NBC Connecticut
Browsing All 57608 Articles Latest Live
Mark channel Not-Safe-For-Work? cancel confirm NSFW Votes: (0 votes)
Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel.

Man Arrested in Connection With UConn Bomb Threat


UConn police have arrested a 21-year-old man accused of being part of a group accused of making a bomb threat last April.

Police have identified Matthew J. Tollis, 21, of Wethersfield, a one of the people accused of conspiring to call the Tasker administration building at 9 a.m. on April 3, say they put explosives in the building and claim they wanted to “kill people,” according to a news release from UConn.

The building was evacuated as police investigated. UConn Police issued an alert about the bomb threat, canceled morning classes and urged people to stay away from the area. 

No explosives were found and things returned to normal as of 12:30 p.m.

But the police investigation was just beginning.

Through Internet service providers and social media accounts, police were able to identify a group of people suspected of planning and then calling in the threat, including Tollis.

He was arrested at home on Wednesday and transported to UConn Police Headquarters in Storrs where he was processed and released on a $10,000 surety bond. 

Tollis, who is not a student at UConn, was arrested on a warrant and charged with first-degree conspiracy to commit threatening, conspiracy to commit falsely reporting an incident in the first degree and first-degree conspiracy to commit breach of peace in the second degree.

Tollis is scheduled to appear at Rockville Superior Court at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 11.

Police are continuing to investigate.

Bridgeport Police Seek to Return Stolen Items


Bridgeport police are hoping to return items stolen from storage facilities to their rightful owners.

Police will display the items – including collectibles, antiques and art – on Saturday, Sept. 6 and Saturday, Sept. 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 236 Evergreen Street in Bridgeport.

According to police, eight guns, three Japanese swords, a number of antiques and other items valued at $100,000 were taken from storage centers on State Street Extension and Fairfield Avenue in May. Some have been reclaimed but others are still in police custody.

You must have a police report listing your stolen property in order to claim it.

Weston residents Joshua Bamman and Kathleen Falcone have been charged in connection with the thefts.

The couple is also suspected of breaking into storage facilities in Fairfield, Easton, Westport, Redding, Wilton and Weston, according to police.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

McDonnells Guilty on Most Charges


Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife have been found guilty of most of the public corruption charges they faced in a marathon trial centered on lavish gifts and loans from a wealthy businessman.

The former governor has been found guilty of 11 of the 13 charges against him. Former Virginia first lady Maureen McDonnell has been found guilty of nine of the 13 charges against her.

It was bombshell ending to a trial that included the dissection of the former first couple's marriage, testimony that Bob had moved out and was living with a priest, and testimony that Maureen had begun frequently texting and emailing the businessman in the case, Jonnie Williams, who wanted help promoting his dietary supplement.

Three of the McDonnells' five children clutched each others' hands and prayed before the verdict was announced, breaking into sobs as their parents' guilty counts were read aloud.

The couple's son Bobby McDonnell looked at his father with tear-glazed eyes as the former governor's head collapsed into his hands.

Bob McDonnell is "broken" and "devastated," said defense attorney Henry Asbill, who added that he would appeal the verdict.

The government had accused the McDonnells of doing special favors for Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplement maker Star Scientific, Inc., in exchange for more than $177,000 in gifts and loans.

Courtroom observers said two jurors wiped their eyes wiped their eyes as the verdicts were read.

As co-defendants, the former first couple was separated in the courtroom, with three lawyers sitting between them. Maureen McDonnell teared up, but appeared composed compared to the emotional reactions of her husband and children.

The McDonnells didn't look at each other as the verdict was read, but they left the Richmond courthouse together. It was a marked difference from the rest of the trial, which verged into soap opera territory as defense lawyers suggested that the McDonnells' marriage was so broken they could not have conspired to obtain gifts, trips and loans from Williams.

Throughout the trial, Bob McDonnell had appeared confident, telling reporters repeatedly that he was sure he would be exonerated and was putting his faith in God.

"All I can say is my trust remains in the Lord," he said in a brief statement as he left the courthouse Thursday with Maureen, before they got into separate cars.

McDonnell, who was once considered a rising GOP star and potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney in 2012, now faces, along with his wife, up to 30 years in federal prison when they're sentenced in January.

"This is a difficult and disappointing day for the Commonwealth and its citizens," said Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. "Public service frequently requires sacrifice, and almost always requires financial sacrifice. When public officials turn to financial gain in exchange for official acts, we have no choice but to prosecute the case."

Bob McDonnell is the first former governor of Virginia to be convicted of a crime. The commonwealth had long had a reputation for clean politics, a reputation shattered in the five-week McDonnell trial.

