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Tree Cleared From Route 63 in Falls Village


In the aftermath of the first major snowstorm of the season, crews cleared a fallen tree from Route 63 in the Falls Village section of Canaan Thanksgiving morning.

The tree fell across the roadway near Barnes Road. Department of Transportation crews responded to chop up the tree and clear it from the roadway.

Power was temporarily shut off in the area.

The road has reopened.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

Record Online Sales Expected on Thanksgiving Day


If you’re looking for a holiday bargain, help yourself to seconds of turkey or another slice of pumpkin pie and turn on your computer, according to one online shopping survey.

Online prices are predicted to hit bottom on Thursday, lower than on any other day of the holiday shopping season including Black Friday, says the Adobe Systems Inc.’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping Forecast.

Record online sales of $1.35 billion are expected on Thanksgiving Day, an increase of 27 percent over last year. Black Friday meanwhile could be the fastest growing online sales day at $2.48 billion, a rise of 15 percent. Among the gifts that shoppers might be looking for, according to social media: iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, PlayStation 4 and the “Call of Duty” video game.

Plus those online prices are expected to match in-store prices except for specific Black Friday promotions and inventory clearances, according to the forecast, which was published this month.

A survey by Nerd Wallet, the personal finance website, found that many of the same Black Friday deals are offered year to year. That might not matter for luggage or Christmas trees but could mean less than good buys for year-old electronics or appliances, the web sites notes.

“Consumers are cottoning on to these clever tactics and so over time they are less likely to be fooled,” said Priya Raghubir, the chair of the marketing department at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business in New York City. “And if they’re less likely to be fooled, the magic of Black Friday pretty much starts getting lost.”

The sales are meant to snap consumers out of any tendency to put off shopping until the last minute, Raghubir said.

“They give you a reason to get out in the cold and start spending money,” she said.

“Consumers love getting a deal or at least feeling they’ve got a deal, feeling smart, feeling that they are in control,” she said.

About 45 percent of consumers plan to shop on Thanksgiving Day, a survey by the New York based-consulting company Accenture found. Sixty-one percent of Americans or more than 140 million shoppers say they will be in the stores over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to the National Retail Federation.

Best Buy is among the retail chains that will open by 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Other include Toys R Us and J.C. Penney. Target, Sears, Kohl's and Macy's will all open at 6 p.m. and Kmart will keep its doors open for 42 hours straight. Radio Shack will open at 8 a.m., however, after workers complained about the early hour, the electronics retailer decided to close between noon and 5 p.m.

J.C. Penney spokesman Joey Thomas said that when chain opened on Thanksgiving for the first time last year, the response from customers was overwhelmingly positive. Giveaways and other activities are planned to show staff members that their work is appreciated, Thomas said.

“Additionally, local store leaders recognize the importance of work-life balance when staffing regular and seasonal associates, and give priority to those who volunteer for holiday shifts,” Thomas said. “Hourly associates will receive time and a half for hours worked on Thanksgiving Day.”

Macy’s noted that there were 15,000 people in line for its Herald Square store in Manhattan last year at 8 p.m., a record. The large majority of shifts were filled voluntarily, according to Holly Thomas, a spokeswoman for the stores.

In contrast, Nordstrom will remain closed on Thanksgiving.

“Over the years, our tradition has been to be closed on Thanksgiving so we are able to unveil our holiday trim the following morning,” said spokesman Dan Evans Jr.

Dismay over the early shopping led 32-year-old Brian Rich of Boise, Idaho, a marketing coordinator at a credit union, to start a Facebook page called “Boycott Black Thursday.”

“The best way to stop this is for everyone to stop shopping on Thanksgiving,” he said.

Twenty-five-year-old Danielle Mesisca quit her job at Kohl’s in New York City rather than work on Thanksgiving. The single mother, who has a day job working for New York City, said she would not object if Black Friday started at midnight or later.

