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Newington Residents Fight Construction at Town Park


Signs, shirts and social media are just the beginning – Newington residents are doing everything they can to protect a piece of Mill Pond Park from a $30 million project to build a town hall and community center.

For many, the biggest concern is the destruction of open space. The plan is for the center to go up on the site of two soccer fields.

“It just feels wrong inside to do that, to take away from nature,” said Newington resident Stacy Partlow.

Partlow has taken her fight to Facebook. The page “Save Mill Pond Park” has more than 1,100 members. Partlow is seen asking members to post their park wedding photos or images from a favorite trip.

“I just want them to realize why they love that park,” she said.

But Deputy Mayor Clarke Castelle welcomes new construction. By removing and replacing “ugly and obsolete structures,” he said, more space will actually be created.

“My position is that, inevitably, we will have more good improved dedicated open space even though we use this corner of the park,” said Castelle.

Space is not the only concern. Jason Webster lives right next to Mill Pond Park and wonders why the town doesn’t fix what already exists rather than building something new.

“I think they should renovate what they have and save some money,” said Webster.

But Castelle said that idea isn’t practical. He said the area of the park is in the worst shape and the cost to renovate on site would be nearly as much as the cost to build a much better center.

Renovations would also cancel a year or more of recreational activities from summer camp to winter sports, Castelle said.

When it comes to financing the project, Castelle said taxpayers aren’t on the hook. He did say there's a chance other projects may be deferred, but that “the mother of all deferrals has been town hall and the community center.”

“They are very quickly becoming unusable,” said Castelle, “and by unusable I mean it could happen tomorrow.”

The project is up for a vote during a Sept. 9 referendum. Until that day, critics say they will continue their fight.

Ridgefield Mom Raises Awareness of Heatstroke in Kids


The mother of a Ridgefield boy who died after being left in a hot car has started a blog to raise awareness of heatstroke in children and help others avoid the tragedy she suffered.

Lindsay Rogers-Seitz told the Associated Press that she forgives her husband for leaving 15-month-old Benjamin in the car while he went to work at Owl Technologies on July 7, resulting in the child’s death.

The boy’s father, Kyle Seitz, was supposed to bring Ben to daycare before going to work, but that didn't happen. According to Lindsay, at the end of the day, Kyle went to the daycare to pick up Ben, but when he learned Ben wasn't there, he asked the staff at the daycare if his wife had picked him up earlier in the day.  He was told she had not, and so he went back to his car, found Ben and then rushed him to the hospital, Rogers-Seitz said.

“The profound grief and trauma that we were going through was something we could never verbalize,” Rogers-Seitz explained. “How do I live the rest of my life? Do I just break down right now in hysterics, and just not live?”

She decided to channel her grief into activism, and now the couple is spreading the word about hyperthermia in children.

“One night we were sitting together and [Kyle Seitz] said, ‘You know, Lindsay, I just can’t let another family feel this pain,’” Rogers-Seitz recalled.

Rogers-Seitz sprang into action, creating a Web site, titled “The Gift of Ben,” to share her son’s story and help educate other parents.

“A week after the tragic death of my 15-month-old son on July 7, 2014, I began researching – everything and anything – and thinking,” Rogers- Seitz writes.

It was a timely decision – today is National Heatstroke Prevention Day.

“The Gift of Ben” presents facts and figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, including frightening statistics about the prevalence of heat stroke in children.

According to the NHTSA, hyperthermia is the leading cause of non-crash-related death in children under the age of 15. Rogers-Seitz says 111 children have died in hot cars over the past three years.

“This isn’t an anomaly,” Rogers-Seitz said. “It’s something that has been happening.”

She proposed roundtable talks to generate conversation and explore “ideas of how we can potentially move forward and work together and find solutions,” including conversations with car seat companies, child safety advocates, academics, health and medical professionals and other families who have been affected.

Rogers-Seitz said one of the biggest mistakes parents can make is to believe it will never happen to them. She admitted she doesn’t know yet how to find a solution, but the first step is to talk about it.

“I challenge manufacturers, agencies and politicians to get together with other interested parties, including victims and psychologists, and let's figure this out,” she wrote.

In the meantime, she said, make a habit of double checking your car before you walk away, and place valuable items in the back seat with your child. Teach kids that cars are not for playing and store keys out of their reach. Ask your child’s school or daycare to call right away if he or she doesn’t show up on time.

