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Police Dog Helps in $33,000 Marijuana Bust


Drug investigators, with some help from a police dog, made a $33,000 marijuana bust in Milford on Thursday.

Police said they had been investigating Guiseppe Berardi, 28, of the Bronx, New York, since November for suspected drug trafficking and they arrested him just after 2 p.m. on Thursday.

Members of the Milford police department narcotics and vice unit as well as the Bridgeport Drug Enforcement Agency office have been working together on the case and investigators found Berardi on Thursday in Milford, police said.

With help from Cedar, of the Milford Police Department’s K9 unit, detectives found Berardi with around five pounds of high-grade marijuana, police said.

At another a location, detectives seized another six pounds of the same grade marijuana and a 9 mm firearm with ammunition. Together, the marijuana is estimated to be worth about $33,000 on the streets.

Berardi was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana within 1,500 feet of a school, operating a drug factory and criminal possession of a firearm.

Bond was set at $100,000.

Photo Credit: MIlford Police

Couple Arrested After Child Falls from 2nd Floor Window


Police have arrested a couple after the woman’s 1-year-old daughter fell out of a second-floor window in Hamden.

Hamden Police responded to 13 East Gate Lane at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday after receiving a report of a dispute. As they investigated, they learned that the residents, Katelynn Ruff, 25, and Christopher Demange, 30, had gotten into an argument, which escalated into a fight, police said.

Demange’s mother, who lives with the couple, intervened and Ruff allegedly pushed her, police said. Then Demange ran from the home and his mother called Hamden Police.

Moments later, another of Demange’s relatives heard a “thud” against the residence and rushed outside to find a neighbor holding Ruff’s 1 year-old daughter.

The little girl had fallen around 21 feet, but landed on a wet cardboard box, which police believe cushioned the fall.

The child was transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where she us listed in stable condition.

Ruff was charged with first-degree reckless endangerment, risk of Injury to a minor and disorderly conduct.

She was detained on a $10,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden today.

Police found Demange hiding in a wooded area behind the complex. He was charged with risk of injury to a minor, disorderly conduct and violation of a protective order.

She was released after posting a $5,000 bond, is scheduled to appear in court in Meriden today.

Woman Crashes Into House in Middletown


A woman has been taken to the hospital after hitting the foundation of a house in Middletown on Thursday.

Officials said a woman in her 60s had some medical issues, which caused her to hit the foundation of a house on Fowler Avenue.

While there was no significant damage to the house, there was heavy front-end damage to the car.

The woman was taken to Hartford Hospital.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Release Photo of Car Possibly Linked to Arson Case


Police are searching for a car they said was spotted leaving the scene of an arson in New Haven earlier this month.

The car, a Honda Accord with Connecticut license plate 168- ZMA, was seen leaving 107 Warwick Street on Dec. 7, police said. It might have been gold and it was missing a hub cap on the front driver’s side tire, according to police.

Police said the two men who were in the car are of particular interest in this case.

Anyone with information on where the car is or the names of the people of interest should call Detective Michael Torre at 203-946-6304.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police

Boston Bombing Suspect in Court


The man in the orange jumpsuit who appeared in court Thursday is 21-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Seen on video for the first time since his April 2013 arrest, as he’s transported back to Fort Devens prison following his appearance in Federal Court Thursday.

Among those inside the courtroom for Tsarnaev’s last pretrial hearing were Watertown Police Chief Ed Deveaux, injured MBTA Officer Dic Donohue and bombing survivor Marc Fucarile.

"I'm grateful and happy that I’m able to be here, all my supporters have been amazing," said Fucarile.

Tsarnaev received vocal support in court from the mother-in-law of now deceased Waltham triple murder suspect Ibraghim Todashev.
She was escorted out as she was yelling to him in Russian.

"I said in court, 'Dzhokhar you have a lot of supporters, we pray for you, we here for you Dzhokhar, we know you’re innocent, be strong, son,'" said Elena Teyer, Todashev's mother-in-law. "That's what I said.”

