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NASCAR's Joey Logano Spends the Day in Connecticut


Middletown native Joey Logano is in the running for his first ever NASCAR championship, but he headed home to Connecticut on Thursday to give back to the community.

Logano, who is ranked third and is racing this weekend in New Hampshire, grew up racing at a track about 10 minutes away from On Track Karting in Wallingford, where he spent his day at the inaugural Joey Logano Foundation Hometown Showdown.

“We’re racing at Lauden this weekend, so to be able to stop up here through Middletown and Wallingford, Portland, and all, and be able to say hello to family and friends, and also do some really cool fundraising events for the foundation is a perfect opportunity for it,” Logano said.

All proceeds from the event are split between the foundation and The Connection in Middletown, a nonprofit organization that gives second chances to people struggling with poverty, homelessness and substance abuse.

Logano himself raced in both the adult and children’s go kart competitions.

Prior to the Hometown Showdown, Logano also attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Logano Place, a new transitional housing program for homeless adults in Middletown.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Driver's Wrong Turn Halts Train Service in Meriden


Train service on Amtrak's Springfield Shuttle was suspended in Meriden on Thursday night after a car took a wrong turn and got stuck near the tracks, according to police.

No one was injured and the tracks were not damaged, but Amtrak was notified as a precaution, police said. It happened in the area of North Colony Street and the intersection of Kensington Avenue and Britannia Street.

Two trains on the Springfield Shuttle service, were temporarily put on hold while crews worked to remove the car from the, according to Amtrak. One train is back up and running.

The shuttle runs between Springfield and New Haven.

Water Main Break in East Lyme


There is a water main break at 10 Herster Drive in East Lyme, according to state police.

The water main break is at the end of a cul de sac. Whether this is affecting homes is not known.

The water department has been called to make repairs. The road remains open.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Truck Rollover Closes Winsted Road in Torrington


Winsted Road in Torrington is closed in both directions at Kennedy Drive because of a truck rollover.

State police said the truck took down a utility pole and landed in swamp.

No information was immediately available on injuries, but police said the road will be closed for a while as crews repair the pole.

This is the third serious crash on Friday morning across the state.

Fire Out at Norwich Norwich Mobile Park


Firefighters are investigating a fire at the Little Valley Mobile Home Park on Mohegan Park Road in Norwich.

The fire was reported at 3:22 a.m.

No information was available on whether the fire affected one mobile home or more and if anyone was injured.

The fire was under control before 5 a.m.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

Fire Damages West Hartford Home


A family is displaced after fire damaged their home on Porter Drive in West Hartford this morning.

Smoke detectors went off and the family was able to get out of their home safely, officials said.

The fire department was called at 2:08 a.m., battled the heavy fire from three different angles and extinguished it in about 40 minutes.

The fire caused heavy damage to the home, but no one was injured.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Hartford Fire Department provided mutual aid.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hundreds Line Up for iPhones at Westfarms


The iPhone 6 is here and around 450 people waited in line at Westfarms mall in Farmington to get their hands on one or two, this morning.

The doors opened at 8 a.m. on Friday, but people started waiting in line at 2 p.m. on Thursday. 

The line continued to grow this morning. Between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. alone, about 100 people had joined the line.

The phones are available at the Apple, AT&T and Verizon and T-Mobile stores at Westfarms.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crews from 4 Towns Respond to Fire in Portland


Firefighters from Portland, Middletown, East Hampton and Glastonbury are battling a house fire on Penfield Hill Road in Portland.

The house is set back behind woods and no information has been released on the extent of damage or whether anyone was injured.

Crews are shuttling water because there are no hydrants in the area.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Russian Firm Buys American Brewery Pabst


Pabst Brewing Company, North America’s largest privately held brewing company, is the latest U.S. beer firm to be sold to an international buyer.

Russia-based brewer and beverage company Oasis Beverage and TSG Consumer Partners LLC, an American private equity firm, are partnering to buy PBC. TSG, based in San Francisco and New York, will take a minority stake, The New York Times reported.

The Pabst Brewing company, owned by billionaire investor C.Dean Metropoulos, is best known for Pabst Blue Ribbon, a beer brand that has become a favorite in recent years among hipsters. The Los Angeles-based company has more than 30 beers in its portfolio, according to Pabst's website. Other notable brands include: Colt 45, Old Milwaukee, McSorley's, Stag, Schlitz, and Lone Star.

