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Teen Attacked by Taliban: "I Am Alive, I Want to Serve"

Speaking publicly by video for the first time since she was attacked by the Taliban last October, Malala Yousafzai thanked the many thousands of people around the world who have supported her, and announced a charitable fund created in her name.

Man Who Made Amazing Shot Gets Car Keys


A Trumbull man who made an amazing half-court shot last month now has the keys to a brand new car after a lot of attention and questions of whether his foot went a little over the line, against the rules of the contest.

During the ceremony. the announcer referenced the viral video Tesauro Productions shot of John Queenan, of Trumbull, making the basket during the Tri-State Chevy half-court challenge at the Fairfield University vs. Loyola basketball game on Jan. 21.

In the days after Queenan made the basket, a source close to Tri-State Chevy dealerships told NBC Connecticut that Queenan would get a new Chevy Cruz from Tri-State Chevy.

On Friday, he received those keys.

"You may have seen Mr. Queenan and that shot on YouTube video or on TV, but while the insurance company is verifying whether or Mr. Queenan's foot was behind the half-court line, Karl Chevrolet Tri-State Chevy Dealer stepped up, regardless of the verification, and honored the shot," the announcer said.

Queenan, who played high school basketball in Long Island and coaches in elementary school, said last month that the dealership has been great.




Photo Credit: Tesauro Productions

Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Increase Speed Limit


There might be some relief for those who can't keep to the speed limit of 65 mph.

A state lawmaker from Hartford is pushing to increase Connecticut's maximum speed limit on state highways to 75 mph.

Rep. Minnie Gonzalez, a Democrat, has proposed a bill that increases the limit and also increases fines for speeding violations by 15 percent.

The proposal also recommends that anyone driving speeds of 90 miles per hour would constitute reckless driving.

The General Assembly's Transportation Committee is scheduled to hear testimony on the proposal during a public hearing on Monday morning at the Legislative Office Building.

In 1998, Connecticut became the last state in the continental U.S. to increase the maximum speed limit on state highways from 55 mph to 65 mph.

At the time, critics of the speed limit increase warned it would lead to more fatal crashes, but advocates said the new limit was more realistic.

The maximum posted speed limit is 75 on urban interstates in Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas,  according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Fire Destroys Bozrah House


Fire destroyed a house on Gifford Lane in Bozrah overnight and flames sparked up again on Monday morning.

The fire started around 10 p.m. on Sunday. 

Officials are still investigating the cause, but believe the fire began in the basement near a wood-burning stove.

Two residents smelled smoke in the basement and tried to put out the fire, but could not keep up with the flames.

They were able to get out of the house, but fire gutted the residence and melted the siding.

Firefighters were able to knock down the flames and get the situation under control, but fire started up again inside some installation near a window on the first floor on Monday morning and spread.

The main challenge firefighters faced was getting down to the house, which is a very remote, wooded area.


Photo Credit: Audrey Washington, NBC Connecticut

Giant Decisions Loom for Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks


For the last two years, Victor Cruz has led a storybook existence. 

He shot out of nowhere to win a Super Bowl, danced his way into commercials and then proved in 2012 that it wasn't a fluke as he led the team's passing game while making it to the Pro Bowl. As anyone familiar with a storybook knows, however, you need a little drama and conflict at some point to make a truly compelling story. 

We might be getting some this offseason. Giants owner John Mara was asked about negotiations with Cruz on a long-term contract that would allow the team to pass on slapping a restricted free agent tender on the wideout. His answer was not what Giants fans would choose to hear as Mara indicated that Cruz is asking for too much money. 

"We certainly want him back, but like with any player, there’s a limit to where we’re going to go,” Mara said. “He’s been a terrific player for us, and he’s a fan favorite and does a lot for our franchise, but there is a limit."

Cruz hasn't been shy about saying he thinks he deserves to be paid like one of the best receivers in football, something that won't happen if the team uses the restricted free agent tender on him for the 2013 season. That would pay Cruz a bit less than $3 million unless another team offers him a contract, something that doesn't happen much since the signing team has to fork over a first-round pick in addition to whatever they pay him in terms of salary. 

This is all pretty much par for the course, but the bigger issue might be that the Giants are reportedly prioritizing a new deal for Hakeem Nicks ahead of a new deal for Cruz. Nicks has a year left on his contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent and the Giants would like to keep that from happening because they feel he's their No. 1 receiver. 