“I feel like working a minimum wage job on a holiday is not worth it,” she said. “Thanksgiving is that one day your entire family gets together to spend time together. I shouldn't have to be forced to work and miss time with my family so other people can shop.”

Kohl’s did not immediately respond for comment.

With sales beginning earlier, and uncertainty about when the best deals are to be found, Black Friday does offer one guarantee: long lines of other shoppers, Raghubir said.

“But yes there will certainly be the buzz also,” she said. “You’ll be with all these other shoppers who are also very excited at having got a deal.”

That excitement is one reason 28-year-old Sy Paulson, a general manager at a Best Buy store in New York City said he did not mind working over the holiday. He typically has his meal the weekend before or a few days afterward and works both Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

“This is my tenth Black Friday at Best Buy,” he said. “I get a lot of retail adrenaline. It’s a fun time. It kicks off the holiday season.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

I-91 Multi-Car Crash Cleared


Icy conditions following the first major snowstorm of the season caused a multi-car crash on Interstate 91 south in Hartford Thursday morning.

All lanes were closed temporarily near the crash site by exit 29A, but the crash has since been cleared.

The Department of Transportation responded to sand the highway and wreckers were also on scene.

There's no word on whether there were any injuries.

Photo Credit: DOT

Two Injured After Disturbance in New London Home


Two people were hospitalized after an assault incident at a New London home early morning on Thanksgiving.

Police responded to a report of a residential disturbance at 3:45 a.m. and found an assault victim with minor injuries, police said.

The person was treated at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London and a victim came to the hospital to be treated for serious injuries from the same incident, police said. The injuries weren't life-threatening.

Police said that both people involved in the disturbance know each other. The identities and genders of the individuals have not been released

Officers are investigating the incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bristol Brothers Playing Drums at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade


Two Bristol brothers are living out their dream of playing drums together at Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on Thursday  in New York City.

Simon and Philip Andrews have been playing music since they were babies and now play together with the Bristol Central High School band. But on Thanksgiving they're playing together in the national spotlight.

“For me the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is like an all-star game for a professional basketball player,” Philip Andrews said.

Philip Andrews, a senior, played the drum during the parade last year, and now, after passing a difficult auditioning process, his brother Simon is joining him.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Simon Andrews said.

Band director John Abucewicz, who has taught at Bristol Central High School for more than a decade, said the Andrews brothers are his first students to ever to play in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“Students from all over the country audition for something like this,” Abucewicz said. "So to have two students from one school go, that’s pretty special, and brothers no less.”

Snowstorm Doesn't Halt Manchester Road Race


Snow hasn't stopped as many as 15,000 runners, many in costume, from participating in the Manchester Road Race Thanksgiving morning.

Despite the first major snowstorm of the season Wednesday, the race went on as scheduled.

Organizers worked around the clock to deal with one of the biggest snowstorms in race history and clear the course.

There were no changes to the route.

The race stepped off at 10 a.m. More information is available on the race website.

Power Outages Stall Thanksgiving Cooking in Terryville


A few turkeys in Terryville went into ovens a little later than usual this Thanksgiving. That's because the snow from the first major winter storm of the season caused a tree to collapse on Town Hill Road, falling on power lines and knocking out power to the neighborhood for a few hours.

Town Hill Road is closed in the Terryville section of Plymouth as crews work to clear the tree and wires from the roadway near 256 Town Hill Road.

While many residents had their generators ready, they said those weren't enough to get a head start on cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

"Some things won't run like the oven," Kelly Olmstead, of Terryville, said.

Others are changing their plans.

Terryville resident Jim Stowe said he was "supposed to be cookin' a turkey, but that's not happening today." Instead he said he and his family are taking his mom out for dinner.

 The Connecticut Light and Power outage map was not showing any power outages in Plymouth at 12:13 p.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Restaurant Serves Free Thanksgiving Meals to People in Need


The line was out the door at Christopher Martins Restaurant in New Haven on Thanksgiving as homeless individuals and working people struggling financially came to the business for turkey dinners.

