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Strangers Pay Autistic Kids' Bill


A mystery couple treated a group of 25 students with autism and their teachers to lunch last week while they were on a school trip to a restaurant in New Jersey, a gesture made even more significant on Teacher Appreciation Day. 

The special needs students from Matthew Jago School in Sewaren were dining out at Jose Tejas restaurant in Woodbridge to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and to learn how to behave in a social environment, along with 21 teachers, paraprofessionals and speech therapists.

At the end of their meal, the restaurant manager informed the teachers that the check for the whole group was being taken care of. 

"The manager came up to us and said, 'I just want to let you know that a fellow patron wants to pay your bill," said teacher Jeannette Gruskowski. "We were speechless. We were all crying." 

The couple wanted to remain anonymous, but the manager told the teachers they were regulars at the restaurant and had a grandchild with special needs. 

"They wanted to do something nice for the children, which was so touching," said principal Robert Patten.

The anonymous patrons also knew it was national Teacher Appreciation Day and wanted to give the 21 teachers, paraprofessionals and speech therapists a special gift. 

"It was nice to realize that people do such nice things, especially for kids who deserve to have nice things done for them," said Patten. 

Though the couple asked to remain anonymous, the students still wanted to show their appreciation.

When they got back to school, the students created a large card for the mystery couple and had it posted in the restaurant, hoping they will see it.

"There are no words to express how touched and grateful we are to you," the card read. "Your act of generosity will be embedded in our hearts."

The school says because the students didn't have to pay for the meal, they now have extra money for another trip or special party at the end of the year. 

Fairfield Firefighters Rescue Teen Struck by Car


Fairfield firefighters came to the rescue of a bike rider Tuesday afternoon. The young woman was hit by an S-U-V then got pinned underneath

The driver was trying to make a right turn onto Stratfield Road when she collided with bicyclists at the corner of Stratfield and Suburban Avenue.

"She was very upset," said Assistant Chief Erik Kalapir, who says the woman was not only upset but in a lot of pain. Kalapir says he and his men did what they could to rescue the woman

"She was in the supine position on her back in a tucked position underneath the Subaru SUV crossover which is very precarious," Kalapir said. "We were able to lift the motor vehicle using pneumatic airbags and box cribbing."

It's an incident firefighters call high risk but it's one for which they train.

"These very difficult events that happen that require a lot of technology and a lot of quick thinking and they don't happen all that often so you gotta be on your toes," Kalapir added.

Police tell us both women were riding their bikes against traffic on Stratfield Road. The driver of the car was trying to make a right turn and collided with them. Both are at Bridgeport Hospital but are expected to make a full recovery

"You just feel bad for everyone involved it wasn't a good sight," said Joy Cehovsky, who saw the whole thing out her window. "The woman that hit her was the one holding her hands the entire time and so that was really nice to see."

Though fire officials know what happened could've been worse they're still sending out a message

"Now as we're proceeding into the summer season, children on bicycles, adults running, motorcyclists are out there," Kalapir said. "You know everyone just needs to use caution and wear your helmet when you're biking."

Police are still investigating what happened but they think it's likely the two girls on the bikes were in the wrong.

Man Accused of Keeping Sister in "Dungeon" Must Wear GPS


A 58-year-old man accused of keeping his 56-year-old sister locked in a Connecticut bedroom for several years in "dungeon"-like conditions is free on bond and will be under electronic GPS tracking.

Police said Arthur Gauvin locked his sister up to avoid losing her home at 10 Eleanor Road in Seymour to the state.  

Gauvin was arrested last month at the home after police received an anonymous call from someone who was concerned about the woman’s welfare.

He appeared in court on Wednesday and was ordered to stay away from the house and his daughter, who he is accused of threatening after police arrested him.

When police responded to Gauvin's home in August, they noticed a foul odor and discovered a woman in a bedroom in deplorable conditions.

She was extremely thin, disheveled and covered in urine and human feces, police said. She had not bathed in a long period of time and it appeared she had been malnourished. 

There was a portable toilet inside of the room, which was in an unsanitary condition, police said. 

The one window in the room was boarded up to prevent the victim from escaping. It was also blacked out with black paint to prevent her from seeing outside, police said. There was also a clasp locking the door so she could not get out.

Police said the smell in the house was so horrendous that officers had to leave within minutes of being inside. 