Arguing with the Giants' logic is nearly impossible. Cruz has no leverage over the Giants while letting Nicks hang without a contract would wind up impacting almost every other move the team thinks about making since they'll need to always keep space for him in mind when formulating the roster. 

It's hard to pay two players at the same spot the salary that comes with that top receiver designation, so reaching a deal with Nicks would both set the ceiling for any Cruz deal while also sending the message that the Giants think they can live without Cruz as long as they have Nicks. Another team is likely to agree with Cruz's take on his own abilities, whether out of scouting or desperation, and then the feel-good story of the last two years may be writing future chapters in a different uniform. 

We're a long way off from any need to seriously panic about Cruz's departure, but we've got our first bit of tension in the Cruz story. Now it's just a question of whether it winds up cementing his commitment to the team or foreshadows the end of a short but brilliant Giants run. 

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images

87-Yr-Old Woman Gets 12,800 Cards After Sandy

87-year-old Patsy Roberts had been collecting letters from loved ones all her life. Then Sandy flooded her house, destroying all of her cards. Her family asked friends online to help her create new memories by sending cards, and people from all over the world responded.

Teen Hit While Heading to School Bus


A 17-year-old boy was injured on Monday morning as he crossed the street to get onto a school bus on Old Town Road around 6:30 a.m.

The teen was crossing Old Town Road at Macon Drive when a 21-year-old Branford man driving a 2000 Acura Integra hit him, according to Bridgeport police.

Police said the school bus was stopped on Old Town Road, with flashing lights and the stop sign activated when a man, identified as Matthew Kuhn, was driving in the opposite direction on Old Town Road and hit the teen.

The 17-year-old suffered a broken right leg and injuries to his left foot and an ambulance took him to Saint Vincent Medical Center to be treated for injuries that police said with serious injuries that were not considered life threatening.

Kuhn was cited for failure to obey a school bus signal.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Calif. Tour Bus Was "Swerving All the Way Down"


A tour bus swerved for several minutes Sunday evening, crashing into two other vehicles before flipping on a two-lane mountain road east of Los Angeles in a rollover that killed at least seven people and injured 38 others.

After inspecting the interior of the bus Monday afternoon, California Highway Patrol investigators revised the total number of victims killed to seven. Initial estimates were that eight people were killed.

Crash investigators at the location -- the crash occurred at about 6:30 p.m. on Highway 38 near Mentone, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles -- are attempting to determine what led to the deadly crash.

"Speed was probably a factor," said CHP Officer Mario Lopez. "We do not know if there was a mechanical failure or driver error. That's what investigators at the scene are going to determine."

A victim's family member identified some of the passengers as medical students from Tijuana, Mexico. They were returning from a skiing and snowboarding trip in Big Bear when the bus began swerving and the driver, who survived the crash, reported a problem with the brakes.

The bus collided with a Saturn sedan and Ford truck that was towing a trailer. Aerial video showed debris scattered across the two-lane road and the pickup with significant damage on the side of the road. 

The pickup driver suffered major injuries, and three people in the Saturn suffered minor injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Betty Harvey was traveling down Highway 38 when she saw the bus speed past.

"I saw a headlight in the my rear-view mirror," said Harvey. "I moved over and he went flying past. He was swerving all the way down."

Passengers told NBC4 the bus swerved for about three minutes before it flipped near Bryant Street (map).

Authorities plan to retrieve a passenger list from inside the bus Monday morning. Investigators are waiting to stabilize the vehicle, which is on an embankment, before entering.

At least two deceased passengers remained on the bus Monday morning. The number of casualties might change during the investigation, Lopez said.

About 40 people were aboard the bus, owned by Scapadas Magicas LLC. At least 15 victims remained hospitalized Monday morning.

"We've been unable to go inside the bus," Lopez said. "Once we can do that, we can identify the individuals involved in this."

Officials with the coroner's office remained at the location Monday (AP photo embedded right). National Transportation Safety Board investigators were en route to the site.

Highway 38 was expected to remain closed during the investigation Monday.

Carrier Inspections Show Violations

Scapadas Magicas has offices in National City, Calif. Federal transportation records show that the company is licensed to carry passengers for interstate travel. No crashes involving a company owned bus have been reported in the past two years, but several violations were reported during inspections, according to federal records.

The violations -- based on a 24-month period that ended Dec. 14, 2012 -- included loose wheel fasteners, power steering and brake system issues, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

The tour operator, INTERBUS Tours, released a statement Monday morning on its Facebook page.

