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DEEP Employee Sexually Assaulted After Work: Officials


The state Department of Environmental Protection is stepping up security at his headquarters in Hartford after a 24-year-old seasonal employee was sexually assaulted while walking to her car after work Monday afternoon, according to Hartford police and the DEEP.

Police have arrested 26-year-old Allen Oakes, a convicted felon who has been on probation and lives in a halfway house on Collins Street in Hartford. He's charged with first-degree sexual assault and second-degree breach of peace.

According to the incident report, Oakes had been smoking K2, a synthetic form of marijuana, at the bus stop at Constitution Plaza when he began to wander through the downtown area around 2 p.m. Monday.

Oakes told police he sat down outside 10 Clinton Street, which once housed the Connecticut Department of Health laboratory, now located in Rocky Hill, the report says.

The victim, who was going to retrieve her car from a state employee lot on Capitol Avenue, had just finished her last day with the DEEP on Elm Street and cut through lab property on her way to the parking lot, according to the incident report.

She was passing a church when she was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground, the report says. The victim told police she was raped and started screaming, then elbowed Oakes in the face.

He ran off in the direction of Bushnell Park, where he was chased and tackled by two of the victim's coworkers, including an environmental conservation officer, a fellow employee said. One of them held him down until police arrived, according to the incident report.

Oakes gave a different account of the incident. He told police he noticed a beautiful woman walk by while he was sitting outside the lab and heard voices in his head telling him to grab her. According to the incident report, Oakes said he squeezed her buttocks and took off running when she yelled.

The victim, who was distraught and visibly shaken up, was taken to Saint Francis Hospital for medical treatment, the report says.

The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection sent a letter to its employees Tuesday in the wake of the incident, informing them of what had transpired and offering security escorts to and from employee parking lots.

“In the meantime, continue to be cautious concerning your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to security personnel or law enforcement,” the letter says.

Hartford police and the Department of Administrative Services, which is responsible for security at DEEP headquarters and state employee parking lots, are conducting separate investigations into the attack.

Oak’s bond was set at $100,000. Police say he has an extensive criminal history spanning several towns. Court records for an Allen Oakes born in 1987 show convictions out of New Britain, Enfield and Manchester.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

Police Investigate Life-Threatening Shooting


Police are investigating on Sigorney Street in Hartford.

One person was shot outside 363 Sigorney Street and is suffering from life-threatening injuries, according to police

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Lane Reopened After Rollover Crash on I-91


The rollover crash on Interstate 91 North in Windsor has been cleared.

The right I-91 northbound lane was closed briefly near exit 40 due to the crash.

There were minor injuries.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.


Photo Credit: CT DOT

Infant Found Dead in Trash Can: Police


An infant has been found dead in a trash can in East Hartford, according to police.

Police responded to a home at 1047 Tolland Street at about 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday after a receiving a report that a Connecticut Children's Medical Center doctor evaluated an 18-year-old who showed signs of having given birth but had no baby with her. They found a baby in a trash can outside the house and spent several hours investigating on Tuesday evening.

Police have not said at this time how old the infant was. The circumstances of the baby's death remain under investigation.

It is unclear where the mother is at this time and whether anyone was home when police arrived. Police have not released her identity.

The home remains cordoned off with crime scene tape and there is a tent over two trash cans outside the house. Police found the infant's body in one of them.

The department's Evidentiary Services Unit, called in for major crime scenes and other significant incidents, also responded.

The baby's body was taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington for an autopsy.

Police have not released further details at this time. More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Flash Flood Warnings for Southern CT


Flash flood warnings are in effect for New London, Windham, Middlesex and southern New Haven counties as rain pours down across Connecticut.

The flash flood warnings are effective until 9:15 a.m. for New Haven and Middlesex counties, until 10:30 a.m. for New London County and until 12:15 p.m. for Windham County, according to the National Weather Service. Flash flood watches are also in effect for Hartford and Tolland counties until 8 p.m. and a flash flood watch is also in effect until 2 p.m.