Political analyst Bob Holsworth called it "a day of infamy in Virginia."

The Verdict, Count by Count

Bob and Maureen McDonnell were each charged with 13 counts in a 14-count indictment:

  • In the first count against them, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to commit honest-services wire fraud for accepting gifts and loans from Williams.

  • The next three charges, counts 2-4, involved accepting checks from Williams: On counts 2 and 3, the McDonnells were both found guilty of honest-services wire fraud for accepting a $15,000 check to pay a caterer for their daughter's wedding, and for accepting a $50,000 loan check for MoBo Real Estate, a company the former governor operated with his sister.

  • On count 4, Bob McDonnell was also found guilty of a count of honest-services wire fraud for a $20,000 wire transfer for MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty on that charge.

  • On count 5, the McDonnells were found guilty of conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right for the gifts and loans they received.

  • The McDonnells also faced six charges of obtaining property under color of official right, counts 6-11: On counts 6-8, they were found guilty of three charges of obtaining property under color of official right for a $50,000 check to Maureen, for the $15,000 check to the wedding caterer, and for a $2,380 golf outing.

  • On count 9, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for a $1,424 golf outing. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • On count 10, both McDonnells were found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $50,000 check to MoBo.

  • On count 11, Bob McDonnell was found guilty of obtaining property under color of official right for the $20,000 transfer to MoBo. Maureen McDonnell was found not guilty of that charge.

  • Only Bob McDonnell was charged with count 12. He was found not guilty of making false statements on a TowneBank loan application.

  • In count 13, both McDonnells were found not guilty of making false statements on a PenFed loan application.

  • Only Maureen McDonnell was charged with count 14. She was found guilty of obstruction of official proceeding for a handwritten note to Williams.

They will be sentenced Jan. 6, 2015.

Inside the Testimony

The trial centered on the testimony of the former governor and Williams, the prosecution's star witness. Maureen McDonnell did not take the stand.

Williams was granted immunity for his dealings with the McDonnells and possible securities fraud violations, which had been investigated by a separate grand jury. He testified that he spent lavishly on the McDonnells to secure their help promoting and obtaining state-backed research for Star Scientific's tobacco-derived anti-inflammatory supplement, Anatabloc. Williams intended to share the results of that research with doctors to gain their support of the product.

Prosecutors claimed the former first couple had an "unconscionable amount" of credit card debt and presented testimony that they were eager to accept gifts from Williams, including a $6,500 Rolex watch that Maureen gave Bob for Christmas, a vacation at Williams’ luxurious home on Smith Mountain Lake outside Roanoke, use of Williams' Ferrari and a shopping spree for designer clothes and accessories for Maureen.

Testimony showed Williams loaned $50,000 to Maureen McDonnell that she used to pay down credit debt in 2011. He also loaned $50,000 and $20,000 to MoBo Real Estate, a small company that Bob McDonnell and one of his sisters ran to operate two beach properties.

Prosecutors also said Williams paid $15,000 in catering expenses when one of the McDonnells' daughters got married. And they claimed Maureen had developed a close relationship with Williams, exchanging more than 1,200 texts and calls over a nearly two-year period, including 52 in one day.

In his defense, Bob McDonnell testified he did nothing more than extend routine political courtesies to Williams. Before the indictment, he had apologized for what he described as bad judgment and said he had repaid about $120,000 in gifts and loans, but denied breaking any laws.

A key part of the defense strategy was the claim that the McDonnells couldn't have conspired, because their marriage had deteriorated to the point that Bob McDonnell had moved out and was now living with a priest, who is a family friend. Maureen McDonnell's lawyers called Williams her "favorite playmate."

Both the prosecution and the defense called Maureen volatile and emotional. One prosecution witness called her a "nut bag." Bob McDonnell himself said his wife didn't take well to the role of first lady, calling her handling of behind-the-scenes matters "a disaster." Testimony revealed staff members at the governor's mansion had threatened to resign en masse.

Judge: 'Can't Take Another Second'

After lengthy days of intense testimony -- on day four, the judge in the case said he was stopping testimony because he "can't take another second" -- the jury faced the task of deciding the McDonnells' guilt or innocence.

Judge James R. Spencer issued lengthy instructions to the jury Tuesday morning, including the warning that the testimony of a witness who is granted immunity must be more closely examined than testimony of other witnesses.

The heightened scrutiny was required to determine whether the testimony of the immunized witness is "affected by self-interest," Spencer said.

To be found guilty, Spencer said, a defendant must understand the nature of the conspiracy and deliberately join it.

However, Spencer said a conspiracy does not have to achieve its goals, which could have undercut a defense claim that Williams never received anything of substance, including the research he took preliminary steps to seek.

