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West Haven Cracks Down on Blight


West Haven's mayor took his message to clean up blight in the city directly to business owners on Monday.

“We're asking everybody for their help in bringing West Haven back, as far as cleaning in front of their stores, the blight, the graffiti on their building, taking care of their building, just sprucing up the downtown,” Mayor Ed O’Brien said.

O'Brien and his team went door-to-door on Monday, talking to each business owner along a stretch of Campbell Avenue.

He got a good response from new businesses and ones that have been here for decades.

“Been here for a very long time. It's nice to hear from the Town Hall,” said Ray Ross, owner of Ross Copy.

Carolyn Sires owns a physical therapy gym on Campbell Ave and says the goal is to clean up the area, so that it becomes a destination where people want to go and spend an afternoon.

“All the businesses seem excited and they think if we can help clean it, if we can help promote it, the City needs to promote it, then we have a chance,” said Sires.

“It's the center of our City, and West Haveners go to Milford, they go to Orange, they go to other places to shop. We want them to feel welcome to come down to our West Haven downtown, but it has to be clean, inviting and safe,” said Mayor O’Brien.

West Haven will be enforcing its anti-blight laws. Businesses that are issued a warning have 30 days to fix the issue. After that, businesses will face fines of $100 per day.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Texas Dad Shot Son, 10: Police


A 10-year-old boy remains hospitalized at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth after police in Forest Hill say he was shot by his own father.

Byron Nesbitt, 32, was arrested and charged with shooting his son in the course of an argument with his wife.

Investigators said Nesbitt's wife called 911 shortly after midnight early Sunday morning, when he arrived home intoxicated.

There was an argument and according to police, Nesbitt's wife piled their kids and others into a van, about six of them in all, and tried to drive away.

"As she was fleeing, the husband attacked, beating on the windshield with a handgun, and as she was leaving, he fired several shots at the van," said Forest Hill Police Capt. Jerry Cosby. "At least one of the bullets had penetrated the van and came through and struck the 10-year-old in the hip."

Nesbitt already faces some serious charges and possibly more after the case is filed with the district attorney's office.

Forest Hill police said the boy is expected to make a full recovery. Nesbitt posted $75,000 bond and was released from jail at 6 p.m. Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News/Forest Hill Police

Accident shuts down Rt. 83 in Ellington


A portion of Route 83 in Ellington was shut down for about an hour on Monday night due to a crash involving two vehicles.

State police said one person was injured in the accident and they were taken to the hospital by amublance.

The crash occurred at 8:30 p.m. the intersection of West Road, which is also known as Route 83, and Highland Avenue.

Convicted Killer's Son Conflicted


The son of an Iraqi immigrant convicted of killing his wife said he remains conflicted on the high-profile case that ended in San Diego earlier this week with a guilty verdict, adding that he still loves his father.

“It’s not that I disagree with what the decision was, it’s just I hate what the decision was itself. I hate the verdict,” Mohammed Al-Himidi told NBC 7 San Diego Friday in an exclusive interview.

Mohammed is the oldest son of Kassim Al-Himidi, 49. On Thursday, Al-Himidi was found guilty of the 2012 murder of his wife, Shaima Alawadi, 32.

The verdict sparked several outbursts in the courtroom, including Mohammed screaming, “This is bulls---! This is f---ing bulls---! My dad is innocent. He was tried unfairly.”

Mohammed said his post-verdict outburst was a mix of every emotion he’s ever had about the case involving his parents, finally reaching a boiling point.

“I had an emotional breakdown, really,” he told NBC 7. “A million thoughts were going through my head. Basically, the judge [had] just said, ‘Your dad is going to be locked up for life.’ My dad has been there throughout my whole life.”

On Mar. 21, 2012, Mohammed’s mother was brutally beaten in a bloody attack at their family’s home in El Cajon. She suffered critical brain injuries and died three days later. At the time, Mohammed was only 15 years old.

At first, the case was investigated as a hate crime due to a handwritten note found at the crime scene, which read: “This is my country, go back to yours, terrorist.”

