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Reward Offered in Meriden Dog Abuse Case


When Snowflake, a 1-year-old Maltese/Poodle mix, was found near the Community Health Center in Meriden last week, she was malnourished, in distress and in pain because of an elastic band embedded in her snout.

In the days since police shared Snowflake's story, the amount of concern for her has been overwhelming, according to Meriden police, and someone has come forward with a $500 reward for tips leading to the arrest of the person who abused the dog.

The donor is choosing to remain anonymous.

Police said the elastic around Snowflake's snout had been there for awhile, preventing her from opening her mouth she will need surgery and plenty of time to recover.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to pay for Snowflake's medical bills. As of 9:30 a.m., $665 had been donated toward the $2,500 goal.

Meriden Police are hoping that anyone who recognizes the dog will call the Animal Control Office, who is trying to find the dog’s owner.

If you have information, call Animal Control Officer Kline or Animal Control Officer Bacon at (203) 235-4179.

Photo Credit: Meriden Police
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Police Respond to School Bus Crash in Hartford


Police are responding to Bodwell Street in Hartford after a school bus hit a pole.

Twelve students were on the bus. No injuries are reported.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Soldiers to Return Home from Afghanistan


Some Connecticut soldiers are coming home today, just in time to spend the holidays with family.

Nine soldiers from the 242nd Engineer Detachment Construction Management Team of Niantic are coming home after a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.


The unit left Connecticut in February to go to Fort Bliss in Texas for further training, then to Afghanistan, where they provided project management and technical support to deconstruct and consolidate coalition operating bases.

This is the first deployment for the 242nd Detachment, which received its federal recognition as a unit in September 2011.

The Connecticut National Guard now has 23 soldiers and airmen deployed to Southwest Asia and approximately 225 additional Connecticut National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are expected to deploy overseas in the next 15 months to Kosovo and Guantanamo Bay Cuba.  

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Firefighters Respond to Fire in Avon


Firefighters are responding to a fire on Reverknolls Drive in Avon this morning.

No additional information was available on the address.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Cab Driver Robbed at Knifepoint in Hamden


Police are looking for the man who stabbed and robbed a cab driver in Hamden on Monday night.

The taxi driver had picked the man up from Union Station in New Haven and was taking him to Mill Rock Road in Hamden, when the passenger pulled a knife at Newhall Street and Mill Rock Road, held it to the driver’s chest and demanded money, police said.

The robber ran off with money and was described as 6-feet-2 with a medium build and “facial scruff,” police said.

Police responded to Mill Rock Road at 9 p.m. after receiving a report of the robbery and said the taxi driver suffered minor lacerations to his hands.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Donald Remillard at (203) 230-4040.

Scene Clear After Multicar Crash on Berlin Turnpike


Police responded to a multicar crash on the southbound side of the Berlin Turnpike, near Home Depot in Berlin, on Tuesday morning, but the scene has since cleared.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Domino's Employee Robbed and Attacked Near Quinnipiac


A Domino’s pizza delivery man was robbed at gunpoint and assaulted after delivering pizza to Quinnipiac University early Tuesday morning.

Police said a woman pretended to need help and lured the victim, who suffered a head injury during the attack and robbery.

Investigators went to the York Hill Campus of Quinnipiac at 305 Sherman Avenue around 1 a.m. to investigate the report of an armed robbery and learned that a 25 year-old man had delivered a pizza to someone on campus and was leaving the driveway when he saw a woman at the bottom of the driveway to campus screaming for help and stopped to help her, police said.

As he was trying to provide assistance, a man dressed all in black appeared, approached him, pointed a gun at his head and demanded his personal belongings, police said.

The robber dragged the deliveryman out of his car, forced him to his knees, hit him three times in the head with the gun, then stole his money, cell phone and car keys.

The robber, the female who originally screamed for help and another man then fled in a green van.

The Hamden Police Detective Division is investigating.

Police Arrest Suspect in Teen Sex Assault


West Haven police have arrested a New Haven man accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl.

Police said a 15-year-old girl went to police in May to report that Lamar Moore, 28, had sexually assaulted her. On Tuesday, West Haven Police and the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force apprehended him.