He also said an agreement need not be stated explicitly by the conspirators and that it didn't matter whether the defendant would have done those favors absent a bribe.

Spencer also told jurors -- who heard from three character witnesses, two for Bob McDonnell and one for his wife -- that "evidence of good character alone may create a reasonable doubt as to a defendant's guilt."

Photo Credit: AP

Chunk of Church Facade Kills Woman


A Chicago woman was killed Thursday after a piece of facade fell off a church in the South Loop neighborhood, police said.

The woman, identified by family members as 34-year-old Sara Bean, was walking in the 1900 block of South Michigan Avenue around noon when a piece of masonry fell from the Second Presbyterian Church and struck her, police said.

Witnesses told NBC 5 a brick fell from the top of the building and struck the woman in the head.

Bean was transported in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Family said Bean was the mother of two young boys, ages 10 and 14. She lived across from the church and worked at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Mimi Simon, spokesperson for the City of Chicago Department of Buildings, said city building inspectors responded to the scene Thursday.

"As assessment determined that a corner of one of the metal decorative pieces on the exterior of the building gave way," Simon said in a statement. "When it fell, it struck the gargoyle on the southeast corner of the steeple, causing a portion of the gargoyle to fall, striking the victim."

Simon said the Department of Buildings has no record of 311 complaints on the building, and said it was last in contact with the property for an inspection on Oct. 30, 2013.

Buildings Department records show the church failed a series of inspections from 2007 to 2011.

The church did pass an "assembly/amusement annual inspection" in 2012.

In 2011, the church was cited for five violations, including failing to "maintain the exterior walls of the building or structure free from holes, breaks, loose or rotting boards or timbers and any other condition which might admit rain or dampness to the walls," records show.

Area Central Detectives are conducting a death investigation.


Grenade Found at Jewett City Auction House


State police responded to Leon's Auction House in Jewett City on Thursday morning when a grenade was found in toolbox delivered to the auction house for an estate sale, according to state police. 

Troopers and bomb technicians responded to 2 Wedgewood Drive just before 9:30 a.m.

The grenade was made safe and removed from the scene.

Police said they have concluded the investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Suspect Arrested After Escaping Twice, Assaulting Cop


A man suspected in an attempted burglary in New London early Thursday morning is in custody after escaping twice and assaulting a police officer, according to police.

William Carilli, 22, of Coventry, has been placed on psychiatric watch as well as suicide watch.

Police first encountered Carilli when they responded to an attempted burglary at 57 Montauk Avenue at 12:36 a.m. on Thursday, police said.

Police arrested Carilli, who was walking away from the scene, and took him to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital because he was injured in  the attempted break-in, police said.

While he was waiting to be treated at the hospital, Carilli managed to get away from police and led officers on a chase through the south end of New London.

Waterford and State Police were called into help get him back into custody and a Waterford police officer spotted Carilli just before 4 a.m.

The officer chased Carilli and caught up with him, but Carilli grabbed a blunt object and hit the officer in the head several times, police said.

The officer had to go to the hospital to be treated and required staples in his head.

A Connecticut State Police K9 unit then chased Carilli and took him into custody in the back yard of a home on Ocean Avenue.

Carilli again fought police, so authorities used a Taser on him, police said.

Carilli was brought to the New London Police Station and originally held on $250,000. Bond was increased to $500,000. 

Carilli was charged with criminal attempt/second-degree burglary and third-degree criminal mischief.

He appeared in court this morning and remains in custody, unable to post $49,000 cash bail. 

Judge Kevin McMahon said on Thursday that Carilli could spend 50 to 60 years in prison on these charges.

Carilli is due back in court on Oct. 1.

Photo Credit: New London Police

5-Foot-Tall Lobster Returned to Southington Shop


When people pass by Gulf Shrimp in Southington, they stop. It’s hard to resist taking a photo with the 5-and-a-half foot tall lobster statue that stands out front.

But no one was taking photos with the massive crustacean for four months. Someone lobsternapped it, but the lobster is back.

A customer happened to spot the lobster at a flea market in Massachusetts, according to Tom Jones, of Gulf Shrimp.

In May, a customer noticed that the lobster that has stood outside 240 Atwater St. in the Plantsville section of Southington for the last eight years was missing and told an employee.

The worker assumed that Camille Simoneaux, the co-owner of Gulf Shrimp, had taken it home to paint it, as she has in the past, Simoneaux said.

But, that was not the case.

Simoneaux said they realized over the weekend that the 150-pound fiberglass lobster was missing and called police to report the theft.

“It was a little comical to report a missing lobster. I was waiting for the chuckle on the other end. They took it seriously and knew exactly what I was talking about because so many people have seen it and noticed it when they drive by,” Simoneaux said.

