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1 Dead in Mich. Pileup Involving 150-Plus Vehicles


At least one person was killed Friday morning in a major pileup in southwestern Michigan involving more than 150 vehicles, including a semi carrying fireworks that burst into flames.

Both directions of Interstate 94 between the Galesburg and Climax exits were shut down shortly after 10 a.m. after multiple pileups in the eastbound and westbound lanes, according to Michigan State Police Lieutenant Rick Pazder and NBC affiliate station WOODTV.

Pazder said the accident ensnarled 65 semis and 50 cars on the westbound lane and 48 on the eastbound lane. Two semi trucks were on fire, the one carrying fireworks and another carrying Formic Acid, he said.

One semi driver was confirmed dead and 10 people were taken to the hospital, he said. 

The Battle Creek Police Department advised area residents to stay off the roads if possible as snow continues to fall and emergency responders tried to clear several accidents taking place in the area.

Photo Credit: Kathryn Dennis/WOODTV
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Suspect in Monroe Break-In Arrested


A man accused of breaking into a Monroe home and stealing thousands of dollars worth of jewelry is also suspected in several burglaries in the Bridgeport area, according to Monroe police.

A Far Horizon Drive homeowner called police on Nov. 18 after coming home to find the glass in the back door broken and thousands of dollars worth of jewelry missing from upstairs bedrooms, police said.

Monroe police detectives processed the scene for evidence, submitted it to the State Forensic Lab and identified Severo Santiago, 45, of Bridgeport, as a suspect.

He was charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny, second-degree criminal trespass and second-degree criminal mischief.

Santiago was taken into custody on Thursday and held on $100,000 bond.

Monroe police said he is also a suspect in other burglaries throughout the Bridgeport regional area.

Photo Credit: Monroe Police

Toxins in Air Prompt Relocation of Hartford Students


Students and staff at Clark Elementary School in Hartford will be relocated to different schools starting Monday after concerns about air quality revealed low levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. 

Supt. Beth Shiavino-Narvaez said students and staff are being moved as a precaution while officials conduct additional tests to determine the source of the PBCs.

“Given that the testing process involves contractors working at various locations around the school, we believe that this would have been disruptive to the educational setting,” school officials said in a statement Friday. “As such, we made the determination that it was in the best interest of students and staff, with an abundance of caution, to temporarily relocate to alternate school sites. We made this determination as soon as we received the air quality results.”

The superintendent said concerns came to light during preparations to install a new sprinkler system at the Clark School.

Results from air samples taken on Dec. 19 came back on Dec. 24 and revealed the presence of PCBs at a rate of 194 nanograms per cubic meter of air to 223 nanograms per cubic meter of air, school officials said. All tested dust samples came back with zero trace of PCBs.

After the initial tests, school officials vented the building, at the recommendation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and tests conducted Jan. 5 revealed samples ranging from 52 to 571 nanograms per cubic meter of air.

"Our information is that this is not levels that would be harmful to students," explained David Medina, a spokesperson for the Hartford school system. "We're just taking extreme caution to make sure everything is OK."

Classes will be moved to the following sites:

  • Students in Pre-K through grade 3 will resume classes at the Museum Academy at the Fred D. Wish School, 350 Barbour Street.
  • Students in grades 4 through 8 will be housed in the Journalism and Media Academy at 150 Tower Avenue.
  • The two ABA classrooms will be relocated to Simpson Waverly School, 55 Waverly Street.

Any child who receives transportation services will continue to receive bus transportation from his or her current pick-up location to and from the new school site. Students who walk to the Clark School will be transported to and from the Clark School and the new site.

After-school programs with the Village for Families and Children will be held at the new sites and students enrolled in after school programming will receive transportation services either to Clark School or to their regular bus stop, according to the school system.

School officials are arranging to meet with families at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 10 at the Salvation Army offices at 100 Nelson Street.

For more information, parents can contact the Welcome Center at 860-695-8400.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Another Earthquake Detected in Plainfield


The day after a 2.3 magnitude earthquake rattled residents of eastern Connecticut, another very small earthquake was detected, according to officials from Weston Observatory at Boston College.

On Thursday morning, several residents called police to report loud booms, followed by shaking.

Then around 10:30 a.m. on Friday, police received two more calls reporting something similar.

After hearing of those reports, a reporter called Weston Observatory and officials there saw a smaller seismic wave and measured a 0.4 earthquake around 10:26 a.m.

An expert at the observatory said because it was so small and shallow that people would have been more likely to hear the quake, than feel any shaking.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Firefighters Rescue Deer in Westport


First responders flocked to Beachside Avenue in Westport to free a deer that became tangled in a fence Friday morning.

According to the fire department, firefighters used "jaws of life" to cut the metal bars, and police closed the road to keep cars away while the deer ran free.

Firefighters said the doe bounded across the street and disappeared unharmed.

Photo Credit: Westport Fire Department

Navy Vet Paralyzed in Crash Told He'll Walk Again


The Navy sailor paralyzed when his truck was forced off a San Diego highway overpass by another driver has been told there’s a chance he’ll walk again.