A detective with a special Hazmat suit and a SCUBA device was called in to help patrol officers process the scene.

An ambulance took the victim to Yale-New Haven Hospital to be evaluated. She seemed to be "brainwashed," according to officials and not happy to be freed.

"His sister was essentially placed in a position where she was in constant danger by being in that house in the condition she was in," Senior Assistant State's Attorney, Charles Stango, said.

Children were also living in the house, so the Department of Children and Families was called and will conduct a follow-up investigation.

Police said Gauvin apparently kept his sister locked in the house so he would not lose it to the State of Connecticut if she received outside help. 

The woman had signed the house over to Gauvin around seven years ago, police said. He was responsible for taking care of her for nine years before she could receive any services from the state, they added.       

Police are continuing to investigate and help get the victim proper care and medical services. 

Officers had checked on the victim's welfare in 2010 and found nothing wrong, then again in July 2012.

Arthur Gauvin was charged with first-degree unlawful restraint, second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty to persons. He was released after posting a $20,000 bond, but allegedly made a threatening comment to a family member in front of police that they said would impede and hinder the ongoing investigation.

He was then arrested for a second time and charged with tampering with a witness. 

Gauvin did not speak outside of court on Wednesday.

He was being represented by a public defender, but attorney David Egan will not be representing Gauvin any longer after the judge deternined that he could afford a lawyer.

Photo Credit: Seymour Police

Chicago Airport Delays Continue


To the relief of travelers, delays were minimal and lines appeared to be moving fairly swiftly at O'Hare International Airport by midday Wednesday.

The scene was far different than what existed just hours earlier, when thousands of people were either milling about or sleeping on benches, the floor, and baggage claim conveyor belts, victims of an incident at a Federal Aviation Administration radar facility that virtually shut down the local airspace and caused hundreds of flight cancellations.

Some customers told NBC Chicago they'd been told the backlog of flights, which already existed from severe weather earlier in the week, could take another day or two to get cleared up.

"We got here and they told us that we're not flying until the next two days," said Zaid Isho, who was traveling from San Diego, California to Detroit, Michigan.

He and his flight companions ultimately made their way to Midway International Airport to book a car so they could finish their trek but returned to O'Hare because they were unclear if luggage that had been checked through to Detroit would get to the final destination or remain in Chicago.

"It's frustrating. I'm mad, too. But you've got to do what you've got to do," said Isho.

There were just a few flight delays on the board Wednesday morning as airport crews did their best to get operations back to normal.

Inbound and outbound flights slowly began resuming at about 4 p.m. Tuesday at both O'Hare and Midway after smoke inside Chicago Terminal Radar Approach Control halted planes earlier in the day. The FAA building on Bowes Road in Elgin was evacuated of all personnel at about 11:30 a.m. after smoke was seen coming from a vent shaft inside the building, Elgin police Cmdr. Dan O'Shea said.

More than 1,120 flights were canceled between the two Chicago airports, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Some planes that were lined up on the tarmac left their place in line and returned to gates to avoid penalties. The U.S. Department of Transportation in December 2009 instituted new rules prohibiting airlines from keeping passengers on an airport tarmac for more than three hours.

FAA.gov: About Air Traffic Control

One traveler trying to make his way from London to San Francisco had a scheduled stop in Chicago. His flight was diverted on the way.

"They diverted us to Detroit. I sat on the ground in Detroit for 11 hours while they tried to get a U.S. Airways plane," said a clearly frustrated Dave Nordell. "I had first class all the way yesterday. Today I don't, and they're unwilling to give me miles or $75 to compensate me. They're going to put me in coach and keep my money."

The nation's TRACON facilities manage the approach and departure of aircraft for a specific airport or a cluster of airports within a defined geographic area. They differ from command centers, which guide planes through large sections of airspace. The towers at airports primarily deal with the movement of planes on the ground.

New Haven Intersection Where Suitcase Was Found Has Reopened


The intersection of College and George streets in New Haven was blocked off this morning as police checked on a suitcase that was left at the intersection.

It has since reopened.


Thieves Steal Metal from Vacant Properties: Police


West Haven police are investigating 15 incidents of metal thefts from unoccupied and vacant properties, according to the department's Facebook page.

In the incidents, spanning recent months, burglars have stolen copper piping, aluminum gutters and metal framing.

Police warn residents to be extra vigilant at their own homes, particularly ones adjacent to empty properties, and to report any cases of suspicious people on their properties.