Outside court, a small group held signs alleging the bombing was a government conspiracy.

"I've been to every hearing and there's been no evidence," said Karin Friedemann of Boston.

"I don't support terror or terrorism and never would, but I am here supporting his rights as an American citizen," added Valerie Vanetta, who traveled here from Philadelphia.

Fucarile actually walked up to one of the protestors and showed her his prosthetic leg in an effort to silence her.

"I just asked her if she wanted to maybe look at the evidence and then she could make a choice or decision how she felt," he said.

Jury selection begins January 5, 2015.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all 30 federal charges against him.

He faces the death penalty if convicted.

Photo Credit: NECN
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Police ID Suspect in Plymouth Hit-and-Run


Police are searching for the man who they said crashed into a teenage bicyclist on Oct. 25, seriously injuring him, then fled from the scene.

Plymouth police have obtained a warrant for Anthony Hernandez, 29, of Waterbury or Danbury, who is also known as Anthony Gonzalez.

Police say the victim was riding his bike in the area of 85 North Main Street in Terryville when he was struck.

Witnesses reported that a Chrysler minivan traveling north dragged the victim’s bike under the bumper, then the driver took a right onto North Riverside Avenue, a left onto East Plymouth Road and a right onto Matthew Street toward Bristol.

Hernandez is being charged with evading responsibility, reckless driving, failure to drive right, operating under suspension and passing in a no passing zone, according to police.

He is 6-feet-2, weighs 185 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

Hernandez is known to have ties to the Waterbury and Danbury areas.

Anyone with information on where he is should call Plymouth Police Department at immediately.

If you see him, do not try to approach or apprehend him, police said. Contact your local law enforcement agency or the Plymouth Police Department immediately.

The routine number is 860-589-7779 If there is an emergency, please dial 911.

Photo Credit: Plymouth Police

Rubio, GOPers Discuss Cuba


Prominent South Florida Republicans held a news conference Thursday to discuss the new change in policy on U.S.-Cuba relations.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart all spoke at the news conference. They also discussed Wednesday's release of American Alan Gross from a Cuban prison.

Rubio, a Cuban-American, called the opening in diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba a misstep by President Obama.

"It colludes with America's enemies, near and far, to threaten us and everything we hold dear," he said. "But most importantly, the regime's brutal treatment of the Cuban people has continued unabated. Dissidents are harassed, imprisoned and even killed."

Ros-Lehtinen also denounced the policy change.

"The liberalization policies aimed at easing trade and remittances to Cuba is another propaganda coup for the Castro brothers, who will now fill their coffers with more money at the expense of the Cuban people," she said in a statement. "It is quite possible that this unilateral action by the President without Congressional consultation is in violation of the following U.S. laws: Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996, Cuban Democracy Act of 1992, and the Trading with the Enemy Act."

2 Men, 1 Baby Hurt When Van Hits Hartford Building


Two adults and a baby were taken to the hospital after a minivan crashed into a building at the corner of Main Street and Albany Avenue in Hartford, the same place where a fatal crash was reported earlier this year.

According to Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley, the van was driving fast headed southbound on Main Street when it missed the corner and smashed into a building.

Two men were taken away on stretchers and a baby was taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center for treatment. The baby's mother, who was not in the car, is at the hospital with the child, according to police.

Police said investigators found a weapon in the car and expect to make arrests.

Two teens died after their car crashed into this same building last August, according to police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Accused Scotty Killer Twiddles Thumbs in Court


EDITOR'S NOTE: The details of this case are graphic and may be upsetting for some readers.

A Chester County man accused of beating his girlfriend's son to death twiddled his thumbs as he appeared in court Thursday via video.

Gary Fellenbaum, the boy's mother Jillian Tait and Fellenbaum's estranged wife Amber Fellenbaum said little as each appeared separately in court on charges stemming from the beating death of a 3-year-old Scotty McMillan. Prosecutors called the abuse "an American horror."