Heavy rain has caused flooding in Long Island and moved north into Connecticut before dawn, according to the National Weather Service. The rain storm is expected to continue north throughout the morning and afternoon, the National Weather Service reports.

Rain is falling at the rate of one to three inches an hour in southeastern Connecticut, according to Meterologist Bob Maxon. Scattered storms are possible throughout the day heading into the evening.

The rain is also causing poor visibility on the roads, so be careful on your commute this morning and throughout the day. Avoid roads covered with water because they may be deeper than expected, the National Weather Service reminds motorists.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fairfield Firefighters Extinguish Oven Fire


Fairfield firefighters put out a kitchen fire on Tuesday evening.

The Fairfield Fire Department responded to Unit 89 in the Sunnyridge Apartments complex at 240 Sunnyridge Avenue at 7:09 p.m. on Tuesday after receiving reports of an oven fire, fire officials said in a news release.

Fairfield Fire Lt. Scott Trembley arrived first on scene and witnessed heavy smoke rising from the back of the multi-unit apartment building, according to the fire department. A gas line connected to the stove was damaged and leaking and that likely "contributed to the fire extension,' according to fire officials. Fire crews shut off the gas meter and extinguished the fire with a hose.

Emergency personnel examined a neighbor for potential smoke inhalation, but the individual declined medical treatment, fire officials said. The identity of that person was not released.

The Southern Connecticut Gas company also responded. Inspector hank Ference conducted a fire investigation at the scene and Fairfield Building Official Tom Connelly also responded to take a look at the electrical system. Fairfield police were also notified.

No injuries were reported.

Fire crews left the scene at 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department

Pedestrian in Bridgeport Hit-and-Run Has Died: Police


A 22-year-old man who was hit by a car on Park Avenue in Bridgeport on Saturday morning has died, according to police, and investigators are still looking for the driver who fled the scene.

Police identified the pedestrian who was struck as Kyle Williams Jr. He died at Bridgeport Hospital on Tuesday, according to police.

Williams was crossing the street just after 4:30 a.m. when he was struck by car, police said.

Witnesses told police that the car accelerated into the intersection while the traffic light was changing and hit the pedestrian, braking briefly after the collision and then fleeing the scene.

After hitting Williams, the driver applied the brakes, then fled the scene, police said.

Police described the vehicle as a "white or light colored Acura Integra with dark tinted windows" and said that it might have a damaged sunroof because of he crash.

Investigators are following leads, but have made no arrests.

Police ask anyone with information on the hit-and-run vehicle or crash to call police at 203-767-4142.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bridgeport Police Investigate Two Shootings


Two people were injured after two shootings in Bridgeport on Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

Police responded to the Charles F. Greene housing complex in Bridgeport after 11 p.m. on Tuesday to investigate gunshots an officer heard in that area, but police said that there was no crime scene or victim to be found.

But at 11:19 p.m. Saint Vincent's Medical Center reported that a gunshot victim checked into the hospital. Police identified him as Major Wade, 20, of Bridgeport.

Wade told officers that he heard gunfire while walking near Madison Avenue and North Avenue and then noticed that he'd been shot in the lower leg. He said he walked to the hospital, but police heard different stories from a friend interviewed.

Then, police responded to Bridgeport Hospital at 1:35 a.m. Wednesday to a report of a second shooting. felicia Rochester, 27, of Bridgeport was shot in her arm and her boyfriend, Andrew Cruz, 28, of Bridgeport, wasn't shot but had abrasions, police said.

Cruz and Rochester  told police that a man approached the car that he and Rochester were in and fired a gun into the vehicle, shooting Rochester's arm.

Police said that Cruz seemed "evasive in his answers," but admitted that he had an altercation with the suspect earlier in the evening.

Police have not identified suspected shooters in either incident and no arrests have been made yet.

Bridgeport police are investigating both shootings. Police said that there's no evidence of a connection between the two shootings at this time but that "detectives aren't ruling anything out."