Every year, the restaurant at 860 State Street in New Haven gives out free full three-course Thanksgiving dinners to those in need. Last year, the restaurant served 480 people and this year the business expected to dole out as many as 500 meals with the help of volunteers.

The restaurant opened its doors at 11 a.m. to serve the Thanksgiving dinners through 3 p.m..

Christopher Martins also began accepting donations on Nov. 24, including canned goods, toiletries, clean blankets and winter clothing for home packages to give the guests.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Restaurant Breakfast Proceeds Benefit Charity


It wasn't your typical Thanksgiving breakfast at Chip's Family Restaurant in Orange Thursday.

Each breakfast represented a donation made to the Kisses from Katie fund, a Milford-based non-profit that provides resources to critically ill children, their families and caregivers.

"It's overwhelming, it really is," said William Anderson, of Milford, who is the grandfather of Katie Manning, who lost her life in 2008 to a congenital heart defect.

“Being the grandfather and having to go through this with the family and everyone else, it’s very heart wrenching and it’s great to be able to give back to Yale and how good they were," he said.

Chip's Family Restaurant owner Dina Chatzopoulos wanted to help the cause.

“Everyone has a soft spot for kids and I have children myself, so it’s important that we help out people, where we know where the money is going to," she said. "....Thanksgiving is the day to give, everyone, my staff were all very excited."

The full breakfast was $12 and all of the profits went to the charity, including some tips from the wait staff who donated.

“Well, I decided to donate some of my tips today. It goes to a good cause and it goes to people in need," waiter Joe Petrillo, of Orange, said.

Anderson said the fundraiser was "especially great because of the holidays and everything."

"It makes you feel good to see other people giving back and doing what they can," he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Robbery Suspect Had Child, 3, With Him: State Police


State police arrested a bank robbery suspect in Tolland on Wednesday who had a 3-year-old in the car with him at the time.

Joseph Cormier, 31, of Stafford, was driving westbound on Interstate 84 in Tolland when a detective in the Eastern District Major Crime Squad and state troopers stopped his car. It matched the description of a vehicle connected to the robbery of First Niagara Bank at 11 Phelps Way in Willington, state police said.

State police located the car after responding to a 911 call from the bank about an active robbery and searching the area. A 3-year-old child was in the car with Cormier when he was apprehended, state police said.

Troopers seized evidence tied to the robber and recovered "a large amount" of cash.

Cormier was charged with second-degree robbery, second-degree larceny and risk of injury and held in custody on a $100,000 cash/surety bond.

He is scheduled to appear in Rockville Superior Court on Friday at Nov. 28 at 9:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Black Friday Store Hours


After your Thanksgiving dinner is over, several stores will open early with Black Friday sales.

Here's the list of Thanksgiving and Black Friday hours at some box stores this holiday weekend:

  • Best Buy: Thursday, 8 p.m.
  • Costco: Friday, 9 a.m.
  • K-Mart: Thursday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., Friday from 6 a.m. to noon
  • Kohl's: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Macy's: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Sears: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Target: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Toys R Us: Thursday, 6 p.m.
  • Walmart: Thursday, 6 p.m.

Hamden Police Seek Home Invaders


Hamden police are looking for two men who robbed a Hamden home on Beacon Street on Tuesday night and attacked a 20-year-old resident.

The victim opened the door thinking it was his mother and two strangers barged inside and attacked him at about 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 25, police said. One of the men had a gun and pistol-whipped the victim and then a struggle ensued.

Nothing was reported stolen, but the two men ran from the scene, police said.

Hamden Fire Rescue officials treated the victim at the scene for minor injuries and abrasions, police said.

Police said the two men were likely between 25 and 30 years old and were wearing dark sweatshirts.