The cost of the statue is estimated at around $2,000.

More importantly, the lobster is a landmark in the community and the owners made public pleas to get it back.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Officials to Meet on Rock Cats Stadium Tonight


Days after the city of Hartford selected one of three finalists to develop the Downtown North section and build a minor-league baseball stadium, a short meeting will be held for the next phase of the project.

Mayor Pedro Segarra said on Tuesday the city has chosen DoNo Hartford, LLC as the developer of the area just north of Interstate 84 in Hartford.  

Segarra will convene a special meeting of the Common Council tonight to listen to details on a resolution, which includes transferring 19 properties to DoNo Hartford, LLC for $1 each. There will be no vote on the resolution on Thursday, Segarra said.

No presentations are expected and the meeting is expected to last for just afew minutes, according to the mayor's office, and this will kick off the process that includes a public hearing.

Hartford received four proposals earlier this summer. Three plans – from CV Properties, the Hooker Brewing Company and Centerplan Development Company with Leyland Alliance – met the criteria for development.

CV Properties proposed a $217-million project, including a 6,000-seat stadium, brewery, residential and office space and a supermarket with covered parking, while the Hooker Brewing Company outlined a $16-million 40,000-square-foot stadium and beer garden.

The proposal selected by Hartford includes a $350-million development including a 6,000-seat stadium, Little League park, brewery and supermarket.

"We can't comment at this point but Centerplan continues to be very eager to work with the City of Hartford and invest in its future," said Yves-George A. Joseph II, vice president of development at Centerplan.

The resolution would authorize the city to lease back the ballpark from DoNo Hartford, LLC for an initial term of 25 years and then sublease it to Connecticut Double Play, LLC, the parent company of the New Britain Rock Cats.

The ball club would rent the stadium for $500,000 per year for the first 15 years of the deal and $600,000 for the final 10 years of the initial agreement.

Child, Senior Citizen Rescued From Burning Home


Neighbors and firefighters helped a child and elderly resident escape when their home on Wayne Street in Bridgeport went up in flames Thursday afternoon, according to public safety spokesperson Bill Kaempffer.

The house at 657 Wayne Street caught fire shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday. Neighbors helped a child from the burning builiding, and Fire Commissioner James Meszoro rescued an elderly tenant, Kaempffer said.

The third floor of home suffered heavy smoke and fire damage. It's not clear if this is where the fire broke out.

Authorities are investigating to determine the cause of the blaze.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

Safety Agency Considers Ban on Tiny Magnets That Killed Child


Little, powerful magnets of the kind that are found in desk toys and that killed a 19-month-old girl after she swallowed seven of them last year would be banned under proposed federal safety regulations.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is to vote on the prohibition later this month.

Its staff estimates that there were 2,900 emergency room visits from 2009 through 2013 for treatment after magnets were swallowed. Surgery is often required to remove magnets from the digestive system, the staff’s report says.

"It's like a gunshot wound to the gut but with no sign of entry or exit," a commission spokesman, Scott Wolfson, said.

The magnets were made popular in Buckyballs and other desk toys, which companies said were meant for adults but which safety advocates said posed a threat to children.

The little girl who died, Annaka Chaffin, was found unresponsive, bleeding from her mouth and nose, a day after she was diagnosed as likely having a virus, according to the report. The cause of death was found to be ischemic bowel due to the magnets.

She had swallowed magnets that made up a necklace her brothers brought home from school.

Her mother, Amber, has said she does not now how the infant got ahold of the magnets.

"Hopefully, it saves somebody who does have these and potentially could have small children around," said the child's aunt, Lisa Chaffin-Murphy of Columbus, Ohio.

She said her sister had no idea how dangerous the magnets could be.

CPSC staff is recommending that if a set of magnets contains one small enough to fit through a cylinder used to test for choking hazards, all of the magnets must fall below a certain strength. The danger is that the attraction of powerful magnets can cause them to perforate bowels or result in other damage.

Last October, pediatric gastroenterologists and consumer advocates urged the ban.

“High-powered magnets are not like other small foreign objects that children typically swallow,” said a 2013 statement from the Consumer Federation of America.

Endoscopic or surgical intervention was necessary nearly 80 percent of the time such a magnet was swallowed, the federation said. Typically endoscopic removal is needed in only 10 to 20 percent of the cases; surgery less than 1 percent, the federation said.

Magnet sets from Buckyballs and Star Networks were eventually recalled. Craig Zucker, a founder of the former distributor of Buckyballs, Maxfield and Oberton Holdings, initially fought the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but this year settled for $375,000.

Refunds are available for the Buckyballs and Buckycubes and for Magnicubes.