"INTERBUS Tours and its team are working to support our clients and their families that unfortunately suffered an accident coming down from the mountains of Big Bear in San Bernardino CA. Interbus staff are located in offices and in the hospitals where we know the authorities transferred the wounded."


Fairfield Couple Honored for Longest Marriage


A Fairfield County couple has reached a milestone that not many married couples can say.

John and Ann Betar are being recognized as the longest married couple in the United States in 2013.

The Betars tied the knot on Nov. 25 in 1932 and have been married for over 80 years. 

The year the Betars were married, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and the country’s unemployment rate was 24.1 percent.

The 10th summer Olympic games were held in Los Angeles and Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City. The 30th Olympiac was held in London last summer.

John and Ann's granddaughter, Heather Mitchell, said her grandparents grew up in the same Syrian neighborhood of Bridgeport and met as children.

After they were married, John opened a grocery store, Betar’s Market in Bridgeport, and Ann stayed home to raise their children.

The Worldwide Marriage Encounter will recognize them on Saturday at their granddaughter’s house in Fairfield. Each year, the faith-based marriage enrichment program identifies the longest married couple in the United States.

Ann is 97 and John is 101. Together they have five children, 14 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

The Guinness Word Record for the longest marriage is 86 years and belongs to Herbert Fisher and Zelmyra Fisher, of North Carolina.

Photo Credit: Heather McGlaughlin

"Sniper" Shooting Suspect on Suicide Watch


The man charged with shooting Chris Kyle, the author of "American Sniper," and Chad Littlefield is on suicide watch, according to Erath County Sheriff Tommy Bryant.

The suspect in the shootings, Eddie Ray Routh, is now in solitary confinement and on suicide watch in an Erath County jail.

According to Bryant, Routh became aggressive with jail guards after refusing to hand over his dinner tray. After several minutes, guards had to open the cell to go in and retrieve the tray.

At that time, guards said, Routh became aggressive and they had to use a stun gun to subdue him.

Bryant say they have heard of death threats against Routh and that they will do everything them can to keep him safe.

Routh is scheduled to stay in the jail until a plea deal is reached or a verdict and sentence come down at a trial.

Routh, a 25-year-old veteran, may have been working with Kyle to overcome Routh's personal struggles. The U.S. military confirmed Sunday that Routh was a corporal in the Marines from June 2006 to January 2010. He was deployed to Iraq in 2007 and Haiti in 2010. His current duty status is listed as reserve.

Routh's family and neighbors had differing opinions when reporters contacted them about his background.

Routh is charged with two counts of capital murder and is being held on $3 million bond.

Previous Coverage:

Photo Credit: AP

Cashier Says No to Would-Be Robber


A Dunkin’ Donuts cashier thwarted a would-be armed robbery at the donut shop in Bristol by simply saying no and walking away, according to West Haven police.

A woman approached the cashier at 855 Farmington Ave. at 9:16 p.m. on Sunday, showed a knife and demanded money, according to police. 

But the cashier said, “No” and walked away. The perpetrator then fled.

She is believed to be 30 to 40 years, old with dark hair, around 5-feet-6 and between 120 and 130 pounds.

She was wearing a white hooded sweatshirt and a winter cap.

Anyone with information about the attempted robbery should call Officer Wethered at 860-584-3011.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Amazon Comes to CT, Will Charge Sales Tax


Amazon will begin collecting sales tax revenue in the state in November, just before the height of the Christmas shopping season.

Gov. Dannel Malloy made the announcement on Monday at the same time he announced that Amazon will invest $50 million in Connecticut over the next two years and create hundreds of new full-time jobs. 

“All in all, this is a win for our state’s taxpayers, our main street retailers, and our workforce,” Malloy said in a statement.  “Amazon’s multi-million dollar investment and the hundreds of jobs that will come with both the construction and operation of their future facility will unquestionably boost our local economy.  Their agreement to begin collecting revenue is a great step, but federal action on this issue is still necessary.”

Under current federal law, out-of-state retailers cannot be required to collect tax on sales to Connecticut.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said in a statement that this will put people to work and help balance the budget.

“We welcome Amazon as our newest partner in our effort to create long-term prosperity for Connecticut,” she said.

Paul Misener, Amazon vice president, global public policy, said these good paying jobs with good benefits.

“We are delighted to make this announcement today, and look forward to working with Governor Malloy toward passage of the legislation now being considered by Congress that would finally resolve the sales tax issue, level the playing field for all retailers, protect states’ rights and allow states to collect the revenue owed,” he said.