Police ask anyone with information to call Det. William Onofrio at 203-230-4040.

New Haven Church Provides Meals to Those in Need


For over one hundred years, the Church of God and Saints of Christ in New Haven has been feeding the community.

Organizers say they do it because they want to be good neighbors and give back.

“That’s what we all have to do. You have to count your blessings and then share it,” said volunteer Regina Whiterspoon.

Pastor Jerald Barber says this is a longstanding tradition that started over 108 years ago. He says the number of people they feed increases every year. This year, the church provided 501 free meals, cooked, served and delivered by volunteers.

Hartford Firefighters Feed Families Displaced by Fire


It has been two weeks since dozens of people lost everything in a fire that tore through their Hamilton St. apartment building. Today they got the Thanksgiving dinner every family deserves, courtesy of the Hartford Fire Department.

“The last time they saw us we were running into their home that was on fire, so to see us outside of work meant a lot to them,” said Firefighter Louis Arroyo. “It also meant a lot to us.”

With the help of Shoprite the firefighters took to the kitchen cooking the all the turkey and trimmings themselves.

“We had four turkeys two were baked, two were fried. We had some stuffing, some gravy, some corn and some green beans,” said Arroyo.

That is the same kind of menu the department dropped off earlier in the week to others across the area. The lined up frozen turkeys on their trucks and then delivered them to 12 families hit a little harder over the holidays.

“It was just a lot of hugs, a lot of ‘thank yous.’ It is a good feeling all around,” said Arroyo.

Today the Hartford Fire Department wasn’t the only ones looking to help out Hamilton. At Suso Latino Basket in Manchester, dinner was on them.

“I just wanted to give something back,” said owner, Suso Seoane.

The families affected say its simple acts of kindness like these that are keeping them thankful.

“This is amazing. For someone to just see our story and open their restaurant for us and cook us dinner when we don’t have a place to cook our dinner is just tremendous,” said Michelle Peterson.

Structure Fire in Brooklyn


Firefighters are on scene at 399 Windham Road in Brooklyn, CT.

A Brooklyn fire dispatcher confirmed crews were called to the scene about 8:30 p.m. Thursday for a reported structure fire in the Mortland Lake fire district. Five departments are on scene.

It was not immediately clear if the building was occupied or if any injuries occured.

Check back for updates. 

Police Arrest Fugitive Wanted in Sex Assault Case


Police apprehended a wanted sexual assault suspect in New York City who fled Connecticut 14 years ago.

A West Hartford detective located fugitive Raymond Albert Rodriguez, who was wanted on two counts of second-degree sexual assault. A victim, 15 at the time, filed a complaint against him while he was 19 that led to a warrant for his arrest.

New York Police Department Special Victims Unit officers helped take Rodriguez into custody in the Bronx, police said.

Police are holding Rodriguez in custody on a $75,000 surety bond and he is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 4.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police Department

Game Suspended Due to Shots Fired Nearby


Gunshots fired Thursday prompted officials to suspend a Thanksgiving high school football game in Bridgeport.

Bridgeport detectives are investigating gunshots fired near Boston and Central avenues in Bridgeport at about 11:15 p.m. The shooting happened near a football game between Warren Harding and Central high schools at Warren Harding's stadium, so officials postponed the game.

Police have not found anyone who was injured or a victim, but are calling local hospitals to see if anyone was brought in for treatment. Officers found shell casings in the area.

The gunshots were not fired at the football game, police said.

No arrests have been made at this time. The incident remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Boys in NY Building Snow Fort Buried By Plow: Police


UPDATE: New York Boys Buried in Snow Pile Heard Rescuers Calling

Two New York boys were trapped under a several feet of snow for hours after being accidentally buried by a plow on Wednesday, police say.

The boys, ages 9 and 11, were building a snow fort in a mound at a parking lot near a Newburgh apartment complex when a plow clearing the lot pushed more powder onto the pile, trapping the boys underneath, police say.