Oasis Beverages is the biggest independent brewer in Russia, according to the Times.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon is the quintessential American brand – it represents individualism, egalitarianism and freedom of expression – all the things that make this country great,” Oasis' Chairman Eugene Kashper said in a statement. “The opportunity to work with the company’s treasure trove of iconic brands, some of which I started my career selling, is a dream come true. It will be an honor to work with Pabst’s dedicated employees and partner distributors as we continue to build the business.”

Pabst Brewing Company was founded in Milwaukee in 1844 by Jacob Best and later sold to brewing magnate Paul Kalmanovitz. When Kalmanovitz died in 1987, the company was aquired by the Kalmanovitz Charitable Foundation. The IRS forced the foundation to sell the company to Metropoulos due to a federal law that bars charities from owning for profit-businesses.

In 2009, one of America’s biggest cultural icons, Anheusher-Busch, was sold to the Belgium-Brazilian brewer InBev.

In 2002, Miller Brewing Co. was sold to South African Breweries PLC for $5.6 billion, creating SABMiller, the world’s second largest beer company in the world.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Connecticut

Photo Credit: Toronto Star via Getty Images

4 Kids Hurt in Crash on I-91 Ramp in Cromwell


Seven people, including an 8-month-old baby, and three other children, were taken to area hospitals after a crash on an offramp from Interstate 91 in Cromwell on Thursday night.

State police said the driver who caused it was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police said.

Police said Jenison Retlaff, 40, of Glastonbury, was driving under the influence when he hit the back of a truck driven by Jeannot Rossignol, 41, of Cromwell, on the exit 21 offramp of I-91 North at 9:21 p.m. 

Six people, were taken to Hartford Hospital and one person was taken to St. Francis Hospital. State police said four childrem including an 8-month-old baby, a 3-year-old and a two 5-year-olds, were taken to hospitals to be evaluated.

The off-ramp was closed as police responded.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Party Bus Company Faces Charges in Death


Charges have been filed against a party bus rental company after an investigation into the death of  a 24-year-old Connecticut native who fell out of a party bus on a Southern California freeway last year.

Christopher Joseph "C.J." Saraceno, whose family lives in Watertown, was ejected from a Ford F-550 party limo bus just north of Universal Studios Boulevard and landed on the Hollywood Freeway at 12:15 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, and was struck by oncoming traffic, according to the the California Highway Patrol.

He died at the scene.

The incident followed a night of partying at a popular North Hollywood bar and sushi restaurant.

Mario Mira, owner of Tokyo Delves, the owner of the North Hollywood restaurant owner that served Saraceno and his friends late on that Saturday said the group of 20 to 30 friends had been celebrating a birthday and he he noticed something a much smaller party bus picked them up than the one that initially dropped them off.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a news release that his office has filed several criminal counts against the owner of Hyros Corporation, a party bus rental company officials said failed repeatedly to maintain safely operational vehicles.

“With the increased popularity of party buses, it is more important than ever that they comply with safety and maintenance laws,” Feuer said in a statement. “My office will take every step we can to assure these buses are safe, including filing cases like this.”

Ayrapet Kasabyan, 42, and Hyros Corporation were each charged with 12 criminal counts, including three counts of failure to comply with an out of service order; three counts of operating an out of service vehicle; three counts of failure to maintain a vehicle in safe condition; failure to maintain a vehicle door in safe condition; failure to maintain vehicle tires in safe condition; and failure to keep
maintenance or inspection records.

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office also filed a probation violation against Hyros Corporation for a case in which the corporation is on probation for false advertising.

Saraceno graduated from Watertown High School in 2007. He attended Tufts University and is remembered back home for his successful hockey career.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Man Killed, Plainfield Woman Injured in Bolton Crash


A 21-year-old Coventry man was killed and a 23-year-old Plainfield woman was seriously injured in a crash on Notch Road in Bolton, near Interstate 384, early this morning.

Police said Emily Mills, 23, of the Wauregan section of Plainfield, and Thomas Hendel, 21, of Coventry, were in a Chevy Tahoe when the driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a guardrail just before 2 a.m.

The state police news release says Mills is the owner of the vehicle, but it is not clear who was driving.

Mills and Hendel were both thrown from the vehicle. Hendel died from his injuries, state police said.

Mills suffered pelvis and rib injuries, according to state police.

The intersection of Routes 6 and 44 was closed and all traffic on I-384 East was being forced off at exit 5, but the road has reopened.

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information to call state police at 860-465-5400 and ask for Trooper Lovell. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

West Haven High School Teacher on Administrative Leave


A high school teacher in West Haven has been placed on paid administrative leave because of what officials are calling a “personnel matter,” and the school superintendent said the district is conducting an internal investigation into his conduct.

