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Watertown Police Search for Missing Teen

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Watertown police are asking the public to help find 16-year-old Amanda Torpey, who went missing from the Oakville section of town July 2.

Torpey has brown hair and blue eyes. She stands 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 128 pounds. Police said she was last seen wearing gray sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt with “NYC” written across the front.

Family members last saw her Wednesday, July 2.

Police said they have received reports that Torpey might be with friends but have not substantiated those claims.

Anyone with information regarding her whereabouts is urged to call Watertown police at 860-945-5214 or 860-945-5218.



Photo Credit: Watertown Police Department

Milford Honors Therapy Dogs That Helped Grieving Students

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Milford is honoring the four-legged friends who helped local high school students in their time of need.

The mayor and other city leaders recognized canine first responders tonight in a show of appreciation for the dogs who comforted Jonathan Law High School students after the fatal stabbing of classmate Maren Sanchez.

Sanchez, 16, was stabbed to death by one of her peers in the high school stairwell on prom day in April.

City leaders said Milford is also considering expanding the program to include therapy dogs in all city schools.

The program, Charlotte's Litter, is sponsored by Newtown Kindness in honor of Sandy Hook shooting victim Charlotte Bacon.

Residents Speak out against Proposed Propane Facility

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 Hundreds turned out to try and stop a propane storage facility from moving into a Clinton neighborhood.

Residents say their safety is in jeopardy and this is the second time people told the town they don't want the facility here

They're concerned what if a high speed train crashes into a tank? What about a small plane. They are questions left unanswered Monday night.

"It's obviously a really big safety concern," said Katie McCollom, who is worried because this proposed facility where more than 500,000 gallons of propane would be stored would be steps from her Knolwood Drive home. It's where she lives with her two small children

"I'm against it being this close to residents and what that means not only for the marshland, the residents, the commercial industry in the area," McCollom added.

The area hotly protested Monday is the old Stanley Bostich plant. Hundreds packed a planning and zoning commission meeting for the second time to voice concerns about the propane unloading facility

"The residents of Clinton should not have to worry about this operation in their backyards," said Bruce Farmer of Clinton.

Joan Fabian, whose mother lives within eyesight of the plant, "I think industrial pollution is a Neanderthal step backwards."

The developer--Global Companies--tried to step forward in the process by answering some safety issues brought up last month. Safety experts addressed situations such as a truck colliding with a tank.

Doug Fountain was one of those experts who said "Yes it would move it, yes there's some possibility of breaking some pipework but you'd have automatic seal off of internal valves and there would be no breach of the tank."

Global Companies wants to bring propane in by rail to the plant and store it in 12 45,000 gallon tanks and then distribute it by truck

"Propane supply is actually quite inadequate to meet the growing demand of this critical product especially here in New England," said David Chu from Connecticut Energy Marketers Association. Global Companies is one of their clients.

But nearly everyone advocated against this Monday.

"We are a residential town on the shoreline. We're not Wallingford. We're not an industrialized town. We are a bedroom community," said Kathleen Skoczen of Clinton.

Town officials tell us there are a still a number of questions that safety experts need to look into including more on traffic in the area. As a result a third hearing will be in August.

Woman Accused of Killing Man at Branford Motel

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A 27-year-old Middletown woman will be charged in the death of a man who was found dead at the Branford Motel last week and police say she confessed to the crime.

Byron C. McDade, 41, of Deep River, died of "a traumatic injury to his neck" and his death was deemed a homicide, according to police. McDade's body was found in a motel room at 470 East Main Street in Branford late last Thursday.

Authorities have obtained an arrest warrant charging Lashanda Gregory, 27, of Main Street in Middletown, with murder, third-degree larceny and sixth-degree larceny.

Police said security footage captured Gregory and McDade together at a local business hours before the murder.

"Once we located her, our detectives obtained a confession, directly linking her to Mr. McDade's death," Det. Lt. Arthur Kohloff said in a statement Monday.

A housekeeper at the motel found McDade face down on the floor of his room, according to police. Hotel management said McDade was a regular customer.

The nature of the relationship between Gregory and McDade is unclear. Police referred to Gregory as McDade's "female companion."

Gregory is behind bars on unrelated charges. She's being held on $250,000 bond.

The medical examiner's office said the cause of McDade's death is "pending further studies."