Mass. Doc With Ebola Heads to U.S.


The Massachusetts doctor who contracted Ebola while working in West Africa is in good spirits as he heads to Nebraska for treatment, his wife said Thursday.

Dr. Rick Sacra, 51, the third American to be sickened with Ebola, is being flown to the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, the aid group he worked with in Liberia said Thursday. He is expected to arrive Friday and begin treatment in the hospital's biocontainment patient care unit.

His wife, Debbie Sacra, said that despite being clearly sick, he was in very good spirits as he boarded the plane heading for the United States.

Speaking to the public at UMass Medical School in Worcester where her husband worked, Debbie Sacra said the trips to Liberia were part of their family's life. Her husband knew the risks and felt he needed to be with the Liberian people, she said.

Sacra, from Holden, Massachusetts, was in Liberia with SIM, an aid group at the forefront of the fight against Ebola in West Africa. Sacra was reportedly delivering babies in the SIM hospital's obstetrics unit in Liberia and not treating Ebola patients. He also headed up a residency program there.

He had returned to Liberia about a month ago, after two other Americans — Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol — became ill with Ebola, SIM President Bruce Johnson said at a news conference Wednesday.

Both have recovered after being treated in an Atlanta hospital, and both learned that Sacra had been infected on Tuesday.

"My heart sank. I just didn't have any other words but 'Oh, no,'" Writebol told NBC News. "They are part of the family. To hear the news is very sad, (knowing) the whole cycle of the progression of the disease and how that story might end."

Sacra was treated in isolation in Liberia, where he was able to email, before he prepared to head to Nebraska on Thursday.

His brother, Doug Sacra, said his brother went to Liberia because he wanted to make sure the Ebola patients were receiving the necessary treatments, and that others in the area had medical attention.

"Rick has a real heart for the people in Liberia, and he said, 'You know, I'm a doctor. No hospital is open. I'm going to go reopen the hospital so kids with Malaria and women needing emergency C-sections can get care.' And that's why he went," Doug Sacra said.

Photo Credit: SIM USA

School Bus Driver Sold Heroin, Carried Gun: Police


A school bus driver arrested for selling heroin was found with a .40-caliber handgun and had drugs in the presence of children, according to police.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jorge "Wapito" Aviles is accused of selling heroin in the Vernon/Rockville area and from his apartment at 15 Park West Drive in Vernon, according to police.

Aviles and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Ashley Byrdsong, were arrested Thursday morning after authorities searched their homes and found a .45-caliber gun, 270 bags of heroin, packaging materials and $187 cash, police said.

Police stopped Aviles while he was leaving Byrdsong’s apartment at 360 Oakland Street in Manchester and discovered a .40-caliber handgun on his person, according to police.

Both Aviles and Byrdsong are facing numerous drug charges, including possession of heroin, sale of heroin and operating a drug factory.

Since three children were in the apartment, Aviles and Byrdsong are also charged with three counts of risk of injury to a minor, according to police.

Police said Aviles is a DATTCO bus driver who works out of the South Windsor terminal, which serves a number of CREC schools in the area.

DATTCO had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

Vigil Planned for Missing Hartford Girl, FBI Assisting Search


The Federal Bureau of Investigation is helping police search for a Hartford teen who went missing last Monday, and a vigil has been planned for next week.

Jillian Burgos, a 14-year-old student and choir member at Two Rivers Magnet School in East Hartford, has been missing for more than a week, according to a press release from Hartford Areas Rally Together.

Hartford police have asked the FBI to step in and help find her.

Police said she was last seen in her backyard on Natalie Street around 2 p.m. Aug. 25.

Meanwhile, community members have planned a vigil “to raise awareness not only of Jillian’s disappearance, but also the disparity in how missing children in urban centers are handled,” according to HART.

The vigil will be held at Dillon Stadium on Huyshope Avenue in Hartford at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 8. Deacon Arthur Miller will say a prayer for Burgos, and the Two Rivers choir will sing in her honor.

“We want to make sure that every child matters, no matter their race or zip code,” said HART Executive Director Mayra Esquilin, in a statement Thursday.

Burgos stands about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 285 pounds. She has black hair, brown eyes and a beauty mark on her neck, according to police.

Police said Burgos was wearing a purple short, gray shorts and white sneakers when she disappeared and was carrying a blue backpack with a butterfly design.

She is not a habitual runaway, and police said Friday they do not believe she was abducted.

Anyone with information on Burgos is asked to call Sgt. Sonia Watson at 860-757-4482 or Det. Ivys Arroyo at 860-757-4236.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police Department

Meriden Could Soon be Home to 3 Solar Projects


Evansville Avenue in Meriden could soon host three sets of solar panels, one of which has already been approved and two that are in the works.