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 44 Reopens in Winchester


Route 44 was closed in Winchester at Barkhamsted/Winsted line near Route 8 because of downed power lines, according to state police, but the road has since reopened.

The road was closed in both directions and Connecticut Light & Power was called.

The CL&P Web site reported 579 power outages in Winchester and 58 in Barkhamsted at the height of the outage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Smart Snacks in Schools: What's In & What's Out


So long doughnuts, chips, and soda in school vending machines. Snacks in schools will look a lot different when kids head back to classrooms this year.

Under the new “Smart Snacks in School” nutrition standards, which took effect nationwide in July 2014, most foods sold in schools will have limited fat, calories, sugar and sodium.

It’s all part of the government’s effort to improve students’ eating habits and to make sure they don’t avoid nutritionally-balanced federal school meals by eating snacks sold in vending machines and snack bars.

"It's pretty common for kids to buy a few cookies and ice tea instead of getting an actual lunch," said James Walsh, 16, a junior at Linden High School in Linden, New Jersey. "It's a smart decision to try to regulate what's sold in vending machines, but kids can still get junk food at the corner store or bring it with them to school."

Snack foods sold in schools will have to be less than 200 calories, have less than 35 percent saturated fat, zero grams of trans fat and contain some sort of nutritional value instead of just empty calories, according to the guidelines.

They also have to be a “whole grain-rich” grain product or have as the first ingredient a fruit, a vegetable, a dairy product, or a protein food.

The new rules will help parents and schools raise healthy kids, Tom Vilsack, the former agriculture secretary, said last year in announcing the program.

Schools had a year to begin offering healthier standards for snacks, but many started offering more nutritious options earlier.

Thousands of schools had started offering better lunches and snacks as part of the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) and Healthy Schools Program of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, according to The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project. Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, were among them.

"It doesn't make sense to focus on healthy breakfast and lunches if you're going to give students junk food," Julia Bauscher, director of school and community nutrition services at Jefferson County Public Schools said in 2013.

"What we've seen is that when junk food isn’t available, students have healthy breakfast instead," Bauscher added. "Most of us buy things that are in front of, so if we improve the variety of things in front of us it's easier to make healthier choices."

The new standards, introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in June 2013, are meant to help tackle childhood obesity in the United States, which affects about 17 percent of children and adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A separate set of rules already applies to lunch meals.

The new snack rules are required under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act passed by Congress in 2010 with broad bipartisan support. The food industry and nutrition advocates worked very closely on drafting the snacks measure, which is the first nutritional overhaul of school snacks in 30 years.

Michelle Obama, who’s made it her mission to curb childhood obesity, had applauded the law.

"I am so excited that schools will now be offering healthier choices to students and reinforcing the work we do at home to help our kids stay healthy," the first lady said in a statement.

The increasingly restrictive standards have prompted some school systems to opt out of the National School Lunch Program, which means they don't have to implement the new snack program, the Chicago Tribune reported.

But many parents say the new standards are not strict enough. The new rules cover snacks sold only during regular school hours, so kids can still get junk food at sports game concessions and school clubs can still sell candy after or outside of school.

Karen Devitt, co-founder of Real Foods for Kids, a grass-roots, parent advocacy group promoting healthy foods in the Montgomery Country public schools, Maryland, said the guidelines are a step in the right direction but don’t go far enough.

The USDA guidelines permit artificially flavored milk in elementary and middle schools and caffeinated beverages in high schools. Parents like Devitt are against it. They are also concerned about artificial dyes and preservatives allowed in school foods, according to the The Washington Post.

Michele Simon, a consultant with the Center for Food Safety, said that permitting diet soda in schools was "an abomination."

"They are still focused on nutrients and grams of fat, and not grams of sugar," Simon said, according to msn news, explaining that under the new rules, flavored milk has a size limit but no sugar limit.

Still, many parents appreciate the new rules. Mark Klabonski, 40, a father of two boys, 7 and 9 years old, said his house isn't free of junk food and the kids are allowed to have a few chips or a candy bar once in a while, so he appreciates schools trying to do their part as well.