The 23-year-old man accused of brutally abusing and killing his girlfriend’s son, twiddled his thumbs, looking down as he waived his right to a preliminary hearing in the death, according to witnesses in the courtroom.

Gary Fellenbaum and Tait face first-degree murder, child endangerment, assault and related charges stemming from the death of the 3-year-old West Caln, Pennsylvania boy last month. Amber Fellenbaum faces child endangerment charges.

Each suspect appeared via video uplink as they waived their rights to preliminary hearings. Fellenbaum wore blue prison pants while the women each wore a green jumpsuit. Tait and Gary Fellenbaum each thanked the judge at the end of their hearings while Amber Fellenbaum remained silent.

All three suspects remain in isolation in state jail, said prosecutors.

McMillan died from what investigators said was abuse at the hand of his mother and her boyfriend inside a West Caln Township trailer home that Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan called an “American horror.”

"(Scotty) was systematically tortured and beaten to death,” said Hogan when he annouced the arrests in early November. "He was punched in the face and in the stomach, he was scourged with a homemade whip, he was lashed with a metal rod, he was tied to a chair and beaten, he was tied upside down by his feet and beaten, his head was smashed through a wall and at the end of that he had bruises on top of bruises all over his body.”

The abuse occurred over a two-week period dating back to October in the Hope Lane home located about 35 miles west of Philadelphia, according to investigators.

Hogan said Scotty's mother sometimes watched the abuse and laughed.

Police said Gary Fellenbaum met Tait at a local Wal-Mart where they worked together. Tait and her two sons — Scotty and his 6-year-old brother — moved in with Fellenbaum in mid-October and the abuse began shortly thereafter, said investigators.

NBC10 is not naming this surviving boy since authorities said he is a victim of child abuse.

Fellenbaum expressed remorse that "his physical assaults caused another's death," according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC10.

Amber Fellenbaum earlier told investigators she first became aware of the alleged abuse when she saw Fellenbaum spank Scotty after the boy didn’t respond to Fellenbaum. She also said she saw Fellenbaum and Tait beat Scotty with a green frying pan and saw Fellenbaum tape Scotty to a chair and severely pummel the boy’s face and stomach.

The county took the older brother and the Fellenbaums' 11-month-old daughter into protective custody.

Photo Credit: Chester County District Attorney's Office
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Teen Shot in Bridgeport


Police are investigating after a 19-year-old man was shot on the 900 block of Fairfield Avenue on Wednesday evening.

Emergency responders found the injured teen on Iranistan Avenue. Police said he was walking on Fairfield Avenue when he heard gunshots and was hit in the buttocks.

The teen was taken to Bridgeport Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Police said neither the teen nor his friends could provide any information about the person who shot him.

Anyone with information is urged to call Bridgeport police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Charged in Hamden Hookup Home Invasion


Police have arrested one of two men accused of teaming up with a pair of woman to steal from a Hamden apartment in an online hookup gone wrong.

According to police, the group targeted the apartment of a 30-year-old man who met one of the women, 19-year-old Nazhia Carter, on an Internet dating site. She arranged to meet the man at his home Oct. 8 and arrived with another woman and two men.

While the victim was in his bedroom with Carter and the other woman, two men, one of whom has been identified as 24-year-old New Haven resident Julian Foster, walked in and attacked the resident with a tire iron, according to police.

Investigators said the women had unlocked the front door of the apartment so the two men could get inside. They stole several of the resident's belongings, including electronics.

The four intruders ran from the after getting into a fight with the resident, and Foster jumped from the balcony, falling 25-30 feet, police said.

The resident, who suffered injuries to his back, finger and nose, received medical treatment as his home.

Carter turned herself in Nov. 13. Foster was arrested Dec. 18 and charged with home invasion, first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, first-degree threatening and conspiracy to commit the above offenses.

He was held on $350,000 bond.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Hamden Police Department

Meet Your 2015 Goals With These Top Time Use Tips


As we prepare to ring in a New Year, many are clinging to the idea of making life-changing resolutions for 2015. 