Men Arrested After Fleeing from Police and Crashing: Police


West Hartford police arrested two Hartford men accused of fleeing from police in a stolen car and causing a crash that closed Caya Avenue, as well as a ramp of Interstate 84.

A West Hartford police officer tried to stop a white 1998 Acura Integra on Prospect Avenue just after 3:30 a.m. on Wednesday, but the car sped off, according to a news release from police.

The officer didn’t chase the car, but found it, totaled, while checking a construction area of the Prospect Avenue bridge and saw two men running, police said. A fire hydrant, telephone pole and traffic light were damaged during the crash, according to police.

The car had been reported stolen from Oxford Street in Hartford on

The two suspects, Joaquin Cedeno, 24, of Hartford, and Joseph Murphy, 30, of Hartford, were arrested.

Cedeno was charged with third-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny, reckless driving, engaging police in a pursuit, driving with a suspended driver’s  license, evading and a motor vehicle crash, failure to obey a traffic control signal, possession of burglary tools, tampering with a motor vehicle and interfering.

Murphy was charged with third-degree larceny, conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny, possession of drug paraphernalia and two counts of interfering.



Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Handmade Signs Show Up After Theft at Memorial Park


A vinyl peace sign will be reinstalled at a playground dedicated to a Sandy Hook shooting victim a week after a man stole it.

Last week, a man stole the 50-pound sign from a park dedicated to Grace McDonnell, then called her mother and claimed the school shooting was a hoax, according to one of the organizers of the group building the playground. 

Offers to replace the sign have since come from across the state and as far away as Florida.

The Where Angels Play Foundation has ordered a replacement sign and temporary handmade signs have been placed at the playground until it arrives.

The nearby YMCA will next work on a security strategy with the Stonington Police Department and police patrols will be increased at the playground.

Becky Morris, of Mystic, said the theft broke her heart, but the public response proves a simple act of kindness can always outweigh the bad.

"There's so much goodness and kindness and there's so much to be positive about, so focus on that,” Morris said. "Really, the worst bit for us is that somebody could suggest that Sandy Hook never happened and to do that to Grace's mom.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Teen Says Dress Got Her Kicked Out of Prom


A 17-year-old girl said she was kicked out of her prom because some of the dads chaperoning the event for home-schooled teens thought her dancing would give the boys "impure thoughts."

Claire Ettinger of Richmond, Virginia, described the ordeal in a post that was published on her sister's blog on Monday.

"The whole situation made me feel violated, walked over and ostracized," Ettinger said in the post.

The night was off to a rough start on Sunday when a prom organizer purportedly criticized her for showing up in a dress that she argued was too short for the prom. Ettinger said in the blog post that her fitted, sparkly dress met her school's "fingertip length" dress code requirement. Still, the event organizer, described as Mrs. D, warned her to "make sure it stays pulled down."

Ettinger said she was amused to find that girls in the ballroom wore dresses much shorter than hers, but because they were shorter than her, their dresses weren't as controversial.

"I have long legs, everything looks short on me," she said she told the organizer.

Mrs. D later plucked Ettinger from the dance floor because "some of the dads who were chaperoning had complained that my dancing was too provocative," she said.

Ettinger's date and the group of friends she arrived with decided to leave with her. She was given a full refund for the prom, but she called out the event organizers for not delivering on a promise to refund her friends' tickets when they decided to leave with her.

The Facebook page for Richmond Homeschool Prom was reportedly shut down after it was inundated with negative comments about the the incident.

Ettinger's family and boyfriend corroborated her story when they spoke to NBC affiliate WWBT. The family said Claire will not be speaking on camera because she is a minor. Her sister Hannah spoke to WWBT and vouched for the teen's story.

"My mom said that it was a hot little thing, but it was definitely within the guidelines," Hannah Ettinger said.

Phone calls to the organizers of the Richmond Homeschool Prom were not returned at the time of publication.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hannah Ettinger

Jury Selection Begins in New Britain Murder Case


Jury selection has begun in the murder trial of a Meriden man accused of gunning down a teenager in New Britain over a pair of sneakers.

The Record-Journal of Meriden reports (http://bit.ly/1lxCgxv ) that Jonathan Gibbs, 26, entered a not guilty plea on Tuesday.  