The warrant charges Moore with second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury to a minor and violation of probation.

Police said Moore fled the area when detectives began investigating and obtained warrants, but the U.S. Marshals tracked him down.

Moore is being held on $350,000 bond and is due in court today.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police

Ice Caused Problems on Route 9 in Haddam


Ice caused problems on Route 9 in Haddam on Tuesday morning and contributed to a rollover and a truck getting stuck on a bridge, according to the fire department.

The Haddam Volunteer Fire Company posted on its Facebook page that patches of ice contributed to a rollover around 8 a.m. on Route 9 South.

The driver was transported to Middlesex Hospital.

Around 8:45 a.m., a semi-truck got stuck on a nearby bridge, which caused backups and traffic had to come off the highway at exit 9.

Photo Credit: Haddam Volunteer Fire Company

Man Accused of Injuring 3-Year-Old-Boy


A 29-year-old New Britain man has been arrested, accused of injuring a 3-year-old boy and sending him to the hospital.

Police said they responded to a New Britain home on Nov. 27 to assist with a medical call for a 3-year-old boy who was not breathing and identified Kutaieba Alsamman, 29, of New Britain, as the person who injured the child.

Police arrested him on Tuesday in connection with the case and charged him with first-degree assault, risk of injury to a child and intimidating a witness. The arrest warrant has been sealed, but police said the victim was known to Alsamman.

The little boy’s current condition is not known.

Alsamman was arraigned on Monday and he is being held on a $750,000 bond. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police

Open House for CTfastrak Postponed


The open house meeting planned to show off the new CTfastrak bus service has been postponed until January because of today’s weather.

The state Department of Transportation planned to hold the open house at Central Connecticut State University, but it will not happen.

The next open house will be held on Wednesday night in Elmwood.

Meeting Schedule:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 10: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Elmwood Community Center, 1106 New Britain Avenue in West Hartford
  • Monday, Dec. 15: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Newington High School, 605 Willard Avenue in Newington
  • Wednesday, Dec. 17: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Waterbury City Hall, 235 Grand Street in Waterbury
  • Tuesday, Jan. 13: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Southington Municipal Center, 196-200 N. Main Street in Southington
  • Wednesday, Jan. 14: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Plainville Library, 56 E. Main Street in Plainville
  • Wednesday, Jan. 21: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Cheshire Town Hall, 84 S. Main Street in Cheshire
  • Thursday, Jan. 22: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Bristol Library, 5 High Street in Bristol

Special Delivery: Baby Born Mid-Air


A woman gave birth mid-air Tuesday on a Southwest Airlines flight from San Francisco to Phoenix, forcing the plane to be diverted to Los Angeles.

A doctor and a nurse who happened to be on board Flight 623 assisted family and flight crew with the delivery, Southwest spokeswoman Emily Samuels said.

The plane landed safely at LAX at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning. Los Angeles fire crews were there to take mother and child to the hospital, the airport said.

The aircraft was taken out of service for cleaning, and the other passengers went on to Phoenix aboard another plane, arriving more than two hours behind schedule.

The mother and child are reportedly doing fine.

Samuels said the remaining 111 passengers have continued on to Phoenix.

Passenger Charlie Reeve took to Twitter to react to the occasion:

"So...a lady just delivered a baby mid flight to Phoenix. That was a first for me."

The Southwest spokeswoman says the airline hopefully has a new customer for life.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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Man Robs Bristol Bank


Bristol police are investigating a bank robbery at Webster Bank in Bristol.

A masked man implied he had a gun and stole an undetermined amount of money from the bank branch at 797 Pine Street at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, police said.

He ran from the scene and police are still looking for him.

No one was injured.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Simsbury Selectmen Reverse Pay Cut Decision


While Simsbury selectmen voted to reverse its decision about a pay cut to the first selectman's position, First Selectman Mary Glassman said at a meeting Monday that she will still be stepping down.

The Board of Selectmen acknowledged the resignation of Glassman, who's served as first selectman for 16 years, and swore in sitting Selectman Lisa Heavner (D) to take the helm.