"I really don't see a negative here," Klabonski, a data integration analyst from Metuchen, New Jersey, said of the new rules. "I'd imagine when they get older and have some money in their pocket they will want to buy snacks at school, so it's better to have healthier options available."

Take a look at examples of what type of snacks are out and what snacks are in:

Before the New Standards:

  • Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (5 medium)- 286 Total Calories; 182 Empty Calories
  • Fruit Flavored Candies( 2.2 oz. pkg.)- 249 Total Calories; 177 Empty Calories
  • Doughnut(1 large)- 241Total Calories; 147 Empty Calories
  • Chocolate Bar (1 bar-1.6 oz.)- 235 Total Calories; 112 Empty Calories
  • Regular Cola (12 fl. oz.)- 136 Total Calories; 126 Empty Calories

After the New Standards:

  • Peanuts (1 oz.)- 170 Total Calories, 0 Empty Calories
  • Light Popcorn (snack bag)- 161 Total Calories, 17 Empty Calories
  • Low-Fat Tortilla Chips (1 oz.)- 118 Total Calories, 0 Empty Calories
  • Granola Bars with oats, fruit, nuts (1 bar- 8 oz.)- 95 Total Calories, 32 Empty Calories
  • Fruit Cup with 100% juice (Snack cup 4 oz.)- 68 Total Calories, 0 Empty Calories
  • Non-Calorie Flavored Water- (12fl. oz.)- 0 Total Calories, 0 Empty Calories


Photo Credit: Getty Images

CA Teen's Ingenuity Foils Burglary


A 13-year-old girl's quick thinking and bravery helped nab three teenagers who police say broke into her San Jose home.

The girl, who NBC Bay Area is not identifying to protect her safety, was home alone last week when she heard a ringing door bell, followed by pounding at the door.

"I go to the peep hole to check who it is, and it doesn't look like regular people I'd see at the door," she said.

The girl, who didn't answer the door, said the teen boys at the door looked like they were up to no good. "I had a bad feeling in my stomach," she said.

The girl then rushed to her bedroom to call her father and told him she felt someone was breaking into the home. The teen then locked herself in the bathroom — hiding in the tub so the burglars wouldn't see her feet under the door — and called 911.

The burglars eventually got into the house, leaving behind a trail of broken glass and a busted sliding door, and the girl did what she could to keep quiet until her father and police arrived. She texted her dad instructing her not to call her out of fear that they would hear the ringing and discover her hiding spot.

Police sent about 10 patrol cars to the house and were able to catch all three suspects.

"For me, it was amazing," the girl's father said. "I told her the same day I was really proud of what she did."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

67-Year-Old Woman Missing From Waterbury


Police have issued a Silver Alert for 67-year-old Olive Jackson, who went missing from Waterbury on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Jackson is described as a white woman standing 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds. She has brown hair and brown eyes, according to police. Information on her clothing was not available.

Authorities have not released any details on the circumstances of her disappearance.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to call Waterbury police at 203-574-6941.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Milford Police Seek Man Who Robbed Cumberland Farms


Police are searching for the man who robbed a Cumberland Farms in Milford early Saturday morning and told the clerk he had a gun.

According to police, the suspect entered the Cumberland Farms at 1023 Boston Post Road around 3 a.m. Saturday. He warned a store employee that he had a gun and demanded money.

The suspect made off with cash and several packs of cigarettes, police said.

He’s described as a man in his late 20s or early 30s with a thin build. Police said he stands about 5 feet 8 inches tall, has short dark hair and a cut above one of his eyes.

Anyone with information on the robbery or suspect is urged to call Milford police Det. McMahon at 203-783-4755 or email bmcmahon@ci.milford.ct.us. You can also report anonymous tips online.

Photo Credit: Milford Police Department

Man Opens Fire on North Main Street in Norwalk: Police


Norwalk police are investigating after a man opened fire at three other people in the area of North Main and Ann streets Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, the suspect fired down Ann Street and was last seen running up North Main Street. He’s described as a light-skinned black man wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

Based on witness accounts, police identified and detained three men following the incident, two of whom may have been intended targets. The men were released and have not been cooperating with authorities, according to police.