Car Crashes Into Boston Market


Bristol police responded to a crash at the Boston Market on Farmington Avenue in Bristol on Monday and a Twitter photo from Caz shows the car inside the Boston Market.

A second photo shows that the car is a sport utility vehicle.

The car has since been towed from the scene.

Photo Credit: @cazzball

Tong Running for Mayor of Stamford


State Rep. William Tong, who represents Stamford and Darien, is running for mayor of Stamford. 

“The rumors are true. I am running for mayor of Stamford and I could not be more excited. Let's get this city moving again!” Tong Tweeted on Monday afternoon.

Tong, an attorney for  Finn Dixon & Herling LLP, is the first Asian American to serve in the General Assembly. 

His statewide profile grew when he ran in the primaries for U.S. Senate last year. in the spring, he dropped out of the Democratic race and threw his support behind now-U.S. Senator Chris Murphy.

Last week, Stamford Michael Michael Pavia said in a statement that he will not seek re-election for a second term.

“Throughout my career, I have had the honor of serving the City of Stamford in multiple capacities. The time has come for me to return to my life as businessman and private citizen,” Pavia said in a statement last week.

Gov. Dannel Malloy served as mayor of Stanford before Pavia.

Tong's Web site has been updated to reflect his mayoral campaign.

Cops Investigate Possible Link Between Donut Shop Robberies


Plainville police are looking for the woman who threatened to kill a Dunkin’ Donuts employee in Plainville on Sunday night if she did not hand over cash, and they are also trying to determine if she is the same woman who tried to rob a Dunkin’ Donuts in Bristol just minutes earlier.

A woman entered Dunkin’ Donuts at 19 East St. at 9:27 p.m. on Sunday, confronted the woman operating the register and ordered her to empty it if she valued her life, then threatened to kill the employee if she did not comply, police said.

The employee opened the register and gave cash to the woman, who ran off.

She did not display a weapon, but kept her hand in her coat pocket and the donut shop employee told police felt she might have had a weapon in the pocket, according to police.
The woman has brown hair, a medium build and is in her 30s or 40s, according to police. She was wearing a white “puffy” short coat.

Police are looking into whether the same woman tried to rob a Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 6 in Bristol just minutes before.

At 9:16 p.m., police took a report from the shop at 855 Farmington Ave. reporting that a woman with a knife demanded money from the cashier, but the employee said, “No “ and walked away.

That woman had dark hair and was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and winter cap. She was described as 30 to 40 years old, around 5-feet-6-inches tall and between 120 and 130 pounds.

Anybody has any information should call Detective Marc Rivard or Sergeant Nicholas Mullins at 860-747-1616.

Bristol Police Investigate Copper Pipe Thefts


In the past few months, the Bristol Police have been battling a dangerous trend.

Police say that crooks have been breaking into empty homes to steal copper piping. The thefts are leaving an environmental mess behind and the clean-up hasn’t been an easy one.

“It's a little bit frightening for us,” said neighbor Julie Walden. “You worry there’s going to be a fire or some type of explosion.”

Most of the copper pipes that are being stolen connect the furnace to the fuel tank. After they are removed, heating oil spills out and potentially leaks into the ground and contaminates water supplies.

The State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has been called in multiple times for clean-ups to make sure neighborhoods aren’t in danger.

“Definitely oil getting out causes environmental risks and possible contamination,” said Dennis Schain with the Department of Environmental Protection.

The cost of these thefts is has been adding up.

It cost the D.E.E.P thousands of dollars to clean up the mess every time and although the property owners are billed, they don’t always pay up.

“It doesn't happen every time but our goal is to make sure state expense is covered,” Schain explained.

Police believe these criminals are out looking for a quick way to make some cash.

“It's very concerning. Someones got to put a stop to it,” Larry Booska added.

Police say that no arrests had been made.



Grandmother Arrested After Ending Rowdy Sleepover


A rowdy sleepover party ended with a Grandmother in handcuffs.

Middletown police charged 71-year old Barbara Aiello with two counts of risk of injury to a minor after alleging she forced two children, ages 11 and 10, to walk home alone at 4:30 am Sunday in frigid temperatures.

“I said you you and you out. everybody out,” said Aiello, who has been raising her grandson, Christopher, since his father died last year.

“I opened the door. Not thinking. Not realizing the time. I was angry and said ‘go home’.”