Ultimately, El Cajon police determined it wasn’t a hate crime but rather a crime of domestic violence. Investigators arrested Al-Himidi in connection with the killing in November 2012.

Mohammed said he’s been conflicted with the case from the beginning. Now, with the guilty verdict, it’s even harder. He said he still feels like he’s stuck in the middle when it comes to what he believes.

“My dad, I personally thought, was innocent coming into the trial. I didn’t know what to believe, honestly. It’s the law versus your loyalty for your dad,” he explained. “It’s kind of like [being] in the middle. When I say I love my dad still, I’m just thinking, ‘Damn, I don’t know if my mom is going to be cool with that.’ It’s hard. It’s in the middle. I love my mom, but I also love my dad.”

While Mohammed said he loved his mother deeply, he worries that he’s now lost his father, too.

The teen said he still doesn’t know if he believes his dad is really guilty.

“I wasn’t actually there to see what happened. That’s between God and my mom. My mom was there – she knows who did it. Maybe my dad did it, maybe he didn’t,” he said. “Even [if] my dad did that, I still have love for him. It’s still my dad.”

Mohammed said the verdict is especially difficult to swallow because his father never had a history of violence in the family.

“My dad was never like that, never ever like that. My dad was never aggressive, never physical, never any of that stuff. I mean, it’s so confusing,” he said.

The teenager said he and his younger brother, Ali, have differing opinions when it comes to whether or not their father committed the crime. Still, those opinions won’t pit the brothers against one another.

“My brother and I are best friends. We’re really close. We don’t agree with each other, but that’s not going to ruin our brotherhood,” said Mohammed, adding that he respects the opinions of all of his siblings on this case, but stands by his own as well.

“I lost my parents, but I still have my siblings. I’ve trying to hold it together. There’s a lot going on,” he added.

Despite a verdict in place and Al-Himidi awaiting his sentencing on May 15, Mohammed said closure for the family still seems elusive at this point.

“Right now, to be honest with you, I don’t really feel a sense of closure. I just feel a sense of the family being even more separated,” he said.

Mohammed currently lives with relatives in Texas. He’s graduating from high school in May and said he plans to pursue a career in counseling, focusing on children and teens who have experienced this same type of trauma.

Stowaway's Sister Denies Fight


A woman who said she is the older sister of the 15-year-old boy who hid in the wheel well of a plane and flew from San Jose to Hawaii unharmed denied reports that he had an argument with his family before he decided to become an overseas stowaway.

In a short interview from her Santa Clara home on Monday, the woman spoke off camera with NBC Bay Area in halting English, and in a calm tone that didn't reveal her brother's harrowing tale: That the teenager scaled a fence at San Jose International Airport on Sunday morning, hid in the wheel well of a Hawaiian Airlines flight, and survived the flight across the Pacific Ocean, despite being unconscious for the 5 1/2-hour trip. All the while, authorities said the temperature sank to below minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Department of Human Services in Hawaii said on Monday that the teen was in the care of Child Welfare Services, and the agency is doing what needs to be done to "ensure the child's safe return to his home in California."

The sister also denied reports that her brother got in a fight with family at home before he took off on his journey, which has raised questions about airport security. She spoke only briefly, and answered with a simple "no," when asked whether her brother ran away because of an argument. The sister also said her brother was "OK" physically after the trip. She declined to say any more.

Outside the family's home, family members arrived - without the teen - in a taxi, which pulled into the garage. Relatives did not want to speak and they closed the door. A neighbor called them "perfectly nice."

The sister's response seems to be in stark opposition to the story that emerged on Sunday, which was  investigated by the FBI.

In a phone interview on Monday from Hawaii, FBI Special Agent Tom Simon said that agents interviewed the boy, corroborated his story, and turned the teen over to child services in Hawaii until he could be reunited with his family.

"We're done," he told NBC Bay Area. "There's no case here."

Simon added that the boy did not commit any crimes in Hawaii and will not be charged by the FBI there. Simon said it is not his agency's jurisdiction to determine whether the teen committed any other crimes by allegedly hopping the fence in San Jose.

Back in California, San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol said the "event was documented" and was "will be reviewed" by the District Attorney for any pending charges.