A judge also lowered his bond from $3 million to $99,000 cash, a move that will allow the Correction Department to move him from the maximum-security Northern Correctional Institution to a facility closer to the courthouse during the trial.

Gibbs is accused of shooting Issaac Smith, 18, in the back of the head last June 16.

Police said the shooting occurred after a meeting in which Smith apparently tried to run off with a pair of sneakers that Gibbs had posted for sale on Facebook for $400.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

"Battle Isn't Over" As San Diego Brush Fire Threatens Thousands


A menacing brush fire that slithered through San Diego's most exclusive North County communities flirting with disaster and threatening homes, still posed a threat to thousands of residents Wednesday.

As of 8:30 a.m., the brush fire had scorched 1,584 acres of canyons and undeveloped space around neighborhoods of multi-million dollar homes and mansions. While no structures have burned so far, Cal Fire officials warned residents that anyone living in the proximity of the Bernardo Fire should be on high alert.

“The wind is coming up again. We know how difficult, how windy and how hot it’s going to be,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

“The battle isn’t over,” he added, urging everyone to be vigilant and listen for updates.

San Diego Fire-Rescue updated the containment to 25 percent early Wednesday, though the blaze could spread in the face of high winds and record temperatures expected.

"Weather conditions right now give us grave concern," said Cal Fire's Incident Commander Ray Chaney. "We're talking single digit humidties, gusty Santa Ana winds. So, it does put us on edge and that's why we have a robust force of engine companies and air assets on the line today."

"We are prepared for the worst and hoping for the best," Chaney said.

There were 12 flare-ups overnight and more were expected Wednesday fueled by the wind.

Just before 9 a.m. an NBC 7 news crew called 911 to report a flare-up along San Dieguito Road at Camino del Sur. The fire burned just a few feet of brush before crews quickly extinguished the flames.

San Diego police officers will be using 211, their Twitter feed and reverse 911 system to spread news of evacuations.

“We ask again that you follow those directions and we will give you the information on where we want you to evacuate,” San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman said.

San Diego County Sheriff's deputies made 22,000 contacts to email addresses, cell phones and landlines through their alert system Tuesday. Of those, 5,000 were in the county and 17,000 in the San Diego city area.

Santaluz resident Kara Hansen was getting her hair done when she got a call about the fire. She had time to grab only her family's passports and dogs before leaving to find her 8-year-old son, whose school had been evacuated.

“Anybody who comes out here and drives around Santaluz to see how close it got to homes, it’s unbelievable,” she said.

In additon to fighting the flames, officials are working to ensure areas the blaze has already crossed pose no ongoing danger. Blackened dirt may look safe however firefighters say there may be hot spots beneath. Fire crews will be working to dig the dirt up to look for embers that may be buried up to two inches deep.

Firefighters will be churning the dirt and wetting the dirt down. If winds pick up the dust and dirt, embers can be spread to another area and spark another fire.

“There are a few little areas down along the river bottom that didn’t burn real clean because it’s still a little moist there,” said Barona Fire Chief Ken Kremensky.

Several minor injuries have been reported.  The cause was still under investigation.

A high wind warning is in effect for the mountains, foothills and valleys.

“It’s almost the exact same winds you saw yesterday,” NBC 7’s Meteorologist Jodi Kodesh said.

The soft breeze is going to pick up to 25 mph winds on average with gusts possibly reaching 50 mph in some of the valleys around the county, Kodesh said.

Temperatures are expected to range from the 90s along the coast to triple digits inland.

“Everyone should be cautious still,” said Capt. Jay Hausman with the San Bernardo County Fire Department. “It doesn’t take much to push something around.”

“Just because of the conditions that are out there now, I think everybody needs to be a little bit more alert as to what they’re doing and what they’re seeing out there.”

Stay connected with NBC 7's fire coverage by downloading our free app, following us on Twitter or liking our Facebook page.

Photo Credit: NBC 7

Men Charged in Stolen Check-Cashing Scheme


Three men suspected in a stolen check-cashing scene across the state of Connecticut have been arrested, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Langston Xavier Neal, 36, of Charlotte, North Carolina; Benjii Carr -- also known as Rodrick Lawon Davis -- 39, of New Haven and North Carolina; and Brandon Key Bentley, 30, of New Haven; were arrested on Tuesday. They are accused of stealing more than $100,000 while running a scheme from July 2010 to May 2011.