Aiello says she had a lot on her mind that night. Her husband was in intensive care at Middlesex Hospital because of complications following a stroke.

She says the kids, who she believed to be 12 or 13, were being very loud. After repeated warnings to stop, she decided the sleepover was over.

“When things got out of hand, I went up there. I was very angry and said both of ya’s - out!”

Police say they were contacted by one the children’s parents Sunday morning when they awoke to find the kids unexpectedly home.

Handcuffs, fingerprints and sitting in a cell were not things this grandma ever experienced before.

“I felt like i had murdered somebody. That’s how i was treated.”

Aiello says she has yet to hear from either of the children's parents and wishes they would have called her before contacting police.

“Why didn’t they come over and say Mrs. Aiello, ‘why did you throw my kids out at 4:30-5 in morning? None of that.”

Middletown police say the case is continuing to be investigated. Aiello is scheduled to appear in court on February 11th.

DeStefano Delivers Last State of the City Address


He spoke about schools, the economy, public safety and the budget.

They are the four topics New Haven Mayor John DeStefano touched on Monday night in his 20th and final State of the City Address at City Hall. He stressed that a lot of progress has been made but he has a lot of work left in his final 330 days in office.

“Kids who can set goals and work hard, kids who can grow up in safe neighborhoods and kids who attend a school district that prepares them for work, happiness and life-long success,” DeStefano said.

The mayor touted the success of the public school system—emphasizing that different agencies must work together to eliminate the achievement gap, cut the drop out rate and prepare students for college.

At Wilbur Cross High School in the East Rock section, drop out rates decreased more than at any other school in the city.  “It makes me feel phenomenally good because I know my teachers have been there and given their best and they are a dynamic group of people and my parents are number one,” said Peggy Moore, principal at Wilbur Cross.

In addition to education DeStefano spoke about the importance of public safety, the need to continue to grow the economy and budget challenges. The mayor says the crime rate has gone down but the big concern is “more community policing.” That goes hand in hand with education.

“You know the difference in all our neighborhoods if kids are in school learning, achieving, positively doing.  They aren’t then harming themselves or one another,” DeStefano said.

He even highlighted three students who have earned scholarships through New Haven Promise. One of them is Jordy Padilla who is now a sophomore at University of New Haven.

“I’ve worked hard all my life,” Padilla said. “I definitely had help from others and you can’t succeed without that.”

DeStefano said schools and teachers will continue to be ranked but getting students into college is the biggest thing he’s going to focus on.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

"Booted" SUV Leads to Attack, Arrests


New Haven police arrested two people after a bizarre altercation involving a man angered over his SUV being "booted" by a tow truck driver.

Police responded to 187 Orange Street just past midnight on Saturday morning. An arriving officer found a Dodge SUV wedged between the Corner Deli and a tree. He also found a tow truck driver with his damaged tow truck.

The driver told police he had placed a "boot" on the SUV because the owner had owed back taxes to the city. He said the vehicle's owner approached him and ordered him to remove the boot. When the tow truck driver refused, the owner jumped in the SUV, drove it into the tow truck, ran over a parking meter, and then slammed it into the deli, according to police.

Officers ran the license plate and discovered the owners, Michael Pervis Jr. and Waleska Marrero, lived in a nearby building. As officers went to the building they were greeted by Marrero, who told them Pervis was upstairs and asleep.

She brought the officers upstairs, but when the apartment door opened, Pervis attacked the officers, threw punches and screamed "you're going to have to earn this," according to police. The officers put Pervis in handcuffs, but he continued to struggle, police said. At one point Marrero tried to pull one of the officer away from Pervis, according to police. She backed off but grabbed a fire extinguisher, police said. Marrero was arrested as well.

Pervis was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, evading responsibility and disorderly conduct. Marrero was charged with interfering with police.

Mom Left Toddler Alone in Car as She Tanned: Cops


Westport police have arrested a Fairfield woman accused of leaving her young son in the car while she went tanning on Saturday.

Kristen Becker, 37, had been in a tanning room at Palm Beach Tanning for about five minutes when her 3-or-4-year-old son went into the salon alone, according to the Fairfield Daily Voice.

The temperature was in the 20s on Saturday and the little boy was not wearing a jacket, Westport News reports, citing the police report.

Employees told Becker that her son was in the salon and her response was that he was supposed to stay in the car, according to the Hour. 

Becker was charged with risk of injury to a child, posted bond and is due in Norwalk Superior Court on Feb. 11.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Westport Police
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