Rogers-Seitz also launched a blog Wednesday – a more delicate and personal forum.

“Lying in bed last night, I began realizing what an integral role the press has in deciding what ‘the story’ will be. The truth is that there is a bigger picture out there – an ongoing political and intellectual debate about the history of these effort to elicit change and how to go about it in the future,” she wrote in her first post.

“I ask that we move beyond the sensationalization of the events of July 7th to deal with the real issues at hand – that will continue to affect hundreds of more children in the future if nothing is done," she added.

Rogers-Seitz is standing by her husband of 12 years and said the two are taking comfort in each other’s support.

“We can deal with it together, and we’re finding peace in that,” Rogers-Seitz said.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Rogers-Seitz

Workers Balk at Market Basket Hires


Whether it's for real or just a psychological warfare stunt by the new Market Basket leadership is far from clear, but full-page newspaper ads by the supermarket chain's co-CEOs promoting a three-day job fair for replacement workers provoked a range of reactions Thursday from protesting workers.

"Good luck trying to fill all our jobs! They don't know what we do in there," said Linda Kulis, who works in accounts receivable in the Tewksbury, Massachusetts, headquarters.

"I just started laughing and said, 'This is a joke,'" said Mike Feather, an 18-year company veteran who works in its New Bedford store.

"They've fired people, they've tried to scare people, and I think that's more of what this is: Scare tactics," said Chris Dick, director of the Salem, New Hampshire, Market Basket.

They're among thousands of Market Basket employees who have been protesting for two weeks and urging customers to boycott the 71 stores until Arthur T. Demoulas, fired June 23, is reinstated as CEO.

In the ad, new co-CEOs Jim Gooch and Felicia Thornton said the first two days of the job fair, to be held in Andover, will be for current employees looking to apply for higher-up positions.

"I don't think there will be any Market Basket associates that are going to be willing to step up and work for this regime," Dick said.

Thornton and Gooch released a statement defending the job fair In a statement shortly before 5 p.m.

"We have said several times that we hope sincerely that we do not discharge any employees. We want our associates back," they said. "We are focused solely on getting Market Basket stores back up and running for our customers and, importantly, for the many local vendors that rely on Market Basket to make their own businesses successful for the sake of their employees."

Photo Credit: AP

Missing Waterford Teen Home Safe


Sixteen-year-old Amy Torpey, who went missing from the Oakville section of Watertown earlier this month, is home safe, according to police.

Torpey was reported missing Wednesday, July 2. Police said she returned home on her own Thursday, but didn't elaborate on the circumstances.

Shortly after Torpey's disappearance, Watertown police said they had received reports that the teen may have been with friends.

Torpey has brown hair and blue eyes. She stands 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 128 pounds, according to police.

Police said she was wearing gray sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt with “NYC” written across the front when she went missing.

Photo Credit: Watertown Police Department

Cosplayer Fell, Wasn't Attacked: PD


A teen Comic-Con cosplayer initially thought to have been brutally assaulted is now believed to have suffered her head injuries in a fall, police said Thursday.

Harbor police said in a news release issued Thursday afternoon that the 17-year-old Riverside County girl in town for Comic-Con was not the victim of a sexual assault or beating, as earlier thought, but rather suffered head injuries after falling six feet.

Police said the girl was climbing a gate at the Marriott Hotel after an altercation with an older man. That’s when she fell and was found at 1 a.m. Sunday near the pool at the hotel on Harbor Drive, near the San Diego Convention Center.

Since the incident, police have had difficulty piecing together the circumstances because the girl did not remember what happened. She was under the influence of drugs, police said.

The case attracted widespread online attention – first by bloggers questioning whether an assault of the girl was a hoax – and then by mainstream media, including national news outlets. Photos of her dressed as a Roger Rabbit cosplayer, or dressed in character, were widely circulated online.

Harbor police said because of this widespread attention they investigated the case extensively, including reviewing footage from multiple surveillance cameras and by questioning Comic-Con attendees

“Her injuries and physical evidence at the scene were consistent with a fall,” the news release said.

The girl suffered several brain bleeds and is still recovering, her family has said

A 29-year-old man, Justin Kalior, whom the girl got into a fight with before her fall, was arrested on unrelated allegations of having sexual contact with a minor and providing her alcohol. He will not face any other charges, police said.

