important presidential moment from Johnson, never a champion public orator and not a great public champion of civil rights for much of his political career. But he acted fiercely when the tides of history met simple right and wrong.
Johnson, even armed with the skills of persuasion that made him, as biographer Robert Caro put it, the master of the Senate, still needed to stand on the shoulders of his slain predecessor, John Kennedy, to pass the act as President. When warned he would be using valuable political capital gained after Kennedy's death to fight a losing battle, Johnson replied, “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?,” according to “The Passage of Power,” Caro’s fourth and latest volume of his Johnson series.
That’s a sentiment well understood, if not always acted upon, by Obama and every chief executive before him. This week’s summit will feature speeches by three of the four living former presidents – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, all sons of the south, men ages 67 to 89 whose lives spanned much of the 20th century U.S. civil rights movement.
Obama will be speaking Thursday, in a sense, for Lincoln, Johnson and all the presidents who acted when wrong bumped up against right. He’ll be speaking for Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, for Martin Luther King Jr. and for all the martyrs who consecrated the civil rights movement with their blood. He’ll be speaking for the everyday people who suffered from discrimination at its worst, and those who benefited from the great law passed during that Freedom Summer.
He’ll be speaking for himself, and, most of all, for a country that needs the occasional anniversary as a reminder of the value of looking back as it looks ahead.

Jere 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 also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.

Police Investigate After Bomb Scare Call in New Haven


Police are investigating a called in bomb scare in New Haven  this morning.

State police, state marshals, as well as police officers and firefighters from New Haven, responded to several downtown courthouses this morning after someone called 911 at 10:29 a.m. and reported a bomb threat, police said.

Police said the threat was not specific to a particular courthouse. Adjacent areas were searched for any suspicious packages and none were found.

Police said the courthouses were not evacuated and court proceedings were not affected.

No information was available on the caller or where the call was made from.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspicious Package Near Hospital Was a Safe: Police


Minutes after investigating a bomb threat in downtown New Haven today, police responded to a suspicious package call on Howard Avenue, across from Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Police said hospital officials noticed a box on a sidewalk, so the New Haven Police Department’s bomb squad responded and determined the item was a small fireproof safe that posed no danger.

It was removed.

Police temporarily rerouted pedestrian and vehicle traffic. There were no evacuations at the hospital or any nearby building.

Police said the investigation was over within minutes and there is no connection to the courthouse threat.

Police said there is no criminal investigation into the safe.

Baby Rescued at Sea Returns


A baby, her parents and her sister who were rescued at sea in a complex military operation were back on dry land after sailing into San Diego Bay Wednesday, Navy officials confirmed.

The San Diego-based USS Vandegrift arrived at NAS North Island carrying the 1-year-old who was in serious need of medical attention while sailing across the Pacific Ocean with her family.

Lyra Kaufman was aboard a 36-foot sailboat off the coast of Mexico when she developed diarrhea, vomiting and a rash.

Her parents called the U.S. Coast Guard Thursday for help. That call launched a rescue effort involving members of the California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing and spawned a national debate over the idea of parents taking children on journeys across open oceans.

The Vandegrift docked on North Island just before 10 a.m., ahead of a scheduled afternoon arrival at Naval Base San Diego.  

A Navy official confirmed to NBC 7 that the family disembarked from the ship Wednesday but could not reveal where the family was headed next.

The 129th Rescue Wing took Lyra and her family to an undisclosed medical facility, according to a Guardian Angels spokesperson. The four Guardian Angels who were with the Kaufmans for six days have now returned to Moffett Air Field.

Last Thursday, Lyra fell seriously ill just as the family’s boat, the Rebel Heart, lost its communication and steering abilities.

That night, the California Air National Guard dropped four pararescuemen from a plane into the ocean. Those men climbed aboard the Rebel Heart to stabilize Lyra.

”It couldn’t motor underway, so they were dead in the water," said Capt. Lejon Boudreaux with the 129th Rescue Wing. "Ten-knot winds and they were just drifting through the seas bobbing up and down, which proved to be challenging for my guys."

"It’s a 36-foot sailboat. You’ve got eight people living on there. Quarters were really tight. Waves were coming over the boat. They were soaking wet the entire time," Boudreaux said describing the conditions.

The crew of Navy frigate USS Vandegrift contacted the sailboat around 4 p.m. Saturday 900 miles from land, then stayed approximately five miles from the family's boat while they worked out a rescue plan.

Around 8 a.m. Sunday, Vandegrift sailors used an inflatable boat to bring the infant, the family and the four pararescuemen aboard the ship. Their sailboat had to be sunk for safety reasons.

“The infant and 3-year-old were in a harness with the pararescuemen. We did that for safety reasons. We had them cross over," Vandegrift sailor Andrew Habib described. "The children were in good spirits.”

Habib said he was glad to be part of the challenging rescue.

"The family was very humble," he said. "It looked like they had a sense of relief."

Eric and Charlotte Kaufman set sail two weeks ago from Mexico with 1-year-old Lyra and her 3-year-old sibling on a mission to sail around the world.