As for the teen's journey -  flying at an altitude of 38,000 feet with no oxygen and coming out unscathed - Simon said: "Clearly, it's amazing."

The Associated Press reported that security footage from the San Jose airport verified that the Santa Clara teen hopped a fence to get to Hawaiian Airlines Flight 45 on Sunday at 7:55 a.m.

Simon said when the flight landed in Maui at 10:25 a.m. Hawaii time, the boy hopped down from the wheel well and started wandering around the airport grounds.

"He was unconscious for the lion's share of the flight," Simon said. 

According to the FAA, the last known survivor of a stowaway incident was in August 2013 on a domestic flight within Nigeria, Africa. Since 1947, the FAA has recorded 94 stowaway incidents involving 105 people. Of those, only 25 survived.

The Hawaiian Airlines plane the Santa Clara stowaway hid on returned to San Jose International Airport, April 21, 2014.

The teen's misadventure -- including scaling a six-foot high barbed wire fence at the airport -- immediately raised security questions. A Congressman who serves on the Homeland Security committee wondered how the teen could have snuck onto the airfield at San Jose unnoticed.

"I have long been concerned about security at our airport perimeters. #Stowaway teen demonstrates vulnerabilities that need to be addressed," tweeted Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat who represents the San Francisco Bay Area's eastern cities and suburbs.

Rosemary Barnes, a spokeswoman for Mineta San Jose International Airport, said airport police were working with the FBI, San Jose police, and the Transportation Security Agency to review security at the facility as part of an investigation. A TSA spokeswoman on Monday, however, said the breach is not a TSA matter.

San Jose's airport issued a statement saying "SJC's security program meets and exceeds all federal requirements and we have an excellent track record...Despite this, no system is 100 percent and it is possible to scale an airport fenceline, especially under cover of darkness and remain undetected."


 NBC Bay Area's Chase Cain and Oskar Garcia from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP

Sinkhole Forms After Water Main Break in Danielson


A sinkhole formed on Katherine Avenue in Danielson on Tuesday morning.

Officials said there was a water main break on Tuesday morning, which caused a sink hole to form.

Crews are working on repairing it.

No injuries are reported in connection with the incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Going Green: 3 Questions on Sustainable Shopping


From toothpaste to wedding dresses, shoppers across the U.S. now have no trouble finding products that claim to be good for the environment.

But the popularity of buying with the environment in mind — and lack of clear marketing guidelines — has made it "much harder for a consumer to figure out which of these green products is really green," according to Northwestern University associate professor Brayden King, an expert on corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability.

As Earth Day kicks off, here's a look at the latest trends in the "green industry" and how consumers can make the most out of their environmentally-conscious purchases.

What kind of "green" products are available?

A better question might be what products aren't. It's rare to find a product or industry that doesn't offer a "green" option. Seventh Generation, an early leader in green cleaning products and baby items, reported more than $200 million in retail sales in 2012, according to The Wall Street Journal. Household brands are embracing the trend, too. Nike recently unveiled a new facility featuring technology aimed at cutting back at water use in the textile dying process, while Proctor & Gamble Company began in recent years to incorporate plastic made from sugarcane into packaging for some beauty products. "Environmental sustainability" ranked third among culinary trends for 2014 identified in a survey of chefs by the National Restaurant Association. And it's not just farm-to-table bistros greening menus. McDonald's recently vowed to source its Big Macs from "sustainable beef" by 2016, though it's not yet clear how the company will achieve that goal.

How "green' are green products?

It varies. Upwards of 400 separate "eco-label" systems or ratings now exist, according to King, the associate professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management. But a rise in "sustainable" products doesn't necessarily mean more items that are good for the environment. “Putting labels on things that say this is organic or this is environmental friendly has given consumers options," King said. "The downside of this is it has become very easy for companies to put those labels on and consumers are not always savvy enough to know if they’re buying something that is really good at the environment or buying something that just has the label." The Federal Trade Commission also urges caution, saying that many green marketing claims "sound great, but are too vague to be meaningful." So what's a consumer to do? The FTC recommends looking for specific labels or certifications "that tell you what makes the product environmentally friendly," such as disclosures saying the product is "free of" a certain substance or chemical. The agency has posted a consumer guide to shopping green that includes definitions of commonly used promotions.