Having a good grasp on your time doesn't only help you fit in a new goal like exercising more or keeping a clean house once January arrives. It also improves your chances of making these new habits last all year long. See what experts have to say about managing your time and life to help you achieve your goals and then see how the time you spend on work, shopping, sleep and other activites compares to the national average using our "Time Use Calculator" interactive.

Log Your Time

Trying to declutter your mind and schedule starts with logging your time. People tend to be “ridiculously optimistic” about what they can do in a certain amount of time, according to Laura Vanderkam, author of “168 Hours: You have More Time Than You Think.” Vanderkam suggests taking a look at an average week and timing each task—you will see your patterns and easily be able to pinpoint what can and can’t be changed. You may find that seemingly small tasks like cleaning out inboxes or checking up on Facebook add up, sucking up time that could be spent with a new client, project or goal. See how your time log compares to the average American using the time use calculator interactive below. 

Write Things Down

“Your head is for having ideas, not for holding them,” says David Allen, author of time-management manual “Getting Things Done.”  Your mind should not be used to hold all your tasks because your brain can’t multitask, according to Allen. Allen advises clearing your mind by having calendars and to-do lists for both long- and short-term goals and breaking down those goals step by step. By writing things down you are creating an "external brain," clearing space for more creative ideas. Instead of worrying about what time to pick up the kids from school, for example, your mind can be free to think of innovative ways to spend quality time with them.

The Magic Word Is “No”

“’No’ is the most empowering word in time management,” Tim Harper, The City University of New York journalism professor and project management consultant, said. “’No, but’ is the next best thing you can say.” It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when friends, bosses, or family members want to pull you in all directions. While saying “no” can be difficult, offering a counter plan may help soften the blow. A friend may ask you to go to their child’s birthday party after you already committed to spending time with your spouse. Tell your friend you can’t make the birthday party but suggest bringing a gift over next week. Saying “no” to obligations that aren’t important or urgent also gives you room to say “yes” to the things you actually want to do.

Schedule Leisure, Too

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about time management is the idea that every minute has to be filled with something, experts say.Scheduling your leisure time makes it easier to move things around and planning your time enough in advance gives you room for “things to fall into your lap," Harper contends. Resist the temptation to fill extra time with chores, Vanderkam says. She urges people to make a long list of the things they want to spend more time on, rather than asking what they want to spend less time on, then pursue those interests without feeling guilty. While it's difficult to place your own interests as a high priority, she writes, knowing your self-interests are worthy is key to living a fulfilling life.

See How You Compare

Do you shop, sleep or exercise more than your peers? See how your time log stacks up against the average American like you with this interactive calculator crafted using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey. 

"Time Use Calculator" built by Kuang Keng Kuek Ser and Ellie Zhu.

Photo Credit: Vjom
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Missing Man Considered Endangered


Authorities are searching for a 43-year-old Bridgeport man who has been reported missing and has threatened to hurt himself, according to police.

Police in Ansonia said they received word of Shawn Bagley's disappearance around 7 a.m. and are worried he may try to harm himself. Bagley, who lives on Hubbell Avenue in Bridgeport, has family in Ansonia and is considered endangered.

It's not clear where Bagley was last seen. He stands 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. Police said Bagley has black hair, brown eyes and walks with a limp.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call Ansonia police at 203-735-1885.

Photo Credit: Ansonia Police Department

Serial Robber Charged in 2006 Bank Holdup: Cops


State police have arrested a man accused of helping to rob a bank in Putnam in 2006 and said he's been linked to robberies around the country.

According to police, Mark McIntyre, 54, would drive to banks with Brooke Beaulieu, who would get out of the car and rob them. Both were arrested during a robbery in Illinois in 2006 and have been in federal custody since.

McIntyre, who is from Massachusetts, has been linked to the robbery of the Westbank at 6 Providence Road in Putnam on June 7, 2006.