Detectives are interviewing witnesses and searching the scene for evidence.

No one was injured in the shooting.

Anyone with information about the incident is urged to call Norwalk police.

I'm Stuck: App Lets Frustrated Travelers Complain


Stuck in traffic or on a stalled train? There's a new, direct way to gripe to the government about it.
The free “I’m Stuck” app, available for both iPhone and Android devices, lets frustrated travelers — whether they're stuck in traffic, hampered by transit delays or sitting on a tarmac — contact their elected representatives to complain.
The two infrastructure and transportation advocacy groups behind the app hope it will empower travelers to speak up about their travel troubles, and put pressure on lawmakers to boost infrastructure funding.
Last month, the House passed a bill providing additional money for state transportation projects through May 2015. However, the Senate refuses to consider it, claiming the president will veto the legislation because it doesn't extend the funding long enough, according to the thehill.com.
"Usually commuters think traffic is like weather — it is something that happens to them, and they have no control over it," Democratic former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, co-chair of Building America’s Future, said in a statement. "That isn’t the case at all.” 
Rendell's group, along with the U.S. Travel Association, wants to federal lawmakers to strike a deal to sustain the Highway Trust Fund, expected to run out late this summer. They hope the app will directly notify Congress of infrastructure needs, and of Americans' demand for change.
The House passed a bill last month that would fund state transportation projects through May of next year, but the Senate and the president say it doesn't extend the funding long enough, The Hill reported.
Roger Dow, who heads the U.S. Travel Association, says Congress is aware of the need but “fails to act” on them. “The Highway Trust Fund is running on fumes, and Congress is running out of time,” he said.
The app was first released in 2013 but is being expanded now with new features extending to the travel industry, as well as millions of American travelers.
The new app also contains messages for travelers stuck in highway traffic specifically, urging Congress to act on the Highway Trust Fund. However, it advises highway users not to use the app while driving.
Click here to download the app.

Photo Credit: File Photo

Coroner Defends Releasing Williams Suicide Details


The world learned of the late comedian Robin Williams' suicide in excruciating detail, and now the man who released the detail is defending his office from criticism that he offered too much.

"The Sheriff’s Office understands how the release of the kind of information you heard yesterday may be viewed as disturbing by some, and as unnecessary by others," Marin County Sheriff's Assistant Chief Deputy Coroner Lt. Keith Boyd told NBC Bay Area in an email Wednesday. "But under California law, all that information is considered 'public information,' and we are precluded from denying access to it."

At a news conference Tuesday that was livestreamed around the globe, Boyd described in grisly detail how Williams committed suicide. The release of that detailed information on the beloved actor's tragic death sparked a backlash from some who were outraged that so many specifics were revealed.

"None of this information should've been released until the autopsy and toxicology results were in," Debby Vitale-Riddle wrote on NBC Bay Area's Facebook page, which posted the story of how Williams died. "Then it should've been at the family's discretion as to how much information was released."

Vitale-Riddle was one of the many critics on social media and at kitchen tables cringing at the brutal way Williams ended his life.

But on Wednesday, Boyd defended his office's decision to release what was in Marin County Chief Forensic Pathogist Joseph Cohen's preliminary autopsy report.

"Frankly, it would have been our personal preference to withhold a lot of what we disclosed to the press yesterday, but the California Public Records Act does not give us that kind of latitude," he wrote. "These kinds of cases, whether they garner national attention or not, are very difficult for everyone involved."

He said he made the decision knowing that his agency will be required to release to the media the 911 phone call dispatch received from Williams’ home. And already, he said, the sheriff's department has received a "staggering number of formal Public Act Requests" seeking that information.

In a phone conversation, Boyd wouldn't disclose whether he had gotten Williams' wife Susan Schneider's permission to discuss the autopsy findings. But he did say that it was common protocol to "actively work" with families of the deceased when it came to releasing information.