Photo Credit: Middletown Police Department

Strong Storms Bring Down Trees in Western Connecticut

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Strong winds brought down trees from New Milford to Waterbury as thunderstorms ripped through western Connecticut on Monday night.

Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for Litchfield, New Haven and Fairfield counties until 8:45 p.m.

The National Weather Service said the storm cell was expected to bring heavy rain, damaging winds of up to 60 mph and hail the size of a quarter.

Trees are blocking roadways in the western part of the state, and some have fallen onto power lines.

Grove Street is closed in New Milford, along with Moran Street, Congress Avenue, Orange Street, Plank Road, Buckingham Street and Byam Road at Old Waterbury Road in Waterbury.

A resident of Baldwin Street in Waterbury said a tree sliced through the roof of her garage.

Trees also came down on Johnson Avenue in Cheshire and East Street in Wolcott.

More than 500 power outages were reported in Waterbury, Salisbury and Newtown, according to the Connecticut Light & Power outage map, along with 200 outages in New Milford, Brookfield and Litchfield, and more than 300 in Wolcott.

Although severe weather has moved out for now, more thunder and lightning is headed toward Fairfield County and southern Litchfield County from New York and Pennsylvania overnight.

We could see scattered storms through Wednesday as a slow-moving front heads our way, bringing high temperatures and thick humidity.

When you see severe weather, send photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com when you safely can.



Photo Credit: Heather and Jose Ramos

4 Hurt on Calif. Six Flags Ride

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A roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, remained closed Tuesday after a tree branch fell on the track partly derailing the train and leaving riders suspended about 40 feet above the ground for more than two hours Monday afternoon. 

Rescuers brought in heavy equipment to free 22 passengers, including four who suffered injuries, on the Ninja ride located on the side of a hill, Los Angeles County fire officials said.

Firefighters were called to the amusement park just before 6 p.m. after the branch fell across the tracks, slamming onto the front right corner of the first car. Aerial video showed fire-rescue personnel helping rider from the coaster, a process that did not end until about sunset.

Two riders were taken to the hospital to be checked out. One had neck pain and the other had knee pain, officials said. Another two were also transported for treatment.

All four people had been treated and released as of Tuesday morning, according to a statement by Six Flags Magic Mountain.

According to the Six Flags website, Ninja takes riders on a winding track at speeds of 55 mph. Riders hang from the track and are swung 90 degrees each way.

Ninja, which opened in 1988, is approximately 2,700 feet long. It holds 28 riders at a time.

"The safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority and as a precaution, the ride will remain closed until a thorough inspection of the area is complete," park officials said in a statement.

It is unclear how long the temporary closure will last.

Jane Yamamoto, Toni Guinyard and Samia Khan contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

NYPD Chopper Nearly Struck by Drone: Police

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Two men are accused of nearly striking an NYPD helicopter with a drone they were flying near the George Washington Bridge, police say.

The mid-air close call came after the NYPD chopper spotted the drone flying high near the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge early Tuesday. As the unmanned craft made its way back to the George Washington Bridge it came close to the helicopter, and the pilot had to veer off course to avoid being struck, police say.

After the miss, the helicopter followed the drone until it touched down at Fairview Avenue and Fort George Hill in Manhattan's Inwood area.

That’s when police say they found the two men, 23 and 34, along with a second drone.

The two men were both arrested in the landing zone. Both are charged with reckless endangerment. The drones were confiscated.



Photo Credit: AP

Structure Fire in Bethlehem

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 Firefighters are on scene at a fire at a house in Bethlehem.

Auncient Oak Road was blocked off at Todd Hill Road earlier Tuesday morning due to a structure fire at a home on the street, but the road has since reopened. 

More information will be provided when it becomes available. 



Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Main Street Reopens in Newington

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Main Street in Newington has reopened after a car struck a utility pole just before midnight Monday, according to police.

The road was closed overnight and into the afternoon. It reopened around 4 p.m., police said.

There has been no word on injuries.

More information will be provided when it becomes available. 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

"He's Been Just Frighteningly Abandoned”: Jailed Marine’s Mom Heads to Mexico

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The mother of a South Florida marine being held in a Mexican jail on weapons charges was headed to Mexico Tuesday to attend a hearing, where her son is expected to tell a judge his side of the story.