Middletown-based Greenskies Renewable Energy will break ground within the next few weeks on a 1.2-megawatt solar panel project at the landfill on Evansville Avenue, according to Stephen Montemurro, chairman of the Meriden Energy Taskforce.

The project has been contracted for 20 years and is expected to save the city between $870,000 and $2.3 million, depending on the cost of electricity, Montemurro said.

According to Greenskies, the project was first proposed in 2012 and will bring 4,200 solar panels to the landfill.

The city is reviewing two additional proposals from SolarCity Corp., planned for the Meriden-Markham Airport at 213 Evansville Avenue and the Meriden Water Pollution Control Facility at 226 Evansville Avenue.

They’ll be fully funded by the California-based vendor and offset by the CT Zero Emission Renewable Energy Credit program, according to Montemurro. Both will operate under 20-year contracts.

A 1.3-megawatt system would power airport terminal buildings. Excess energy would be sent back to the grid and assigned a dollar value based on virtual net metering credits, which would be used toward energy bills for other public buildings, Montemurro said. The plan could save the city up to $1.4 million.

The water treatment plant would utilize ground-mounted solar arrays as part of a 323-kilowatt system. Energy generated will benefit the treatment plant and could save the city $328,000, according to Montemurro.

SolarCity will finance, design, maintain and monitor both projects in exchange for the land on which to build. The city will purchase energy at a fixed, reduced price that will remain constant despite fluctuations in electric rate, Montemurro said.

Social Conservative Group Endorses Foley for Governor


The Family Institute of Connecticut's Political Action Committee decided that the Republican in the race for Connecticut's governor's office is the right man for the job.

"This comes down to one issue," said Peter Wolfgang, of the Family Institute. "The hot issue that we believe is going to attention at the State Capitol is assisted suicide."

Wolfgang said Foley vowed his veto of legislation relating to assisted suicide.

But the Family Institute is more widely known for its right-leaning stances on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage.

Sources close to the Foley campaign told NBC Connecticut that if he were elected governor, Foley wouldn't change his positions as a pro-choice and same-sex marriage supporting Republican.

Democrats don't buy that.

"We just stand here confused about why Tom Foley would accept the endorsement of an organization that fought basic human rights for so long" said State Sen. Beth Bye, a Democrat in the General Assembly who represents Bloomfield and West Hartford.

Democrats argue that the endorsement by such a right-leaning group could jeopardize some of the state's laws when it comes to issues like abortion and gay marriage, even though a governor's office controlled by a Republican would be handcuffed by a Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

"Our campaign is happy to receive the endorsement of any group that recognizes the need to change direction toward a more proud and prosperous Connecticut," a spokesman for the Foley campaign said in a statement.

Wolfgang says independent voters need to educate themselves on the issues and understand that topics other than assisted suicide just aren't on the horizon in Connecticut.

"Issues like gay marriage and abortion just aren't going to come up" he said.

Geno's Call to Mo'ne Violated Rule: NCAA


Geno Auriemma violated an NCAA rule when he called Mo'ne Davis during the Little League World Series, according to a release from UConn on Thursday.

UConn has been working with the NCAA and the American Athletic conference since Wednesday afternoon to determine whether Auriemma's two-minute phone call with the 13-year-old pitcher constituted a violation of recruiting rules.

UConn was forced to deal with the issue after an unnamed school reported the call as a violation to the AAC.

Davis was launched into the spotlight earlier this month when her 70-mile-per-hour fastballs helped the Taney Dragons, of Philadelphia, reach the semifinals of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

During the Dragons' run, Davis said she would like to play basketball for Auriemma at UConn one day.

Someone from the Philadelphia 76's organization contacted a friend of Auriemma's and suggested the UConn head coach give Davis a call to congratulate her. On Wednesday, Auriemma said he called the Little League offices and Davis happened to be there and asked to have a someone put Davis on the phone.

"The conversation lasted like two minutes and we hung up," Auriemma said. "And then I was told a school turned us in for a recruiting violation because we are not allowed contact of July 1 before her junior year of high school. ... That's the world that we live in."

On Thursday, the NCAA notified the school a violation had occurred.

"The NCAA has determined a secondary rules violation of bylaw did occur and while UConn accepts this decision, we do not agree with it," UConn Athletic Director Warde Manuel said in a statement after the decision.

The bylaw prohibits schools from making phone calls to an individual before July 1 following the completion of the student's junior year of high school. An exception to the bylaw for women's basketball allows schools to call students after Sept. 1 of the beginning of her junior year.

It was not clear what type of punishment, if any, could be handed down.