Photo Credit: Garrett Ng

Man Rapes Hartford Woman in Front of Her Grandchild: Courant


A 41-year-old man who court records show has had numerous run-ins with the law is facing charges after allegedly raping a woman in front of her 1-year-old grandchild in Hartford, according to police and The Hartford Courant.

Charles Williams was arrested July 29 and charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault and risk of injury to a child. Court records show the incident happened Feb. 14.

“Mr. Williams is well known to our Domestic Violence Unit,” said Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley. “This is an important arrest.”

The Courant reports that Williams showed up at the victim’s house while she was babysitting. The victim allegedly told police she knew Williams and let him in because she was afraid.

According to The Courant, William threatened the victim and her family, then raped her when she refused to have sex with him. The victim’s grandchild was in the room at the time, The Courant reports.

He was held on $300,000 bond and is due back in court Aug. 12.

Court records show Williams has an extensive criminal record, including prior convictions in Hartford for third-degree assault, disorderly conduct, interfering with an officer, violation of probation and failure to appear.

Information on an attorney for Williams was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Shots Fired in New Haven, Police Investigating


Police are investigating after several gunshots were fired on Kensington Street in New Haven early Friday morning.

Officers said it doesn’t appear anyone was hit and they found a gun in a trash can nearby.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Tries to Get Away from Police on Dirt Bike: Cops


A man wanted in connection with a crash tried to get away from Plainfield police on a dirt bike and rode right into the side of a police cruiser, according to police. When the man again tried to get away, police shot him with a stun gun.

Doug Phillips, 40, is suspected of hitting a van full of young children who were returning from a day at the beach on July 8 at Plainfield Pike and Stark Weather Road, according to police. He was driving a stolen car at the time.  

Police received a tip at 3:46 p.m. on Thursday that Phillips was on a red dirt bike at Moosup Gardens Apartment on River Street in the Moosup village of Plainfield and went to investigate.

Phillips had left the area by the time officers arrived, but they soon found him on High Street and tried to stop him.

He didn't stop and tried to get away by driving up on lawns and cutting down side streets, but lost control of his dirt bike on a Milner Avenue lawn and slid into the side of a police cruiser, police said.

He ran, but police shot him with a Taser. Then medical crews transported him to the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich to be treated for minor injuries. 

The four outstanding arrest warrants for Phillips are for felony failure to appear in the first degree, and three warrants for failure to appear in the second degree. 

Phillips was also charged with reckless driving, operating under suspension, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, engaging an officer in a Pursuit and interfering with an officer.

He was held on a $250,000 bond. Police said new charges pending. He will be arraigned at the Danielson Superior Court on Aug. 1.


Photo Credit: Plainfield Police

Del Mar Racetrack Suspends Turf Racing After Horse Injury


Del Mar racetrack officials have suspended turf races after another horse was seriously injured Thursday, bringing the total of race-related, equine injuries to eight since the season's start.

During the seventh race of the day, a filly named "Serious" was badly hurt while sprinting on the turf.

It's unclear what kind of injuries the horse sustained, but the animal will be taken from Del Mar to Los Alamitos, the home base of its trainer and owner. 

In response to the incident, Del Mar officials have canceled turf racing for the next three days as crews perform more maintenance on the track. 

They hope to return to regular racing on Wednesday.

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club began making changes to its new turf Sunday after seven horses were euthanized due to race-related injuries in just the first ten days of the season. 

Four of those deaths have been after falls on the new turf.

Another horse died after a morning workout on Opening Day, July 17. 

Officials say a number of elements factor into a race horse's injury -- not just the type of track -- but adjustments like extra watering and aerating the grass are being made. 

Officials also moved the inner rail 18 feet so horses wouldn't be running on as many divots and holes in the turf.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

East Granby Man Charged With Sex Assault of Teen


An East Granby man was arrested in Winchester early Sunday morning, accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

A Winchester police officer was conducting a patrol check of Ledgebrook Plaza at 200 New Hartford Road just after 1:30 a.m. on July 27 and found James Tardif, 25, with a 15-year-old girl in a secluded area of a parking lot early Sunday morning.

Tardif was arrested, charged with second-degree sexual assault, furnishing liquor to a minor and risk of injury to a minor.

He was released on a $5,000 bond and is due in Bantam Superior Court. 