Jill Tahmooressi was flying to Tijuana Tuesday morning to attend the Wednesday hearing for son Andrew Tahmooressi, who is expected to give a statement to a judge to explain his arrest.

"I hope that the judge will consider it and discern the truth and release Andrew," Tahmooressi told reporters at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. "He's been just frighteningly abandoned for all these months and to have family present is definitely reassuring."


Andrew Tahmooressi, 25, was arrested April 1 after driving his black Ford pickup over the border at San Ysidro, California, into Tijuana. Family members said Tahmooressi, who was in possession of three U.S.-registered firearms, got lost near the border after dark and took a wrong turn into Mexico.

The Marine reservist, who is from Weston and has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, was in the San Diego area to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"He's holding out as best as he can but I will say his PTSD...has been exacerbated by this imprisonment, so he desperately needs to get back to America and continue on to his course of treatment, he is a current Marine," his mother said.


Jill Tahmooressi said she hopes the charges will be dropped at Wednesday's hearing.

"I'm hoping I don't take the flight Thursday night, I'm hoping I take it Wednesday night with Andrew. So I'm hoping that the judge will just dismiss the charges for what it is, an accidental entry, no intention to be on Mexico soil with his U.S. legally purchased firearms," she said. "If I come back alone on Thursday, my flight, it's gonna be devastating."

Tahmooressi has gained the support of Florida elected officials, including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sen. Marco Rubio. His family has also started a White House petition asking for his release.


"I'm hoping for the best but planning for the worst," Jill Tahmooressi said.



Photo Credit: Facebook.com/freeusmctahmooressifrommexicanjail

Fire Displaces 8 Adults on Whalley Avenue in New Haven

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Eight people have been displaced by a two-alarm fire on Whalley Avenue in New Haven on Tuesday, according to the Red Cross.

The Red Cross said the organization is providing eight adults with emergency housing arrangements. The fire broke out early Tuesday, closing Whalley Avenue for several hours while firefighters battled the flames.

Six people living in the home made it out safely. One was taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation, according to fire officials at the scene.

Firefighters said the flames reportedly brooke out on a couch on the rear porch.



Photo Credit: Alysha Pitcher

Hamilton Street in Hartford to Close Next Week

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Hamilton Street in Hartford will be closed due to railroad tracks construction July 14 to 18. 

The Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that the road will be closed between Francis Avenue and Bartholomew Avenue for five days, starting on Monday, July 14 at 7 a.m.

The project, which is tied to the state's construction of CTfastrak, involves replacing Amtrak railroad tracks that cross the street.

CTfastrak is a "new bus rapid transit system" that will span 9.4 miles and connect Hartford to New Britain on a traffic-free route that bypasses Interstate 84. More information is available on the CTfastrak website

More information is available on the state DOT website

 

Crews Extinguish Fire at Apartment Building

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A fire broke out in a home in the Terryville section of Plymouth Tuesday morning. 

Firefighters have put out the structure fire that started on the first floor of 3 North Main Street, a four-family apartment building . The blaze started just after 7 a.m. It caused heavy fire damage.

 No injuries have been reported. 

Mutual aid from neighboring fire departments was needed to fight the fire and to rotate firefighters in and out of the building due to the heat.

The fire marshal is en route to investigate the fire.

More information will be provided when it becomes available. 

 



Photo Credit: @JAG3686

State Police Warn of Hot Car Dangers to Children

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Leaving children in hot cars during the summer poses dangerous risks and sometimes has fatal consequences, state police cautioned motorists Tuesday.

State police sent out the news release hours before Ridgefield police confirmed that a 15-month old died in the town after being left in a hot car Monday, marking the fourth case of a child being left in a hot car in recent weeks and the first fatality.

Temperatures can reach the triple digits in a car during the summer, police said.

"Studies on thermal injury to children show that 'dry heat' temperatures, within a closed vehicle, can become dangerous to small children and infants in only minutes," state police said in a statement. "A high level of humidity can reduce that time by one half."

Parents and guardians should not leave children in unattended locked cars or allow children to play unsupervised near an unlocked vehicle or trunk, particularly in the humid weather, state police said. According to state statutes, leaving a child under 12 years old alone in a motor vehicle "may result in a felony charge," state police said.