Who buys "green"?

Most of us, it seems. More than 80 percent of respondents to a 2011 Gallup survey said they make an effort to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors, with 60 percent saying they either bought a product because it was environmentally friendly or plan to do so in the next year. The segment of consumers interested in stocking their shelves and pantries with "green" products extends beyond "the granola type," as one report commissioned by the Grocery Manufacturers' Association put it. The 2009 analysis by Deloitte found that people buying green "are diversely spread along all income ranges, age brackets, education levels and various household sizes."

What incentives do companies have to go green? 

Green ones — in more than one sense. Coming off as environmentally conscious can be a good sell with consumers. Research by DeLoitte found that "green shoppers" represent a "high value segment who buy more products on each trip, visit the store more regularly, and demonstrate more brand and retailer loyalty in their purchasing behavior." Major corporations, such as WalMart, have also instituted "green" measures such as recycling programs and energy conservation policies at corporate headquarters that shave operating costs while boosting the corporation's image with consumers, according to King. Being perceived as anti-environment has costs as well.  "If a company is continually being boycotted by activist groups or you see these protests outside company headquarters or you have shareholder activists who are submitting proposals every year to require the company to be more environmentally friendly, this kind of continual pressure can start to influence a company and damage its reputation," King said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Shot in the Head in Hartford


A man was shot in the head during an exchange of gunfire on Collins Street in Hartford on Monday night. 

A woman who was sitting on her porch said she saw people in two cars shooting at each other. 

Police said the victim who was shot in the head was 28-years-old.  He was driven to St. Francis hospital.  

The victim was conscious and talking when he arrived at the hospital and is expected to survive, police said.  His condition was listed as "guarded."

Hartford Names New Superintendent


The Hartford Board of Education met on Monday night at the STEM Magnet School at Annie Fisher to vote on a new leader for Hartford schools.

With eight in favor and one against, Hartford parents learned their next superintendent will be Dr. Beth Narvaez.

Board of Education Vice Chair Jose Colon-Rivas voted yes and said he appreciates Narvaez's strategy.

"Her holistic approach around assessment, her holistic approach about the alignment of all different sectors we have in the City of Hartford," Colon-Rivas said.

Narvaez is currently deputy superintendent of school support and improvement for one of Maryland's top school systems. She's a two-time Harvard graduate and also worked in the Springfield, Mass. Public Schools.

"I think we're bringing in a superb educational leader into the Hartford Public Schools, and I'm really looking forward to working with her," Colon-Rivas said.

The months-long search for a new superintendent began after the board decided not to extend former superintendent Christina Kishimoto's contract.

"[Narvaez] does have a lot of work ahead of her. There's a lot of needs," said Mayra Esquilin, a parent and a member of the search committee tasked with helping to find candidates. "We still have schools failing greatly, and there's lots of kids who need a better education."

There's a lot of hope the next leader of Hartford Public Schools can turn things around.

"We really need to have someone who can communicate with parents and residents in their community and let us know how we can work together," Esquilin said.

Narvaez will receive a salary of about $250,000 and a contract of no more than three years. She begins July 1.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hillary Clinton to Speak at UConn Forum Tomorrow


Hillary Rodham Clinton is visiting UConn tomorrow to speak at a forum designed to bring scholars and leaders to campus.

Clinton is scheduled to speak at the Edmund Fusco Contemporary Issues Forum at the university's Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The event will be open to UConn students, faculty and staff from the Storrs and regional campuses. No tickets will be available to the general public.

The former U.S. secretary of state is often mentioned as a possible candidate for president, but said she has not decided whether she will make another run for the White House in 2016. Clinton is also a former U.S. senator for New York.

In other news, the 1973 Yale Law School graduate is a grandmother to be. Chelsea Clinton announced last week that she is expecting her first child later this year.

UConn says this will be Hillary Rodham Clinton's first visit to the university.