Photo Credit: Winchester Police

East Haven Town Employee Says Mayor Sexually Harassed Her


An East Haven town employee has filed a complaint against Mayor Joseph Maturo claiming that he sexually harassed her at work "continuously for years."

According to the complaint filed on behalf of Department of Housing and Urban Renewal secretary Francine Carbone, Maturo allegedly made inappropriate comments about the size of her breasts, would grab his crotch in front of her and once exposed his genitals and made a sexual remark while she was bending over.

“I was subjected to a hostile environment based on my sex, consisting of ongoing sexual harassment by the Mayor, continuously for years to and including May 5, 2014,” when she went on leave, Carbone alleges in the complaint.

According to the complaint, which is dated July 14, Carbone has worked for the town since January 1997.

Carbone also said the police chief had a conversation with Maturo about sexual harassment, but the mayor's behavior did not change, the complaint alleges.

“Mayor Maturo’s constant sexual harassment has made my working conditions intolerable and has caused me to suffer severe emotional distress,” Carbone says in the complaint.

The state Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities forwarded the complaint to Maturo’s office on July 28 and notified the mayor that he has 30 days to respond in writing.

Maturo called the allegations "unmerited and false," in a statement issued Thursday. He described Carbone as "a disgruntled employee who was on the verge of being terminated" and suggested that that may have motivated her complaint. He said he would defer to lawyers rather than comment further on the suit.

"Most importantly, I wish to assure the residents of East Haven that my team and I will not allow this matter to deter or distract us from efficiently managing the day-to-day business of the town," he added.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Shot at Ex-Girlfriend Twice: Cops


New Haven police arrested a man who is accused of shooting at his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend twice last Friday.

Officers were conducting a motor vehicle stop on Grand Avenue near Blatchley Avenue when someone approached them and said gunshots had been fired on Chapel Street.

Police excused the driver, 27-year-old Luis Rivera, but would later identify him as the suspected shooter.

Witnesses told officers they saw a gray Nissan Altima and a gray Nissan Sentra at the scene where shots were fired and investigators found a spent bullet casing from the scene.

Officers later found a Sentra with significant damage at the Bella Vista apartments on Eastern Street and said it matched reports of the car that had struck a Saturn on Blatchley Avenue.

A 23-year-old New Haven woman and her boyfriend were in the car and she told officers she hit the Saturn while she was trying to get away from her “extremely jealous” ex-boyfriend, police said.

Rivera had seen them in the area of River and Lloyd Streets, shot at them and drove off, but then chased after them and fired at them again on Saltonstall Avenue, according to police.

Neither the woman nor her boyfriend were injured.

Police found Rivera on Wednesday and charged with two counts of criminal attempt to commit assault in the first degree, carrying a pistol without a permit, criminal possession of a pistol and violation of a restraining order.

Bond was set at $300,000.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Facebook Goes Down for Many Users


Facebook was down on Friday for many users, who received an error message instead of access to the social networking service.

“Sorry, something went wrong,” the message on Facebook said. “We’re working on getting this fixed as soon as we can."

The hashtag FacebookDown was trending on Twitter.

Facebook now says service is back.

"Earlier this morning, some people had trouble accessing Facebook for a short time," the company said in a statement. "We quickly investigated and have fully restored service for everyone. We're sorry for the inconvenience."

It was the second recent outage. Facebook went down in June in a disruption that appeared to stretch across the world as users from the United Kingdom to India reported no service. In that instance, service came back for some in less than an hour.

Facebook said it had 1.32 billion users worldwide as of the end of June.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

Woman Wiped Out Landlord’s Bank Account, Stole from Library: Cops


A Norwich woman has been arrested, accused of wiping out her landlord’s bank account and stealing a Kindle from the local library.

A Monroe resident, who rented an apartment to Vanessa Renda, 39, contacted police on April 12 after his bank contacted him to tell him his account was overdrawn, according to police.

Investigators determined that Renda had taken several checks from the man’s checkbook without his knowledge, forged his signature and cashed them at a local bank, police said.

Then on June 7, the library director for the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library in Monroe reported that Renda had signed out a Kindle Fire in March 2013 and had not returned it, even after several emails and a certified letter were sent, according to police.

Monroe police picked Renda up on Wednesday at the Derby Superior Court, where Judicial Marshals were holding her on two warrants.

She was charged with larceny in the fifth degree, criminal attempt at larceny in the sixth degree and forgery in the third degree for the first case and sixth-degree larceny for the Kindle case.