He also differentiated criminal investigations – which are often not released to the public – and coroner's reports in non-criminal matters, which are public record.

Boyd also noted that the media had the discretion to refrain from publishing any information they thought inappropriate to publish. He also suggested that news agencies had the option of putting a time delay on their livestreams if journalists were concerned.

Boyd has the support of the Judicial Council of California, which initiated a "High Profile Special Press Information" amendment. That was enacted after the high-profile death of Michael Jackson in 2009 that urged the courts to err on the side of releasing more information so as not to tax the records clerks and personnel who would have to deal with invidual media inquiries.

And his actions have the support of Terry Francke, a national open government expert at CalAware in Sacramento.

"I assume the reason he released that detail is that he knew there would be a records request anyway," Francke said. "And he was trying to minimize the demands on his staff. He probably said, 'Let's get it all out there to get as many answers to the public as possible.'''

As for whether Boyd should have gone into such detail, on a personal note, Francke said: "I think that's a judgment call that he made. I don't know why he should be faulted for it. The notion that being provided too much information is a bad thing seems pretty silly, especially in a market that has such a high demand for this information.''


Georgia Firm Recalls 15K Pounds of Chicken Nuggets


A Georgia-based meat company is recalling over 15,000 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets after reports surfaced that consumers found small pieces of plastic in the meat.

Perdue Farms and the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service said they have not received any reports of injury from the consumption of the 8 ounce box of "Applegate Naturals Chicken Nuggets" with the establishment number P2617.

The product was produced on Feb. 5, 2014 with a sell by date of Feb. 5, 2015, according to a press release from the FSIS.

Applegate withdrew the frozen chicken from markets on Aug. 8, 2014, but consumers may still have the product in their possession since it is a frozen item, the statement said.

Consumers with questions about the recall should contact Gerry Clarkson, Applegate Consumer Relations Specialist at (800) 587-5858.

Photo Credit: USDA.gov

28-Year-Old Stabbed in New Haven


A 28-year-old man was rushed to the hospital Wednesday afternoon after he was stabbed between Orange and Church streets in New Haven, according to police.

Police said it happened after a fight broke out in the parking out on Chapel Street.

Authorities were called to the scene after the victim, who has not been publicly identified, lifted his shirt to show the stab wounds to his mother, according to police. Information on his condition has not been released.

It's not clear if police have identified a suspect or are following any leads.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Help for Homeless Vets Comes in Form of Federal Grant


Homeless veterans and their families are getting a boost from $3 million in federal grants awarded to agencies designed to help them find housing.

U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro, John Larson and Jim Himes announced the funding today.

The Workplace, Inc. in Bridgeport, Community Renewal Team, Inc. in Hartford and Columbus House, Inc. in New Haven were among the 301 community agencies across the state that received grant money, according to a release from the representatives’ offices.

The funding will be used as funding to provide housing stability and play a key role in connecting veterans and their family members to VA services, such as mental health care and other benefits.

“We have to be sure we are doing everything possible to facilitate the transition from the battlefield back to civilian life. These grants will go a long way towards helping some of those with the most difficulty making the transition” DeLauro said in a statement Wednesday. “As a nation, we have an obligation to ensure that, at the very least, the brave men and women who serve our country have a place to call home.”

According to the release, the Community Renewal Team is slated to receive $529,380. President and CEO Lena Rodriguez said the agency has helped some 200 homeless veterans in the past year.

The WorkPlace is set to receive $1,281,624 and Columbus House will be granted $1,516,990.

2 Rescued After Boat Capsizes in East Hampton


East Hampton fire officials and crews from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection rescued two people from the water at Lake Pocotopaug this afternoon after their catamaran capsized, the fire chief said.

According to the chief, a small sailboat overturned off Lake Drive in East Hampton on Wednesday afternoon, causing two people on board to fall into the water.

They were unable to right the boat, and emergency crews responded to pull them from the water and retrieve the catamaran, the chief said.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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