Connecticut State Police arrested him Thursday afternoon at the Danbury Federal Correctional Institute, where has been serving time.

McIntyre was charged with third-degree robbery and third-degree larceny at Troop D headquarters and will face a judge Friday morning in Danielson Superior Court.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Copper Stolen From New Haven Facility Twice in One Month


Police are investigating after thieves ripped copper piping from the roof a business on Hamilton Street in New Haven.

According to police, the culprits targeted Goodcopy Printing and Digital Graphics at 110 Hamilton Street on Wednesday night. They pulled $100-200 worth of copper from a rooftop unit and caused damage that will cost hundreds of dollars to repair.

The owner of the unit said it's the second time copper thieves have targeted this facility in less than a month. He's now planning to upgrade security cameras on the roof of the building.

Despite the recent burglary at Goodcopy Printing and Digital Graphics, New Haven police said copper thefts in the city have actually been on the decline.

“We've seen a decrease in the last couple of years,” explained New Haven Police Officer David Hartman.

Hartman said new partnerships with scrap metal companies have helped to keep the numbers low, because the companies are on the lookout for any stolen metal.

“We have a much greater cooperation with the smelting companies and the refineries that take in the scrap metal. They report to us now in real time, with a program called Leads Online, where everything going in is photographed and sent to our detectives,” said Hartman.

When a theft is reported, police can go into a database, pull up the photographs and match it with the items reported stolen.

“There's a much greater accountability with who brings things in, scrap metal into these companies, to redeem them for money, and they are scrutinized a great deal more than they have been in the past,” said Hartman.

New Road Sparks Redevelopment in Orange


It's a project that town officials in Orange say has been decades in the making: Thanks to hundreds of thousands of dollars in state and federal funding, Edison Road is now connected to Marsh Hill Road through the brand new Pez Boulevard.

The road, built with the help of $237,000 in federal funding and $500,000 from the state, was officially unveiled Thursday.

"This opens up 65 more undeveloped acres up here for commercial industrial development right at Exit 41 Marsh Hill Road, right off of 95. You can't get a more key location," said explained Orange First Selectman James Zeoli.

Zeoli hopes the development will draw businesses to the area.

"That means jobs, that means an economy, a more vibrant community, and at this particular time, these are the kind of efforts that are necessary to put people to work and get our economy back again," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro.

Pez Candy, Inc. has been at the location for years and created a new visitors' center in anticipation of the road extension. Company officials said they have already seen the benefits.

"Now we have over 80,000 visitors a year, and we will anticipate that for the next years to come, so this road will get a lot of use," said Pez CEO Joseph Vittoria.

The new road will also provide a redesigned traffic flow.

"It will help relieve some of the traffic around from residential neighborhoods, because they don't have to cut through to go all the way around," said State Sen. Gayle Slossberg, who represents the town of Orange.

Instead, there will now be a straight access route for businesses to go from one major road to the next.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Access Health on Track to Meet Enrollment Goal


Officials with Access Health CT said they are happy with the progress made so far, just over a month into open enrollment.

Jim Wadleigh, acting CEO of Access Health, said he’s "cautiously optimistic" that the state will reach its goal of enrolling 70,000 uninsured people on the state's health care exchange.

"We’re getting a lot of customers who are transferring over into the individual market but right now we’ve made a decision that we want to put the pedal to the metal here and go after all of the uninsured and we’re going to start going after that in the month of January,” Wadleigh said.

So far, more than 86,000 residents have signed up for private health insurance plans through Access Health CT and more than 46,000 have obtained coverage through Medicaid since open enrollment began, roughly 19,000 of whom are new customers. More than 60,000 of the private plans were reauthorized through automatic renewals.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, who chairs the Access Health CT board of directors, said the enrollment results show the marketplace has successfully reach uninsured Connecticut residents.

“People are coming and we’re seeing inquiring on the computers, calling in to our call centers, going into our stores, so I’m assuming the word is getting out,” she said.