State police remind motorists to lock their vehicles and to check the front and back seats before doing so and walking away from a vehicle. 

Connecticut has already experienced extreme heat and those high temperatures are likely to continue throughout the week, according to police.

NBC tested how long it would take for a car to reach 110 degrees and it took about 41 minutes. 

"This type of weather should serve as a reminder that all parents, guardians, day care providers and babysitters should be educated about the severe dangers involved in leaving children in cars," State Police said. 

Fifteen children have died in hot cars to date across the United States, police said. Forty-four children died nationwide last year because of heat-related deaths in cars. More than 500 children in the country died from hyperthermia from being in a hot car since 1998. Those statistics include babies, toddlers and children left alone in cars and others who were playing in cars.

State police ask anyone who observes a child alone in a hot car to call 911 because it is considered an emergency. 

"You may help save a life," State Police said. 

Body Found in New Haven Backyard on 4th of July

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Police and EMTs were called to a home on Plymouth Street in New Haven after a resident found a dead body in the backyard.

Emergency responders arrived at 81-83 Plymouth Street just after 7 p.m. Friday and pronounced the man dead at the scene. None of the residents knew who he was and he didn’t have any identification on his person, police said. No one at a nearby safe house or halfway house could identify him either.

He was wearing a bathing suit and tank top and showed no obvious signs of physical injury. His body was taken to the Office of the State Medical Examiner, which revealed the cause of death to be heart disease, according to police.

Detectives took his finger prints and identified him as 52-year-old Frances McGuire. His last known address was in West Haven.

It’s not clear how McGuire got to the Plymouth Street backyard or why he was there.

Police Arrest Man Accused of Knocking Novelist Unconscious

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An Oxford man turned himself in to police Monday evening, confessing to assaulting a New York author outside Study Hotel in New Haven last week who tried to help the man's wife during a dispute, police said.

Michael Mott, 35, of Oxford, punched novelist Colum McCann, 49, so hard on June 28 that he lost consciousness and was hospitalized at Yale-New Haven Hospital to be treated for significant facial injuries, police confirmed. Mott admitted to the crime, but declined to give further details, police said.

Police and EMTs responded to the Study Hotel at 1157 Chapel Street in New Haven at 10:16 p.m. that night after receiving reports of an assault. McCann spoke with detectives after he was released from the hospital.

Mott followed McCann outside of the hotel after he tried to intervene in a dispute between Mott and his wife in the lobby, police said. The couple had checked in earlier and when they returned from having drinks out, hotel staff informed them that Mott's credit card didn't  have "sufficient funds to pay for the room," police said. McCann had asked the woman if she needed help and she declined the offer prior to being assaulted outside.

New Haven Police Chief Dean M. Esserman said that the incident "was a particularly disturbing case because [McCann] was specifically targeted after he tried helping another victim."

Police charged Mott with second-degree breach of peace due to the reported altercation with his wife and second-degree assault in connection due to the attack on McCann, police said. 

Esserman thanked Yale University police and the public for their assistance and his officers and detectives for their work on the case. 

Irish-born writer McCann is a past Oscar nominee and National Book Award winner who has written six novels, including one that he and J.J. Abrams are adapting to a movie, according to his Web site. He lives with his wife and kids in New York, where he teaches in Hunter College's creative writing MFA program. 



Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Potato Salad Kickstarter Nets $50K

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The world's most expensive potato salad is taking over Kickstarter, but some of the people paying for it won't even get a taste.

A Columbus, Ohio, man has raised more than $60,000 on the popular fund-raising site to make his first potato salad. Donations are still pouring in.

The man, who goes by Zack "Danger" Brown, was originally asking for just $10.

His campaign started out as a spoof of the fund-raising site, which is otherwise full of earnest attempts to raise money for good causes and business start-ups. Brown's silly idea quickly went viral and amused people enough to get them to part with their money.

Slate reported that Brown has not said what he will do with the excess funds, and they suggested a local food bank. However Gawker pointed out that donating the money to a charity would violate Kickstarter's terms, so for now it's just a lot of potato salad.

Brown started with just one statement to capture the imagination.

"Basically I'm just making potato salad. I haven't decided what kind yet," he said on the campaign page.