Manuel said Auriemma checked with the UConn compliance department before making the call and was told it would not be a violation since Davis is not considered a prospective student athlete.

"The nature of Coach Auriemma’s two-minute conversation with Mo’ne had nothing to do with recruiting and instead had everything to do with congratulating and encouraging Mo’ne to continued success," Manuel said.

NBC Connecticut has not reached Auriemma for reaction to the ruling, but he was in disbelief over the controversy when he spoke about it on Wednesday.

"So what does this mean? If a kid wins a swimming contest somewhere and is wearing a [UConn] sweat shirt and I call to congratulate her in seventh grade, is someone now going to say you are not allowed to do that? Well, why not? Isn't that unbelievable?

"There are guys playing college basketball driving around in cars worth more than my house and we're worried about a phone call to a little girl?"

Photo Credit: Getty Images

3 Tried to Access Stranger's Cellphone Account: Cops


Two men and a woman from the Bronx are facing charges in Southington after trying to access another person’s cellphone account in order to obtain high-end phones, according to police.

Police said 26-year-old Jazmin Toribio walked into Simply Wireless at 966 Queen Street on Tuesday afternoon and asked to add phones to her account.

She showed employees a fraudulent driver’s license bearing the name of an actual account holder and was able to answer questions about the account. But police said her behavior aroused suspicion, and store workers – who were aware of similar frauds – called authorities.

When officers showed up, employees pointed them to a gray Acura with New York plates parked on the side of the building.

They found 21-year-old Jose Rainiel Rivera Hernandez and 22-year-old Juan Francisco Sanchez Ramos in the car, waiting for Toribio.

Police said the suspects’ stories didn’t match up when officers asked what they were doing in Southington, and the actual account holder had not authorized any changes to the account.

According to police, Rivera Hernandez and Sanchez Ramos had provided Toribio with the fraudulent license, and the three “had come to Connecticut with the purpose of obtaining cell phones by adding lines onto accounts of unsuspecting Verizon customers.”

They were arrested and taken into custody in Southington.

Toribio was charged with third-degree identity theft and criminal attempt to commit fifth-degree larceny. She was released on $20,000 bond and is due in court Sept. 15.

Sancez Ramos was charged with conspiracy to commit identity theft and conspiracy to commit fifth-degree larceny, and Rivera Hernandez was charged with trafficking in personal identifying information, conspiracy to commit identity theft and conspiracy to commit fifth-degree larceny.

Both Sanchez Ramos and Rivera Hernandez were held on $25,000 bond and appeared in court Thursday.

Photo Credit: Southington Police Department

Joan Rivers Attended Conn College, Owned New Milford Home


Breakthrough comedienne, talk-show host and fashion critic Joan Rivers, who died on Thursday following complications during throat surgery, attended Connecticut College in 1950 and had a home in New Milford.

Rivers, 81, attended the Connecticut College for Women in New London from 1950-1952 before transferring to Barnard College, according to a blog post by the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives at Connecticut College.

According to the post, Rivers, who was Joan Molinsky at the time, performed in several plays during her freshman and sophomore years.

An article published in the Connecticut College News on Nov. 7, 1951 called Rivers “the hit of the evening with her impersonation of a woman trying to save a seat at an outdoor concert,” the post says.

She also owned an expansive estate on New Preston Hill Road in New Milford, which sold for more than $4 million in October 2013.

Rivers was on life support for several days after she stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest during minor throat surgery Aug. 28.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my mother, Joan Rivers,” her daughter, Melissa Rivers, said in a statement obtained by NBC News. “She passed peacefully at 1:17pm surrounded by family and close friends. My son and I would like to thank the doctors, nurses, and staff of Mount Sinai Hospital for the amazing care of my mother.”

Connecticut College tweeted about Rivers’ death Thursday afternoon.

Rivers made a name for herself as permanent guest host on "The Tonight Show Starting Johnny Carson" and struck out on her own with daytime talk show, “The Show.”

She went on to become a film director, writer and actress, was also a best-selling author and wrote a Grammy-nominated comedy album.

Rivers won NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice” in 2011 and hosted “Fashion Police” on the E! Network. She was nominated for five Emmy Awards and won outstanding talk show host in 1990.

Photo Credit: Connecticut College Archives

Quake's Main Force at Napa: Experts


Emerging data on last month's magnitude-6.0 earthquake shows it directed most of its force north toward Napa and the Napa Valley, hitting hard enough to move one side of the West Napa Fault north by 18 inches, the head of the U.S. Geological Survey's Earthquake Science Center said Thursday.