Bond was set at $6,000.

Photo Credit: Monroe Police

Police Warn of Car Break-Ins in New London


New London Police are issuing a warning after receiving several complaints of cars being burglarized between the night of July 30 and the early morning hours of July 31.

The thefts were south of Willetts Avenue and police received reports from Chapel Drive, Pequot Avenue, Gardner Circle and Crocker Street.

Most of the cars were unlocked.

Police are reminding residents to lock their car doors and remove or hide valuable items. Call police if you see a suspicious person in the area at 860-447-5269.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Norwalk Man Threatened Family: Police


Norwalk police arrested a man who they said threatened his family and barricaded himself in his home on Thursday.

Police received a 911 call just before 10:30 p.m. about a man who barricaded himself in a bedroom on Bonnybrook Road and might have a gun, police said.

Based on the 911 call, police determined that Richard Dipasquale, 54, threatened to kill the family during an argument with his wife, went into a bedroom and placed furniture in front of the door so no one could enter, police said.

Police went into the home and DiPasquale surrendered. He was then brought to Norwalk Hospital to be evaluated, police said.
DiPasquale was charged with threatening and breach of peace.

He was released at the hospital on a promise to appear and was due in court date on Friday.


Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Suspect Had Drugs, Scale and Cash in Car: Cops


Milford police arrested a Shelton man after finding marijuana, a scale and a significant amount of cash in his car, police said.

Police made the arrest after members of the narcotics and vice unit saw what they called suspicious activity inside a vehicle parked at Walnut Beach around 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Police and Cedar, a drug detection K9, found 103 grams of marijuana, weighing scales, packaging materials and a large amount of cash inside the vehicle.

Jan Kamyszek, 21, was charged with possession of marijuana, sale of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $2,500.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

North Haven Caregiver Stole from Client: Police


North Haven police have arrested a caregiver who is accused of stealing money from his elderly client.

Joseph DelGardo, 52, of Stratford is accused of using his elderly client’s checking account information and using it to pay his own bills over the phone, police said.

He is due in Meriden Superior Court on Aug. 7.

New Britain "Tennis Shoe Murder" Suspect Acquitted


The Meriden man accused of gunning down a New Britain teen last summer in a case known as "The Tennis Shoe Murder" was acquitted Friday and walked free after 13 months in prison.

Jonathan Gibbs, 27, was arrested in June 2013 and pleaded not guilty in May of this year. He was cleared of murder charges in court Aug. 1.

"It's like a dream," Gibbs said after jurors reached the not-guilty verdict. "I still can't believe I'm here."

Gibbs was tried in the fatal shooting 18-year-old Issaac Smith on June 16, 2013. Smith was shot after allegedly tried to run off with a pair of sneakers Gibbs had posted for sale on Facebook.

A jury returned its verdict around noon after “finding [Gibbs’] sworn confession and videotaped statement that he fired the gun inadequate for a conviction,” according to a release from the public relations firm representing Gibbs' attorney.

“This is a textbook example of why no one should go to the police without a lawyer,” Gibbs’ attorney, Norm Pattis, said in a statement Friday. “The cops got this kid to confess to something he didn’t do and we are grateful to the 12 courageous jurors who set him free.”

Gibbs told jurors he didn't shoot Smith and confessed he was covering for his uncle, who he says fired the fatal shot.

"There are no winners in a murder case," Pattis said outside court. "I just want to thank the jury that set Mr. Gibbs free. It took a lot of courage to do that and we're very, very grateful to them."

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department

Several Injured in Wethersfield Motorcycle Crash


Several people were taken to local hospitals after a serious motorcycle crash that closed part of Route 15 in Wethersfield for around six hours, according to state police.

Four motorcycles were involved in a crash near Maple Avenue just after midnight and the northbound side of the road was closed.

Three of the motorcycles were totaled, according to the accident information state police released.

State police identified the people involved in the crash as Devin Marques, 22, of Hartford; Jonathan Garcia, 27, of East Hartford; Lyzmarie Martinez, 20, of East Hartford; and Luis Vazquez, 23, of East Hartford.

Investigators and the accident reconstruction team responded and police were working to get the road reopened before the heaviest part of the morning commute. The road reopened around 6 a.m.

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information about the crash to call Trooper Michael Quagliaroli at 860-534-1000, extension 6014.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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