Michael Golinski, who is listed on the West Haven High School Web site as a math teacher, was placed on paid leave Monday, Sept. 15, according to Supt. Neil Cavallaro.

Cavallaro would not elaborate on the details surrounding the incident but said he believes a police investigation was also conducted. The results of that investigation are unclear.

Golinski, who is beginning his third year with the school district, has just been named the girls’ soccer coach at Bailey Middle School, but is not coaching while he is on leave, according to Cavallaro.

Cavallaro said Golinski also coaches youth leagues in town and added that he plans to sit down with the teacher one-on-one.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire, Propane Explosion Destroys East Hampton Home


Community members are rallying around an East Haven family whose home was destroyed Friday morning by a fire and propane explosion.

Fire officials said a police officer noticed smoke coming from the home on Ola Avenue around 10 a.m. Friday. When firefighters arrived, the house was already engulfed in flames.

One of two propane tanks behind the home exploded in the fire, and the second 100-pound tank was vented to prevent a second explosion.

Homeowner Karen Clark also owns a local business called Paul and Sandy, which is known for its Pumpkintown USA Halloween display.

"Life can change in a matter of minutes," Clark said after the fire. "I knew that my animals were in there, but I reminded myself that my husband, myself and my two kids are safe and sound."

Fortunately, neither Clark nor her family was injured.

Community members began collecting donations within hours of the fire. A GoFundMe page set up for the family's benefit has already collected almost $4,000.

"You help others because it's the right thing to do, and that's why I've done it," said Clark, who also raises money for breast cancer research. "You never thought you would have to be on the receiving end."

Drug Making Caused Middletown Explosion: Police


Police believe an explosion at a Middletown home on Thursday night was caused by people manufacturing drugs and they seized more than $75,000 worth of narcotics.

Police responded to 34 Mulberry Lane on Thursday after receiving several 911 calls reporting an explosion and noted the heavy smell of marijuana.

Inside the home, police and firefighters found marijuana residue in a glass dish at the site of the explosion occurred, police said.

That was just the beginning of what police would find.

They seized almost 13-and-a-half pounds of marijuana, .16 ounces of Molly, l.07 ounces of Psilocybin Mushrooms, 2-and-a-half pounds of butane hash oil, .88 pound of hash and 96 doses of LSD, which are believe to be worth around $75,000 on the streets.

Police arrested John Rebello, 28, Louis Rebello, 31, and Robert Goral, 36, on several drug charges.
They are all due in court on Friday.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

Harwinton Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash


A 55-year-old Harwinton man was killed in a motorcycle crash on Friday morning.

Police said James Chasse was driving his 2005 Kawasaki ZR750 east on Lead Mine Brook Road at 6:15 a.m. when he lost control of the bike at Lenor Road and hit a tree, according to state police. 

An ambulance transported him to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital and Chasse was pronounced dead at approximately 6:46 a.m., police said.

Police are investigating and ask anyone with information to call the Harwinton Resident Trooper, at 860-485-1421.

Teacher Accused of 5 Sex Assaults


A northern New Jersey high school teacher who was accused of sexually assaulting three 15-year-old students is now being accused of assaulting two more students, authorities say.

Nicole Dufault,  35,of Caldwell, was arrested Wednesday night for the alleged assaults inside Columbia High School in Maplewood and in her car since last year, the Essex County prosecutor's office said. The students were allegedly assaulted during the summer months and the school year, authorities said.

Dufault pleaded not guilty to charges involving the initial three students Friday morning. It wasn't clear when she would be arraigned on the additional charges.

Authorities said the additional two students did not just come forward; rather, "we just reached the stage in the investigation where the charges involved these students could be added," according to the prosecutor's office. 

Dufault was being held on $500,000 bail at the Essex County Correctional Facility and police say they removed two children from her custody.

Information on Dufault's attorney wasn't immediately available.

The investigation began with school officials, who then flagged law enforcement, according to the prosecutor's office. 

Board of Education president Elizabeth Daugherty said in a statement Friday that the allegations "deeply disturbing," but declined to discuss how the investigation began, citing confidentiality rules. 

Daugherty said the board and the administration will cooperate with authorities in their investigation. 

Some parents were stunned by the news of the teacher's arrest Thursday and went to the school in search of information.

"We need to know what happened, when it happened and why it happened," said one mother who did not want to give her name. She said when she called the high school for answers, the person who picked up hung up on her. 

"That's not acceptable," she said. 