It’s been four months since Navy Petty Officer Kenny Freudenvoll’s truck flew off the I-8 off-ramp and down 50 feet to the ground in an accident in Mission Valley.

The crash destroyed parts of his spine, so Freudenvoll uses a wheelchair.

“One of the surgeons who did surgery on my back says there is a very good chance I will walk again,” said Freudenvoll.

Freudenvoll’s truck was crunched and left in pieces after the fall. The veteran recalls sitting in the wreckage and thinking his life would end there, that he'd never see his wife and children again.

Although he’s only five years old, Freudenvoll’s son Jacob is helping in a big way.

Jacob inspires his father to get through hours of painful physical therapy each week, even though his dad said there are tough moments.

“He was going to bed, and I was sitting here watching TV and I hear him holler out, 'I really miss Dad walking,'” Freudenvoll said.

“That's the biggest thing that's hit me the worst, just being more independent and tying my own shoes and getting dressed without having somebody help me,” Freudenvoll said.

The driver who struck Freudenvoll’s truck and fled the scene pleaded guilty Monday to driving without a license and hit-and-run causing injury.

When California Highway Patrol officers later caught up with Jose Uribe, they said the defendant tried to change his tire and wipe off some of the paint damage caused by the collision.

It was Uribe’s passenger who turned him in to authorities.

Prosecutors say Uribe fled the scene because he was driving without a license.

At the time of the crash, Uribe was on probation for false imprisonment and concealing evidence charges stemming from a 2012 rape case.

Freudenvoll didn’t know what to say about Uribe’s guilty plea. He only worries if Uribe doesn't learn his lesson, he'll end up hurting someone else.

Uribe is scheduled to be sentenced April 13.

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NFL Playoffs: Who to Watch in Divisional Round


With the NFL playoffs moving into the divisional round -- with two games Saturday and two more on Sunday -- the matchups are sexier and the stakes even higher. Here are four players (or, in one case, a unit) that could be the deciding factors in which teams advance to the conference championship games on Sunday, Jan. 18:


No. 6 seed Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at No. 1 New England Patriots (12-4), 4:35 p.m. EST – The theme here has been that if any team is built to beat the Pats in Foxboro, it’s the Ravens, who beat New England at home in the 2012 AFC Championship Game and – with Joe Flacco at quarterback – has a history of winning on the road. Since 1996 when the Ravens were born (following their move from Cleveland), the franchise has 10 road playoff victories, tied for the most ever in league history. And in their three playoff matchups since 2009, Baltimore has won two. But one player for the Patriots could be a difference maker in this one, tight end Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski was injured and did not play in that 2012 AFC title game and wasn’t yet in the NFL when Flacco and Co. beat the Pats in the 2009 playoffs. This time, Gronkowski is healthy and contributing in a big way. The Pats offense is much better when Tom Brady has “Gronk,” who had 82 catches this season for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns. If the Ravens can’t get a handle on him, Gronkowski could help lift the Pats into the AFC title game.

No. 4 Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) at No. 1 Seattle Seahawks (12-4), 8:15 p.m. EST – The Seahawks are at home, where they are nearly unbeatable, but they’ve had trouble with the Panthers, a rugged defensive team built much like the Seahawks – with a solid running game featuring No. 1 back Jonathan Stewart and an athletic quarterback in Cam Newton. The Seahawks won both their games against Carolina the past two seasons, but the games were very close (12-7 and 13-9). So why should the Seahawks be confident going into this game? Because since returning from injury after missing the first five games of the season, linebacker Bobby Wilson has been playing like the league’s defensive MVP. His speed, range and smarts could give the Seahawks the deciding factor to stuff Stewart and corral Newton. Over the past six games, the Wagner-led Seattle D has allowed just 39 points. With Wagner in the middle, breaking big plays against the Seahawks can be extremely difficult. He's as fast as a running back. As 49ers running back Frank Gore said late in the season: “That No. 54, Bobby, man. He’s (expletive) fast. Fast as (expletive), man. They play great together.”



No. 3 Dallas Cowboys (12-4) at No. 2 Green Bay Packers (12-4), 1:05 p.m. EST – Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a strained left calf (some reports even say it’s a tear), so Green Bay’s usually mobile passer may be as nimble as a statue in this marquee matchup. But he says he’s playing, no matter what. That will put a huge burden on the Packers’ offensive line to protect Rodgers. Green Bay’s passing game must be effective if it wants to outscore Tony Romo and the Cowboys. So, this five-man unit is going to be put to the test. This season, the Packers’ line has been sensational in protecting Rodgers. Packers QBs were pressured only 21.7 percent of pass attempts this season, the fourth-best figure in the NFL. Fortunately for the Packers, Dallas ranked just 28th in the NFL in sacks, with 28, getting to the QB on 4.8 percent of pass attempts. But if Green Bay’s offensive front can’t keep Rodgers safe, the Cowboys will have a much better chance of pulling an upset.