The reason that people have been so excited to help Brown remain unclear, but at least some of them will get something in return. Kickstarter allows campaigns to offer supporters a reward for their donations, depending on the amount they pledge.

If backers want to taste the salad they will have to fork over at least $3 for a bite. Brown is going to have to do more than double the recipe though, as more than 4,000 people have chipped in so far.

Pledging a little more, $5, will earn users the chance to add an ingredient. For $10, donors can receive a potato-themed haiku. For $50, donors can receive a book of "potato salads of the world."

Currently 66 people have pledged the latter, and they'll reportedly also receive a bite of the salad.

Similar campaigns have already popped up, including one for fudge, one for coleslaw and one for a cup of tea. None of these campaigns are experiencing the runaway success that Brown has.

Yesterday The Washington Post reported that by that time Brown had raised $40,000, which was then lowered to $15,000. Kickstarter explained that this was due to "ghost pledges," or people accidentally adding digits to their pledge and spending more than they intended. Administrators lowered the total to reflect only intended pledges, so it is possible Brown's current bounty could again be adjusted.

Brown is posting regular updates to his campaign as the improbable total soars. He currently says that he will rent a party hall for a pizza party (without potato salad) and invite any benefactors who pledged more than $10. That was for the lofty goal of $3,000, which he has more than surpassed.

Brown also claims that he will film himself making the salad and that all backers will be thanked online and in the video. Thanks to donations from around the globe, Brown promises he is "working with people right now to assess the feasibility of sending potato salad around the world."

But buyer beware: Brown's campaign comes with a warning.

"It might not be that good," he said. "It's my first potato salad."



Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Crews Work on Water Problem in New Haven County

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The electrical failure of a water pump Tuesday morning has caused low water pressure and discolored water in Branford, East Haven and eastern New Haven, according to the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority.

The pumps supply water to Lake Saltonstall Water Treatment Plant. 

Water authority crews have been working throughout the day on "operational changes" to keep the water supply coming and plan on working overnight to resolve the water pressure issues. 

Crews reversed the water flow so that water could be supplied from other sources, stirring up sediment in the pipe that is leading to tinted water, according to a news release from the water authority. 

The water authority advises residents to drink bottled water if they notice an issue or to put the water in a pitcher and let the sediment fall to the bottom so they can drink the clear water on top. The water authority also recommends holding off on laundry, especially light-colored clothes, until the problem is resolved.

There is no estimate at this time as to when the water issue will be cleared up, but the water authority plans on issuing another update at 9 a.m. on July 9. 

Police Nab Branford Burglary Suspects

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Authorities have arrested a suspected burglar and his getaway driver after a Branford resident saw them carrying stolen computer equipment to a waiting car and called police.

Michael Bianchi, 28, of New Haven, is accused of breaking into a home on Featherbed Lane in Branford. Police said the homeowner returned around 6:30 p.m. Monday to find her front door had been forced open.

While police were investigating at the home, a neighbor called to report a suspicious person carrying electronics out to a parked car. The neighbor was able to provide a description of the car and part of the license plate. He also described the suspect and driver.

Police looked up the car in a registration database and located it outside a motel on East Main Street. There they confronted the suspects, who admitted to the burglary, police said.

Bianchi was charged with third-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, fourth-degree larceny and conspiracy to commit fourth-degree larceny.

Jack Butler, 23, of Branford, who reportedly owned and drove the getaway car, was charged with conspiracy to commit third-degree burglary and conspiracy to commit third-degree larceny.

Both were held on $10,000 bonds and appeared in court this morning.



Photo Credit: Branford Police Department

Waterbury Man Tries to Stab Bouncer: Police

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A Waterbury man was arrested this past Friday after reportedly attempting to stab a bouncer with a steak knife at a downtown bar.

A bouncer at the Prestige Bar on East Main Street told authorities that 52-year-old John Iorio tried to stab him after he showed up intoxicated and wasn't allowed in.

The bouncer dodged Iorio's attack and nobody else was hurt, although Iorio allegedly stabbed at a passing truck before he left, according to police.

City police arrived on scene to investigate and said they found Iorio on Maple Street with a wooden-handed steak knife in his possession.

Iorio was arrested and charged with carrying a dangerous weapon, first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree threatening and breach of peace. He is currently being held on $10,000 bond.



Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department
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