No one answered Dufault's home door Thursday, but a neighbor said she saw the mother of two young boys being taken away in handcuffs and is shocked by the accusation.

"I feel for the family," the neighbor said. 

Prosecutors say Dufault is a language arts teacher and has worked at the school for nine years.

The school was offering counseling and other assistance.

Follow Ida Siegal on Twitter @idasiegal4NY

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Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Doctor Sentenced to 14 Years for Sexually Assaulting Patients


A Glastonbury doctor learned his fate in court today after he was convicted of sexually assaulting 18 patients at the Community Health Center in Clinton, where he practiced.

Dr. Tory Westbrook, whose medical license was revoked in 2012 after the allegations came to light, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison and 15 years of probation. He'll be eligible for probation after serving about half his sentence.

The court found him guilty on all counts of second- and fourth-degree sexual assault after Westbrook inappropriately touched more than a dozen female patients during exams.

It was an emotional day for everyone involved.

“I can’t hold my daughter anymore. I can’t kiss her, I can’t even touch her because of what happened to her,” said the father of one victim. "He not only ruined her life, he ruined my life, he ruined my wife's life, he ruined my other daughter's life."

State’s Attorney Peter McShane said nine victims delivered emotionally charged testimony during the proceedings and others crowded into the packed gallery, seeking justice.

“For the first time during this entire procedure, they felt empowered,” McShane said. "They were able to stand up in court, look at the defendant and tell him the impact that it had upon them."

Many shed tears in the courtroom, as did Westbrook when his sister and others friends and family members spoke on his behalf. For his part, Westbrook read a statement expressing extreme remorse.

“With every fiber of my being and God as my witness, I am truly sorry,” Westbrook said. “Every day, I pray for forgiveness.”

Victims thought Westbrook’s sentence too lenient, but the defense believes otherwise.

“The sentence was significant, in our view, harsh,” said defense attorney Norm Pattis.

The judge, on the other hand, said the punishment fit the crimes, adding that more than 50 victims came forward to share their stories.

Westbrook could have faced a maximum of 44 years behind bars.

Local Islamic Community Condemns ISIS


As the violence continues in the Middle East, local Islamic leaders are speaking out against ISIS.

“We want to make sure the Islamic community’s voice is heard specifically on this issue of ISIS,” said Mongi Dhaouadi, executive director of the Council of American-Islamic Relations in Connecticut. “We condemn the actions of ISIS they do not represent the Muslim community in any way shape or form. That we are disgusted and horrified by the images that we saw.”

At a news conference in Hartford on Friday, the resident Imam, Kashif Abdul-Karim, called the group morally bankrupt.

“Acts of violence committed against religious minorities and against local populations in Iraq and Syria are in direct contradiction of Islamic Principals and Geneva conventions which mandate the clearly protection of all citizens and prisoners of war,” he said.

He said peace must come through diplomacy.

Hospitals Await Enterovirus Test Results


As Enterovirus D68 continues to spread around the country, doctors in Connecticut have confirmed one case of the disease and are still awaiting results to determine whether other patients have been infected.

“If we can give them the name of the virus their child has, it’s much more satisfying than saying, ‘Your child has a virus,’” explained Dr. Chris Carroll, pediatric intensivist at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

Connecticut Children’s and Danbury Hospital have submitted samples from possible patients to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and officials from the state Department of Public Health say Enterovirus D68 is suspected at five Connecticut hospitals.

“We’ve treated probably dozens of children with the enterovirus that have symptoms of enterovirus,” Carroll said.

Cases of Enterovirus D68 have been confirmed in 22 states, and since Connecticut already has a confirmed case, further CDC testing could be delayed.

“The first priority is to test specimens from states that haven’t documented this before,” said Dr. Matthew Carter, state epidemiologist and director of the Connecticut Emerging Infections Program. “Connecticut now has a positive, so we’re not on the top of the list.”

In the meantime, Carter is urging parents to pay close attention to symptoms when their children are sick.

“Wheezing, difficulty breathing and tiredness is what I would look for,” Carter recommends.

Since the virus is relatively new, it’s still uncertain how it will progress and whether it will spread throughout the state.

“Exactly how this is going to go for Connecticut, we really don’t know yet,” Carter said. “There is a lot we don’t know about this virus.”

Nonetheless, doctors are reassuring residents and say there’s nothing to fear.

“Treatment doesn’t change,” said Carroll. “There’s no reason to panic. Good hand washing and good hygiene is what’s going to prevent the spread of any disease, including enterovirus.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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