"By being here tonight, you have sent a signal that in our town and in every town, people need to pay attention to the decisions being made, to be involved and to help make sure good decisions are made and to speak out when you see something's wrong," Glassman said at the meeting.

Glassman resigned last week after the Board of Selectmen voted to cut her salary from $113,000 to $75,000 next summer, calling the decision from the largely Republican board, "personal and political." She remains in office for now and her resignation is effective Jan. 2, 2015.

Heavner will finish out Glassman's term, starting Jan. 3.

The board reconsidered their decision to reduce the salary for the first selectman's position this coming summer after a petition on Moveon.org asked the selectmen to reverse the decision and an uproar in the community over the news.

"Our voices and our votes have been extinguished," Simsbury resident Lisa Yeisley said.

Glassman made her decision to resign out of objection for the process, previously stating that she approved of the pay cut for the position effective the next election, not mid-term. She made an emotional speech at the meeting.

Meanwhile there was a call from the public for Deputy First Selectman Nancy M. Haase and Selectmen Cheryl B. Cook and Mike R. Paine to resign instead and a question was raised about impeaching board members. 

Pilgrim the Pup Gets New Family


After a long journey, Pilgrim the pup has landed at a new home and he has a new name – Darby.

The blonde cocker spaniel was found abandoned outside a Connecticut Humane Society shelter in Waterford the week before Thanksgiving, which is how he got his temporary name as Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control put him up for adoption.

Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control shared photos of the dog formerly known as Pilgrim at his new home on Facebook and a post written in his perspective:

"Greetings from Pilgrim!!!! I am in my new home and feeling more relaxed each day," the Facebook post said. "I have a fenced in yard [sic] which I can run around in and check out ALL of the new scents!!!! My new owner is very kind and patient with me, [sic] she throws the ball for me [sic] but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with it!!! Thank you all for thinking of me, [sic] I will try to keep you up to date on my progress. I have also been renamed ~ Darby!!!!"

Pilgrim, now Darby, had been found abandoned the week before Thanksgiving in the freezing cold. His fur was matted, making it hard for him to walk, and the act of relieving himself made the problem worse.

Local groomers from Diesel Dog in Hamden and Oliver's Tails in Old Lyme shaved off the matted fur and cleaned him up.

Animal control officers hosted an adoption event so he could meet new potential parents Thanksgiving weekend. They were selective in finding him a good family.

Photo Credit: Waterford-East Lyme Animal Control

Dogs Die in Avon Fire


Dogs at a home on Waterville Road have died after a fire that broke out on Tuesday, according to the Avon fire marshal's office.

More details were not immediately available.There's no word on whether any people were injured.

Check back for updates.

State Paid Thousands of Dollars to Dead People


If you want to see who received some state benefits back in 2011, you could take a stroll through a local cemetery or even take a look at the obituary pages in the newspaper.

According to a new report from the Auditors of Public Accounts, about $8,000 in state benefits went to people who were dead in 2011. The agency examined 19 beneficiaries at random during the audit and determined that more than half of the 19 were actually dead.

“We found that in two different programs in particular, that people after they were deceased, benefit payments continued to be paid and they didn’t follow up to recoup those payments” said Robert Ward, one of the two main Auditors of Public Accounts.

He estimated that the actual number could be closer to $250,000 if the department examined the Department of Social Services closer.

Ward said there aren’t enough formal checks in place to ensure that money goes where it’s supposed to or to make sure that beneficiaries are even alive.

“They do not have significant internal audit staff that should be looking at these sorts of issues on a regular basis and then addressing the problems.”

Republicans took the news as a way to lobby for more accountability from the state’s social safety net programs like Medicaid.

"The evidence is there now and the state of Connecticut needs to use it” said Rep. Vin Candelora, (R) – Durham.

“I think the audit clearly shows a flagrant disregard to put systems in place to prevent the fraud going forward” he added. “I think what Connecticut needs to do is look at putting a fraud division in place to look at all of our social services."