As the year comes to a close, Access Health CT also finds itself without a permanent leader.

Wadleigh was named acting CEO in September following the departure of Kevin Counihan, whom the Obama administration has tapped to run the federal exchange used in 37 states.

Wyman said there will be an official search process to find a permanent CEO.

“We will have somebody go out and do a search,” said Wyman. “That’s what we promised. Jim knows that and the search will start by the beginning of the year.”

Wadleigh said he’s enjoying the job and says he will be in the running to remove the word “acting” from his title.

“I will be pursuing this on a permanent basis,” Wadleigh said.

Teen Charged in Mugging of 99-Year-Old Woman


Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy accused of knocking a 99-year-old woman to the ground and stealing her purse while she was delivering homemade Christmas cookies to a senior center in Windsor, Connecticut.

The woman was bringing treats to the LP Wilson Community Center when authorities say the teen came up behind her, pushed her down, took her purse and ran off while she was still on the ground.

Windsor police took the teen into custody in Hartford at 10:30 a.m., about half an hour after obtaining the juvenile arrest warrant. 

The teen's name has not been released because of his age. He has been charged with third-degree robbery, sixth-degree larceny and assault of an elderly person and will appear in juvenile court.

"This guy took advantage and made her a victim," Capt. Kelvan Kearse, of the Windsor Police Department, said Wednesday.

The senior center where the woman was attacked, located at 599 Matianuck Avenue, includes a senior center, a youth service bureau, the recreation office and social service.  

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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Southington High School Teacher Arrested


A Southington High School teacher who was pulled out of class last month has been charged with disorderly conduct.

After receiving reports on Nov. 6 that John Edward Hansen Jr., 47, of New Haven, was acting different in class and was possibly impaired, school administrators removed him from the classroom and had him transported to a medical facility, police said.

At the time, school officials declined to identify the teacher, but sent a letter home to parents.

“Today at Southington High School a situation occurred with one of our teachers who behaved in an unprofessional manner during period 1 and 2 classes,” Dr. Martin J. Semmel to wrote in the letter last month. “When it was reported during period 2 to the main office, this individual was removed immediately from the classroom.”

Police obtained a warrant and Hansen turned himself in to police at 6:45 a.m. on Dec. 9. He is due in court in Bristol on Dec. 22.

It is not clear from online court records if he has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Southington Police and NBCConnecticut.com

Mayor Reprimands Police Chief for Bad Behavior


One week after a Yale University professor sent a letter to local New Haven officials condemning the conduct of the city's police chief at a football game in September, the mayor has issued him a written warning.

"By this letter, I am reprimanding you for the incident that occurred at the Yale-Army game on September 27, 2014 and warning you that any such future occurrence will result in more severe consequences," Mayor Toni Harp wrote to Police Chief Dean Esserman in a letter dated Dec. 17.

Yale Prof. Daniel Weinberger, who teaches epidemiology, detailed Esserman's conduct in a complaint to the mayor and Board of Police Commissioners.

According to Weinberger, the chief lost his temper, threatening to have an usher "removed from the premises" and "shut down the whole game" after the worker asked to see Esserman's ticket.

Esserman addressed the complaint in a sit-down interview with NBC Connecticut on Friday, admitting his behavior was out of line and apologizing for the confrontation.

"What I said was so off-base that I hope I win back my citizens' good faith over the years ahead," Esserman said. "Having a bad day is not an excuse. When you're wrong, you have to acknowledge it and you got to reflect on it."

Harp told Esserman his actions at the game caused community members to feel "disrespected" and "distrustful" of the police department, according to the letter.

"While, shortly after this incident occurred, you brought this matter to my attention, took responsibility for your actions and apologized to officials at Yale University for your behavior, any action that so threatens the public's trust warrants a letter of reprimand from me as well as a warning for a failure to heed this notice in the future," Harp wrote.

Harp said behavior of this sort "will not be tolerated" and that consequences will be "more severe" going forward.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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