Scientists' ongoing study of the quake is helping explain why the city of Napa suffered so much of the damage in the Aug. 24 quake even though the epicenter was about 5 miles to the south, said Tom Brocher, head of Earthquake Science Center. Older buildings in downtown Napa that had been only partially reinforced against earthquakes, or not reinforced at all, incurred much of the damage, including some old chimneys and building facades that tumbled to the ground.

"The energy really pointed right on Napa,'' Brocher said. Additionally, vineyard-rich Napa Valley lies on soil and other, softer geological deposits, that shake harder and longer than bedrock, Brocher said.

He spoke by phone after a USGS seminar Tuesday for seismic experts to share data on the quake, the hardest to hit Northern California in 25 years.

Official damage estimates still are being tallied. Counts so far range from the hundreds of millions of dollars to more than $1 billion. More than 100 people suffered injuries serious enough to seek medical treatment, although no one died.

Beyond the immediate shock that moved the west side of the West Napa Fault 18 inches, afterslips -- slips on a fault after an earthquake -- have shifted it another few inches, Brocher said. Scientists found cracks in the ground over a 10-mile distance.

Earthquake experts have called the quake a successful test of an early-quake warning system, ShakeAlert, which the USGS is testing in conjunction with universities. ShakeAlert monitors in San Francisco picked up the first waves of the Napa quake eight seconds before the main force of the shock reached San Francisco, scientists at Thursday's briefing said.

In the case of a longer, bigger quake along the San Andreas fault, for example, seismic experts believe the warning system could provide up to a minute of warning before the main shock hit San Francisco, Brocher said.

For the latest earthquake information visit earthquake.usgs.gov.

Attorney for Preschool Aide Says No Wilton Kids Harmed


Questions have swirled about the conduct of a former Wilton preschool aide who was arrested on child pornography last month, and while the attorney representing one Wilton family says he inappropriately touched a child in the bathroom, his lawyer says otherwise.

"Mr. Von Kohorn has not been sexually inappropriate to any child at Wilton and is cooperating fully with police and Wilton on this matter," said Jason B. Sheffield, attorney for 33-year-old Eric Von Kohorn.

"He has voluntarily taken and passed a polygraph wherein he was asked whether he ever engaged in 'any sexual activity' with any child at Witlon – which would include photographing any children for sexual purposes – to which he stated he had not," Sheffield continued.

He called Von Kohorn "an outstanding advocate and educator for children with special needs" and said the former aide was "respected and beloved by the students, the families and the other teachers."

Von Kohorn was arrested Aug. 20 on child pornography charges. He had worked as a paraprofessional at the Miller-Driscoll School and resigned in June, when the school system learned of a police investigation into his conduct.

The Connecticut Post reports that state police found 120 child pornography files on Von Kohorn's computer, but Wilton Supt. Dr. Kevin Smith was quick to assure parents that their children were never in harm's way.

"While he was an employee of WIlton Public Schools, he was not inappropriately touching students," Smith said at a public meeting following Von Kohorn's arrest, explaining that the alleged misconduct took place at Von Kohorn’s home in Bridgeport and that educators had no evidence to suggest it had carried over to the school.

But one attorney said that wasn't the case.

Paul Slager, of Silver Golub & Teitell LLP, said in a statement last week that Von Kohorn inappropriately touched a preschooler while helping the child in the bathroom in January 2013, prompting the child’s parents to file a complaint with the school system.

Slager said the complaints “were corroborated by physical symptoms in the genital area” and said the superintendent's reassurances “run the risk of minimizing legitimate concerns about whether Wilton schoolchildren were victimized, which could result in under-diagnosis and under-treatment of child victims."

Parents, too, question Von Kohorn’s behavior. Many at the public meeting wondered whether their children may have been potential targets.

“I was shocked,” said Paige Ridley, whose 3-year-old child was in the classroom with Eric Von Kohorn last year. “I knew he had close contact with her, so I was very upset.”

“Obviously, I worry about my daughter’s safety,” she added.

She and other parents are pressing for more information from police and asking what else the investigation may have uncovered.

They’re also questioning how and why the school hired Von Kohorn in the first place. District officials have said he passed state and federal background checks and had no criminal or arrest history at the time he was hired.

Smith countered Slager's allegations in a statement last Wednesday.

"I am distraught that a family would conclude that I am misleading the community regarding Mr. Von Kohorn," he said, emphasizing his goal of transparency and open communication.

Smith said school officials have contacted Wilton police and the Department of Children and Families to investigate the claim that Von Kohorn inappropriately touched a preschooler.

"I am firmly committed to working with this family, and with all families, to ensure that they are supported, their concerns are addressed and that the record is accurate," Smith said.

Von Kohorn appeared in court Wednesday.

Browsing All 57608 Articles Latest Live