Police say the plow operator was clearing snow from the opposite side of the mound and wouldn't have known know he had buried the children.

The boys, who are cousins, were trapped under 6 or 7 feet of snow for hours in sub-freezing temperatures, police say, and one of their mothers set out looking for them when they didn't return by about 10 p.m. When she and other family members couldn't find the boys, they called police to report them missing.

Officers canvased the apartment complex for the cousins, knocked on doors and interviewed other children in the neighborhood. They eventually learned that the cousins had been building a snow fort in the parking lot of a health center near the apartment complex.

One officer went to the health center and found a shovel half-buried in the snow mound. He grabbed it and started digging, eventually unearthing a small snow boot.

The officer called for help and police, EMS workers and community members started digging for the boys. Some had shovels, while other clawed at the snow with bare hands. They eventually freed both of the children at about 2 a.m. Thursday.

Both boys were conscious but were taken to the hospital for exposure to the cold.

One of the officers who helped dig the boys out, Sgt. Aaron Weaver, described a frantic scene as he and others tried to free the boys.

"It was all just really adrenaline," Weaver said. " I wasn't thinking much. Just trying to get to the kids."

One of the boy's mothers thanked Newburgh Police for saving the children in an Instagram post Thursday. 

"Today I am thankful my son and nephew are here and I would like to thank the Newburgh Police Officers who found my nephew and my son after searching for them," she said. "They found them at 2 am stuck in a huge snowpile that trapped them for several hours so I am very thankful today to have these two safe at home alive."

Newburgh had more than 6 inches of snow on Wednesday.

Best Buy's Website Back Up After Black Friday Outage


Best Buy's website was back up after suffering an extended outage on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year.

"A concentrated spike in mobile traffic triggered issues that led us to shut down BestBuy.com in order to take proactive measures to restore full performance," Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter said in a statement. "Our consumers can return to BestBuy.com in the next several hours to take advantage of today's door busters."

On Thanksgiving morning the website was experiencing issues at around 9 a.m. as well, CNBC reported.

Best Buy attempted to one-up retail competitors this year by opening stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving day, providing tickets up to two hours before the doors open. Special sales in-stores included a 50-inch Panasonic TV for only $199.99. Other deals, online and in-store, included discounted GoPros, Dell Laptops, and Samsung UHD TVs.

Best Buy’s Black Friday slogan coined the term “door busters” for customers taking advantage of these deals when the stores opened, but it looks like “website busters” may be more appropriate. 

Burger King Owner Finds $100K


It's not unusual for things to be left behind at Altaf Chaus' Burger King. Customers have forgotten their cell phones and their laptops in the past.

But on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, someone left behind a nondescript blue backpack, which sat on a table at the Bascom Avenue fast food store in San Jose, California, for hours. Chaus' employee noticed it and notified him about the forgotten bag.

"Out of curiosity," Chaus opened the bag to look for an ID or a phone number. Inside? Ten stacks of $10,000 bills, totaling $100,000.

"I was shocked," he said. "There was a stack of hundred dollar bills wrapped in rubber bands. I called police."

Officer came by his restaurant that evening to retrieve it, and told him that if it wasn't returned in six months, that he'd be eligible to get the cash. The bag also had an ATM card, some phone numbers, a bag of marijuana and a "white rock" in it, that possibly could have been drugs, Chaus said. San Jose Police Sgt. Heather Randol confirmed the account on Friday adding that police don't have very many leads on who it belongs to.

Whether it's drug money or cash that was earned legitimately, Chaus said he won't keep the money if it ever comes back to him.

As a Muslim, he said, he lives by the expression that "if you don't sweat, it's not yours."

He said that he's worked two jobs since moving the United States and believes in the value of hard work.

"God has given me a good life, and I'm happy with that," he said. "I might donate the money to needy people...I think you should do the right thing."

Photo Credit: Michael Horn
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