Waterford Teen Reported Missing


Police have issued a Silver Alert for a 16-year-old Waterford girl who has been missing since Saturday.

Ashley Tanguay was wearing pajamas and flip flops when she was last seen.

Her hair and eyes are brown. Police said she is 5-feet-5 and weighs 120 pounds.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Waterford Police Department at 860-442-9451.

Photo Credit: Silver Alert

Almost 200 Milford Students to Walk Instead of Taking Bus


Almost 200 Milford school children who have been taking the bus to school will be walking instead, the board of education decided last night.

The New Haven Register reports that the vote came as a result of a traffic expert’s report that states 180 children who ride buses could walk to school instead as of the 2014-2015 school year. No modifications would be needed for that to happen.

The board requested a school transportation audit to "find greater efficiencies and savings," according to an agenda item for the meeting and a traffic safety expert examined bus stops and routes over a four-month span.

With modifications to crosswalks, crossing guard locations and sidewalks, an additional 274 students could walk instead of taking buses.

Elementary students who are affected live within a mile of the school, while middle school students live within 1.5 miles and high school students live within two miles, the Register reports. 

The breakdown on students from each school who would be affected, as well as who could be affected with some modifications, is posted on the Milford Schools Web site. (Scroll to page 15.)

Parents of the students who will be affected could get a letter about the change within two weeks and parents who don't want their children to walk could file an appeal.

Police Investigate Untimely Death of Infant in Naugatuck


Police are investigating the untimely death of a baby girl on Diamond Street in Naugatuck.

Police started investigating at 7 a.m. and local authorities as well as the Connecticut State Police Major Crime Unit are involved in the case.

Family members said the baby is a girl and was just over a month old.

Medics brought her out of the apartment this morning and tried to revive her, according to people at the scene today.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

2-Month-Old Hartford Baby Thrown Head-First Into Bassinet Died This Morning


A 2-month-old baby girl allegedly thrown head-first into a bassinet by her father has died, according to Hartford Police. She was in critical condition when she was admitted to Connecticut Children's Medical Center last week.

The child, named Adore Marie Daniels, was taken to the hospital on Monday, April 15 and her father, Marcus Rooks, 32, of Manchester, was arrested the next day.

Adore was pronounced dead at Connecticut Children's this morning.

Police started investigating when they were called to 798 Capitol Avenue around 1:15 p.m. on April 15 for an unresponsive infant.

Dannie Sears, the baby's godmother, called 911 when the child's mother arrived home from work and noticed something was wrong.

"Her mother came down to me saying she didn't look right, she wasn't acting right, so I told her to bring [the baby] to me," Sears explained. "I noticed her head lolling and her eyes kind of rolled to the side. She wouldn't connect, she wouldn't follow my hand or nothing [sic]. Within five seconds, I knew something was wrong with her, and I called 911."

Sears told the police dispatcher the baby is not focusing and that her eyes looked like they might be rolling to the side.

"She's grunting; in fact, she seems unconscious," Sears said.

Adore was taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center with life-threatening injuries, according to police, and was pronounced dead at 4 a.m. today.

Police said Adore had injuries to her head and neck and it appeared she might have been shaken. Investigators believe Rooks to be responsible.

Rooks was charged with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor and bond was set at $1 million.

According to an arrest warrant, Rooks admitted the child was crying and lost control, throwing her head-first into a bassinet. Investigators said the infant was unresponsive for hours and Rooks never reported it or called for help.

The Hartford Police Department Special Investigations Division and Major Crimes Division homicide detectives are conducting a criminal investigation and the state Department of Children and Families is involved in the case. 

At the time of Rooks' arrest, there was also an outstanding warrant charging him with third-degree assault in an unrelated incident.

The baby's great uncle, Ronald McNair, said Rooks was supposed to be taking care of her.

"My niece said she left [the baby] with the father while she was at work," McNair explained.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Driver Killed in I-91 Garbage Truck Rollover


A garbage truck rolled over on Interstate 91 North in Wallingford Thursday afternoon, killing the driver.

The crash happened just after 2:35 p.m. in the area of exit 14 and the truck was the only vehicle involved, according to state police.