Photo Credit: Surface Warriors

Another Suspicious Package Found in New Haven


New Haven police said a suspicious package found on State Street early this afternoon turned out to be a duffel bag full of clothing.

The New Haven Police Department Bomb Squad responded to State Street between Wall and George streets around 1 p.m. Wednesday following the report of a suspicious package.

Investigators identified the item as a duffel bag with clothes inside and said nothing dangerous was found.

Police cleared the scene after about half an hour.

It's the second suspicious package incident reported in New Haven today.

A suspicious package found near Yale-New Haven Hospital earlier turned out to be a fireproof safe.

Before that, police responded to a bomb scare at several downtown courthouses.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

56-Year-Old Man Sent Lewd Photos to Teen: Cops


Guilford police have arrested a 56-year-old Norwalk man who is accused of attempting to entice a 14-year-old girl into “sexual situations” over Craigslist and sending her lewd photos of himself. 

Detectives arrested James Cardamone at 1 p.m. on Tuesday after what they said was a lengthy investigation.
During the arrest, police recovered the cell phone they said Cardamone used when he sent the 14-year-old girls the lewd photos, communicated with her and asked for photos back. 

Cardamone is being held on a court set $200,000 bond and will be arraigned in New Haven Superior Court on Thursday.

Photo Credit: NBC10

DMV Extends Emissions Deadlines for Recalled GM Cars


The state Department of Motor Vehicles is extending the emissions due date and waiving late fees for cars affected by the recent General Motors recall.

Gov. Dannel Malloy and the DMV announced the extension today. Drivers of vehicles involved in the recall – including Chevrolet, Pontiac and Saturn models – now have until Oct. 31 to complete their emissions testing.

“We understand that affected residents are already under enough stress dealing with the G.M. recall and don’t want to add to their burden. Their first priority should be remedying their vehicles’ safety issues,” Malloy said in a statement Wednesday. “We are extending emissions’ deadlines and waiving late fees to ease the pressure on Connecticut owners while they get through this extraordinary situation.”

General Motors has recalled 2.2 million compact cars in the U.S. due to hazards posed by faulty ignition switches. GM said last week that 13 deaths have been reported in connection with the defective switches, according to a release from Malloy’s office.

“This is a serious problem and we want to help people as much as we can,” said DMV Commissioner Melody A. Currey, in a statement. “We see this effort as assisting these consumers as they work to get repairs done.”

According to the release, the extended deadline only applies to emissions testing and not registration renewal. Anyone who does not complete emissions testing by Oct. 31 will be charged a late fee.

The extension is effective April 9 and applies to the following vehicles:

  • 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt – 2,971 in Connecticut
  • 2005-2010 Pontiac G5 – 87 in Connecticut
  • 2006-2011 Pontiac Solstice – 147 in Connecticut
  • 2003-2007 Saturn Ion – 726 in Connecticut
  • 2007-2010 Saturn Sky – 51 in Connecticut

More information is available on the DMV Web site.

Photo Credit: AP

Hamden Chief Requests More Officers


Crime is up in Hamden but the number of police officers has remained fairly steady over the past decade. Now, the police chief is asking the city for more.

"It's been difficult for us to continue to deliver the service that is expected to our public with the numbers that we currently have," said Chief Thomas Wydra of the Hamden Police Department.

In response to his request for additional manpower, Chief Wydra says the city's legislative council is expected to provide funding for one more officer when the 2014-2015 budget is finalized in May.

"I am grateful to Mayor Jackson and to the legislative council for understanding and acknowledging our needs," said Chief Wydra.

But he's also planning to push for more officers in the future, based on an analysis of data going back 50 years. According to those numbers, Hamden officers responded to an average of 521 service calls each in 2013. That compares to just 42 service calls per officer back in 1962. The chief also says staffing levels in his department are lower than similar sized cities.

"When you consider the service calls last year verses the service calls over our history, they have grown dramatically yet our sworn staff has grown in only a very mild way," said Chief Wydra.

The Hamden police department now has 107 sworn officers. Based on crime rates, the chief says he'd like to see that number climb to between 120 and 125 over the next 5-10 years.

Police Arrest Bank Robbery Suspect in Waterbury


Waterbury police have arrested a suspect in a robbery at TD Bank, at 2 N Main Street in Waterbury this afternoon.

Police said no weapon was shown. There are no injuries and a suspect has been arrested.

No additional information has been released.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

100 Child Porn Images Found at Guilford Home: Police


A 24-year-old Guilford man is facing charges after police reportedly found 100 child pornography on his computer.

Eric Pierce, of Boston Post Road in Guilford, was arrested April 7 following a police investigation launched in December.

On Dec. 18, authorities received two tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children containing images of child pornography.

Police searched Pierce’s home as part of the investigation, which began Dec. 31. Investigators seized computer hardware and software, DVDs and audio-visual equipment, police said.

More than 100 images of child pornography were recovered from Pierce’s residence, according to police.

Pierce is charged with first-degree possession of child pornography, promoting a minor in an obscene performance and obscenity.

He was released on a court-set $50,000 bond and is due in court April 15.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com
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