The indictment said the men somehow obtained stolen checks and altered the information on who the money would be paid to and recruiting “runners,” who would then cash the altered checks, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

Neal, Carr and Bentley are also accused of driving the runners to several Connecticut bank branches in Branford, Bristol, East Haven, Farmington, Hamden, Meriden, New Haven, Oxford, Seymour, Waterbury and Wolcott, where they cashed the checks and receive part of proceeds.

All three were charged with conspiring to commit bank fraud through a stolen check-cashing scheme and are detained. 

Watertown Police Are Searching for Suspect in Attacks


Watertown police are searching for a man who did not show up in court for two felony cases, including one for what police called an unprovoked attack in a 7-Eleven parking lot in Oakville last year.

Police are looking for Francis Dimaria, 22, and believe he is in the Watertown/Waterbury area.

Authorities urge anyone who sees him to call Watertown police at 860-945-5200 or Water-Oak Crimestoppers at 860-945-9940 and not to try to detain him.

The Oakville attack happened in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven at 118 Davis Street on March 30, 2013, police said. Three men were injured and two had broken jaws.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police

Connecticut Graduation Rates Increase


Connecticut high school graduation rates increased last school year for the fourth consecutive year.

Connecticut's statewide graduation average increased by 0.7 percent in 2013 over 2012 and his risen by 3.7 since 2010.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and Stefan Pryor, the state's commissioner of education, view that a a sign that many gaps in the state's graduation rates are closing.

"Four consecutive years of increases in the graduation rate is a great thing, one for which all of our teachers should be proud," Malloy said in a statement. "This combined with the fist-ever narrowing of our reading achievement gap is proof that when we invest in our children and our educators, we will achieve success. While we still have work to do, this is a clear sign that by equipping our schools and districts with additional resources, we are moving in the right direction."


The most significant graduation rate improvements were a 7.7 percent jump for English language learners, a 7.6 percent increase for students with disabilities and 5.3 percent for students on free and reduced lunch. 

The graduation rate gap between black and white students dropped by 4.3 percent to 21.5 percent, according to a news release. The gap between Hispanic and white students decreased by 3.5 percent to 14 percent. Gaps between "economically disadvantaged" students and affluent peers dropped by 4.5 percent to 17.5 percent.

“By focusing on our highest-need districts and partnering with our system’s stakeholders, we are closing Connecticut’s graduation gap and increasing our overall graduation rate,” Pryor said in a statement. “It’s critical that we enable more of our young people to complete high school — and to do so prepared for college, career, and life. When combined with our recent first-rate results on the national 12th-grade assessments, this increase in the graduation rate is a clear sign that our schools are making real progress. We thank our state’s teachers, administrators, parents and students for collaborating so successfully and making such strides. While we are proud of this accomplishment, we cannot rest on our laurels. Our graduation gaps are still too wide and much more work remains to be done. We must continue to work together in order to provide all our students, regardless of zip code or family wealth, with an education that readies them for lifelong success.”

The state of Connecticut has provided $125 million more in the past three years for Alliance District funding to 30 of the state's lowest-performing schools in efforts to improve them.

“Progress in closing the achievement gap and increasing graduation rates in our state is a testament to the commitment of teachers, paraprofessionals, and all public school employees to their students,” American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Connecticut President Melodie Peters said in a statement. “It’s particularly important to acknowledge their work toward achieving equity and equality in public education. These latest measurements demonstrate how, despite tough odds and significant challenges, teachers are reaching students with special needs, English language learners, and those facing economic disadvantages. Educators at every level deserve recognition and the utmost respect for their tireless efforts to make a difference in the lives of their students.”

Dr. Joseph Cirasuolo, executive director of Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), said in a statement that a "remarkably high percentage of the state’s prison population is composed of high school dropouts,” so the increase in graduation rate is a sign the state is doing "a better job of meeting our economic, social and moral obligation to our students.”

The full documentation analyzing graduation rates over the past four years is available on the state Department of Education's website .


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Car Burglary Suspects Had Child with Them: Police


Two  individuals suspected of burglarizing cars at the Groton Dog Park had a child with them at the time of the crime, police said.

Police stopped Jose J. Garcia, 39, and Sophia Torres, 37, from stealing from a car there, interrupting a Tuesday burglary while surveiling the area, police said. Officers and detectives began monitoring the dog park after numerous reports of larcenies in cars parked there. The park is on the Copp property along Gold Star Highway in Groton.