The center and right lanes were closed for several hours.

The state police truck squad is investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

ClearEdge Power in South Windsor Closing


ClearEdge Power in South Windsor is closing down and filing for bankruptcy, according to union workers who just left a meeting.

The employees will get this week's pay, but that is all.

"Stunned, shocked, disbelief that something like this could happen," said Scott Racine, a worker. "It's just out of control."

Officials from the company, which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., had no comment.

The closure comes just over a year after the company announced that it was laying off 39 percent of the employees across four locations.

Earlier this year the State Bond Commission allocated more than $1.4 million to help the company grow jobs.

As part of the agreement to receive the loan the company agreed to retain 17 jobs and create 80 new jobs within three years.

ClearEdge has not received the money, according to Governor Malloy's office.

The company employs around 80 union workers at the South Windsor plant and additional 200 salaried employees.

They also have offices in Oregon and Irvine, Calif. No information was available on whether these other offices are affected.

Police Look for Bank Robbery Suspect in West Haven


West Haven police are looking for a man who robbed a First Niagara Bank on Main Street on Thursday afternoon.

According to police, the suspect entered the bank at 2:02 p.m., and handed the teller a note demanding money.

The suspect took off with an undisclosed amount of cash. There were no injuries reported.

Police describe the suspect as a clean shaven male in his 20's, 5 feet and seven inches tall, with a medium build.  He was wearing a gray sweatshirt with a hood over a New York Yankees baseball hat, authorities said.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call West Haven police at 203-937-3900.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

UConn Professor Defends Rant Caught on YouTube


A University of Connecticut professor who is under fire after a YouTube video surfaced showing him confronting a religious group on campus on Tuesday is standing by his actions.

A video on YouTube shows anthropology professor James Boster yelling at an evangelical group and screaming profanities.  He said there is more to the story and that the group was criticizing students’ ethnicity and sexuality, so he stepped in to defend them.

“When they attacked the student, I went out to confront them,” Boster said.  “It was my moral duty to become outraged.”

Boster said the group were preaching that “evolution is a lie.”

But, he told NBC Connecticut he wasn't provoked by their message.  

The video shows Professor Boster leading students on a chant, saying: “Praise Darwin, Praise Darwin!” He said he wasn’t trying to sway their beliefs, but it was his version of street theater.

“I was trying to engage them as cast members in the drama that I was creating,” Boster said.

Religious activists are responding.

“I have a problem with the professor proselytizing the students for a particular spiritual philosophy,” Peter Wolfgang, of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said.

Earlier this year, UConn Assistant Football Coach Ernest Jones resigned after the dean publicly criticized him for saying,Jesus Christ should be in the center of our huddles” 

“UConn came down on him like the wrath of God,” Wolfgang said.

Now some people are questioning why UConn isn’t holding Professor Boster to the same standard.

“Everyone has the right to exercise free speech on our campuses. At the same time, we expect our faculty to act in a way that promotes civil discourse and to express themselves respectfully. The use of abusive language and the confrontational posture seen here are inconsistent with UConn’s values,” a statement the university says.

“Yes, I’m in deep trouble. … The Dean has summoned me into his office,” Boster said.  

He also told NBC Connecticut, his behavior was justified.

“Shame on you for condemning someone to hell that they don't even know,” he added.

Photo Credit: YouTube

Evacuation Over at Berlin High School


Berlin High School was evacuated briefly on Friday morning as firefighters investigated the cause of a strange odor.

The evacuation is now over.

Students who were arriving at school during the evacuation were kept on their school buses.

No one was injured.


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

Police Identify Victim of Fatal Stonington Hit and Run


Police have identified the victim of a fatal hit-and-run crash in Stonington as 51-year-old Grover Moree, of the Pawcatuck section of Stonington.

Moree was strcuk near Route 2 and Route 78 just after 5 a.m. Friday and was flown by LifeStar to Rhode Island Hospital, where he died, police said.

Police said they are looking for a gray vehicle that fled the scene, heading north on Route 2.

Authorities are following leads and continue to investigate.

Photo Credit: Google Maps
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