Ward, who’s office conducted the examination, said simply that the state has to do more to see where the money it doles out is going as a matter of public responsibility.

“I think the public loses faith in government when those things happen and so it’s not only important to address for the public money but also for the public confidence in state programs.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Families Mourn Deadly Plane Crash


The family members of six people killed in a tragic plane crash are beginning to heal, as NTSB investigators work on determining exactly what caused the crash.

A private jet crashed Monday morning in a Gaithersburg, Maryland, neighborhood, killing all three men aboard as well as a mother and her two kids inside a home that caught fire from the crash.

Marie Gemmell, 36, died on the second floor of her home cradling her sons, 7-week-old Devon and 3-year-old Cole.

"No words can describe the enormity of our loss and sadness over yesterday’s tragedy," Marie's husband, Ken, posted on Facebook Tuesday. "We lost Marie, the love of my life and college sweetheart, and our two young, innocent and joyful sons – a loss that no person should ever endure."

The Gemmells' 5-year-old daughter was not home at the time of the crash.

"There will be a lot of grieving over the coming weeks, and we request that the media respect our privacy so I can provide my daughter with some degree of normalcy as we try to re-build," Ken Gemmell's Facebook post read.

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Good Samaritans nationwide helped raise more than $227,000 for the Gemmell family through a GoFundMe page. Damage to their home was estimated at more than $400,000.

Family friend Jill Lyons organized a donation center at Kid's Town Learning Center on Waring Station Drive in Germantown.

"Donations of clothing and toys have just been pouring in. What they're really looking for are gift card donations; quick-serve restaurants, coffee, Rite-Aid, CVS, Wal-Mart," Lyons said.

Meanwhile, friends and strangers alike dropped off mementos and flowers at the crash site. 

"As soon as you drive by it, that's when you just feel it, that's when it hits you and you just break down in tears," neighbor Ariella Rice said.

The three men aboard the plane have been identified as Michael Rosenberg, the 52-year-old CEO of a North Carolina-based biopharma corporation; 66-year-old David Hartman, a vice president at a pharmacology consulting firm; and 31-year-old Chikioke Ogbuka. They were from Raleigh, North Carolina.

School Leader Reprimanded for Reported Inappropriate Comments


A director at an Enfield magnet school has been reprimanded after admitting he made offensive comments to students.

An administrator and a number of students have accused Alvin Schwapp, director of the Capitol Region Education Council's Public Safety Academy, of  unleashing a barrage of inappropriate comments while trying to quiet down a cafeteria full of students.

The incident in question happened at the Enfield academy in October.

According to emails and letters from the students and the administrator that were released by the CREC under a Freedom of Information Act request, Schwapp is accused of calling some students "brown kids" and telling them "you have to be deaf, dumb, disrespectful or deranged."

Schwapp was not suspended after the incident, but CREC's superintendent issued a letter of reprimand saying such language would not be tolerated and ordering him to undergo professional training.

In an email to the school's principal, Schwapp acknowledged using the offensive language and apologized.

When reached by phone in his office at the school, Schwapp referred NBC Connecticut to CREC's communications director. In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, CREC's executive director Bruce Douglas defended Schwapp's character.

"This was an unfortunate and unprofessional incident that represented a moment in time," Douglas said. "We know Mr. Schwapp to be a genuine and decent man, with an outstanding record of service to our nation and to our local community."

But incident has left plenty of Enfield residents and parents outraged.

"That's ridiculous. It's ignorant. Absolutely ignorant," Jason Roeck, of Enfield, said.

Peege Stevens, of Enfield, said, "I think he should not be an educator. Period."

Bruce Vanduzee, of Enfield, expressed shock that language of that nature would come from an administrator.

"That's amazing that someone in a position of authority over our children would speak like that," Vanduzee said.

Some thought the punishment for the incident should be greater.

"I hope he gets more than that. It would be good for him. It's not right," said Stevens.

NBC Connecticut has confirmed Alvin Schwapp was the same person who filed a racial discrimination complaint against the Avon Police Department two decades ago while working there as a police officer. That complaint was settled in the town's favor.

Photo Credit: LinkedIn
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