Garcia and Torres, who live together in New London, had a 5-year-old child with them during the burglary, police said. The child, who is directly related to Garcia, is currently in the care of other family members, police said.

Police charged Garcia with third-degree burglary and sixth-degree larceny and Torres with accessory to those crimes. Both also face a risk of injury to a minor charge because a child witnessed the crime.

Groton police are holding both suspects on $25,000 bonds until their Wednesday court appearance.

Waterford police also have a warrant out for Torres' arrest in an unrelated case, but police did not release details on the other charges.

The department cautions residents about where they store valuables in their cars.

"Always lock your car doors, and always store valuables out of site," Lt. John W. Varone, detective commander for the Groton Town Police Department, said in a press release.

N.Y. Times Replaces Executive Editor Jill Abramson


The New York Times' executive editor Jill Abramson is leaving the paper and will be replaced by its managing editor Dean Baquet, the Times said Wednesday.

Abramson, 60, had held her position since 2011 and was the first woman ever to hold the top editorial job in the paper's history. Baquet will become the paper's first black executive editor.

The Times' publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. informed senior editors Wednesday afternoon and the full newsroom soon after, around 2:30 p.m. ET.

The Times reported that the reasons for the switch weren't immediately clear. Politico's Dylan Byers reported that Sulzberger told staff that Abramson's exit had to do with "an issue with management in the newsroom."

Check back for updates.

9 Kids Treated After Bus Narrowly Avoids Crash


Nine elementary school students were treated for bumps and bruises after the school bus on which they were riding narrowly avoided an accident in Branford, fire officials said.

According to the fire department, the bus was traveling in the area of 869 West Main Street around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday when another car reportedly cut off the school bus and the driver had to slam on the brakes.

Emergency responders arrived on scene and treated nine of the children for minor injuries. None were taken to the hospital.

Officials from the Mary T. Murphy School, including the school principal and nurse, and the Board of Education reached out to parents of children on the bus. The students were taken home, fire officials said.

Branford police are investigating.

Photo Credit: Branford Fire Department

68-Year-Old Man Seriously Injured in Motorcycle Crash


A 68-year-old Weston man is in serious condition after he was struck by a car while driving his motorcycle in Westport around 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to police.

Westport police said William Pitt was traveling westbound on Long Lots Road near Burr School Road when a Nissan Altima made a left-hand turn and cut into his path. Pitt was thrown from his motorcycle and was lying in the roadway when emergency responders arrived on scene.

He was taken to Norwalk Hospital with serious injuries, police said.

The driver of the Nissan, 70-year-old Rosa Catterina, of Norwalk, was not injured. Police said she stayed at the scene after the crash.

Authorities are investigating the accident.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Motorcyclist, Bicyclist Injured in Storrs Crash


A bicyclist and motorcycle driver are in the hospital following a crash in Storrs on Wednesday afternoon.

State police said the collision happend around 3:20 p.m. Wednesday on Storrs Road near Timber Drive.

LifeStar was called to the scene and flew the bicyclist to Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford, according to the service.

The motorcycle driver was taken to Windham Hospital, police said.

The extent of their injuries is unknown.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Dallas Zoo's New Otter Pup Beats the Odds


The Dallas Zoo announced Tuesday the successful birth of a new Asian small-clawed otter pup who beat the odds to survive the first few months of her life.

Tasanee, a single otter pup, was born Jan. 25 but needed help from zookeepers to survive being a lone pup, according to the zoo.

Tasanee is the first female single pup to survive longer than 30 days.

Otters typically give birth to three or four pups at a time, and according to the zoo, the survival rate for single otter pups is extremely poor, "possibly due to their mother's insufficient milk production and lack of stimulation from littermates."

With her birth, Tasanee's mother, Daphne, became the oldest female otter in the national Species Survival Plan's breeding population to give birth. Her dad, Jimmy, was born at the Dallas Zoo in 2006.

Tasanee weighed a little over 2 ounces at birth and was about the size of a C battery, according to the zoo. Now she's a healthy 2.3 pounds and was introduced to the otters' outdoor habitat last week.

Tasanee means "beautiful view" in Thai, and you can see her in the Betty Moroney Norsworthy Otter Outpost.

More: Dallas Zoo on Facebook: Otter Pup 'Tasanee' Beats the Odds

Photo Credit: Dallas Zoo via Facebook
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