No. 4 Indianapolis Colts (11-5) at No. 2 Denver Broncos (12-4), 4:40 p.m. EST -- Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning are in the spotlight on this one, and for good reason. It’s a matchup of perhaps the best quarterback of his generation (Manning) against Luck, who took his place in Indianapolis and has been sensational. But if the Colts are to topple the Broncos on their home field – where they are unbeaten this season – Indianapolis will need some help from its running game. Enter Daniel “Boom” Herron. Early in the season, Herron was behind Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson on the depth chart. But with Bradshaw hurt and Richardson ineffective, the Herron, a second-year player from Ohio State, has emerged as a threat late this season. In last week’s victory over the Bengals, Herron carried 12 times for 56 yards (a 4.7 average). If the Colts can get some big plays from “Boom,” the Broncos’ defense won’t be able to concentrate solely on Luck.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Hamden Police Search for Bank Robber


Authorities are searching for the man who robbed a First Niagara Bank in Hamden on Friday afternoon.

Police said the robber, a man in his early 20s, targeted the bank at 1246 Whitney Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Friday. Although the suspect implied he had a gun, he did not show a weapon.

The suspect is described as a thin man standing 5 feet 6 inches tall. He was wearing a lime green vest with reflective stripes, a black hood and black hat, dark-colored Nike sneakers and a sweatshirt or jacket with a black-and-white zebra-type pattern.

The robber got away with an undisclosed amount of money.

Anyone with information is urged to call Hamden police at 203-230-4040.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police Department

Suspects in Mondo Pizza Burglary Left Behind ID, Cell Phone: Police


Two men accused of climbing through a ceiling and burglarizing a popular Middletown pizza restaurant have been arrested, thanks to an ID left behind at the crime scene and a dropped cell phone.

Police responded to Mondo Pizza, at 10 Main Street, around 11 p.m. on Thursday to investigate the report of a burglary in progress and an employee told authorities that a coin box, a purse, a computer worth around $800, as well as her purse and wallet were missing, police said.

While checking the restaurant, officers found a break in the ceiling of an office. The floor was covered in debris from the ceiling as well as items that had been on the shelves, according to police.

While the burglars where nowhere in sight, police found a Connecticut identification for Ryan Fletcher Barrow on the floor of an office, police said.

As officers canvassed the area, they found a cell phone next to what appeared to be the stolen coin box.

The second suspect then walked up to police. The man, later identified as Patrick Naylor, 25, of Middletown, came up to them and said he was looking for his cell phone.

Police asked for his number, called it and the phone found by the coin box rang, police said.

Police also noted that the shoes Naylor had on matched the tread pattern at Mondo Pizza, police said.

When police brought Naylor to the station, he implicated himself and Barrow, 29, in the burglary, police said.

He told police they two men got into Mondo through a back door and went through the ceiling, police said, then Barrow fell through the ceiling and into the office, where he took the coin box, purse and laptop and threw them back up to Naylor.

After climbing back through the ceiling, the two men left, split up the money and went their separate ways, Naylor said, according to the arraignment report.

The two men are accused of stealing $1,665 and causing more than $1,500 in damage.

When police searched him, Naylor had $456 in his possession, as well as some drugs, police said.

He was charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree robbery, criminal mischief, failure to keep drug in original container and possession of a controlled substance. He was held on a $50,000 surety bond.

Police arrested Barrow on Friday while investigating an armed robbery reported on Green Street. He was charged with second-degree robbery and additional charges in that case. He was charged with third-degree burglary, third-degree larceny and criminal mischief in connection with the Mondo Pizza burglary and held on $50,000.

Police said Barrow and Naylor were known associates.

Photo Credit: Middletown Police

Ninth Suspicious Fire Burns in Enfield


Suspicious fires continue to burn in the Hazardville section of Enfield, with the latest scorching a barn behind a fence at 364 Elm Street.

No one was hurt in the blaze, the latest in a series of fires in the neighborhood, most of which have broken out at vacant buildings.

Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said Friday afternoon that the most recent fire on Elm Street has not been officially deemed arson.

But vacant buildings don't catch fire by themselves.

Police said investigators are working diligently to track down the arsonist and hope to catch him or her in the act.

"A lot of it's just luck," said Lt. Willie Pedemonti, the lead detective for Enfield police. "Somebody seeing something that doesn't belong and giving us a call, and we get the lucky break we need."

This morning's fire, reported at sunrise, marks the ninth in the string of suspicious fires, which have burned at seven unoccupied buildings and two cars in the area of Elm Street and Avon Street.

One man who said he awoke last fall to a burning building lighting up the sky said he hasn't given up on authorities.

"We just hope that they catch the guy, that he makes some stupid mistake," said Cal Folmsbee.

Another resident, William Zanks, said the arson fires have the neighborhood on edge.

"I sleep with one eye open," Zanks said.

Enfield police and fire officials will address neighbors' concerns at a community meeting next Wednesday 6:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: Submitted

Rescue Takes in 85-Pound Beagle


Kale chips may be the only food this 85-pound beagle eats for a while.

The extremely obese beagle was rescued earlier this week by local animal rescue One Tail at a Time after he was surrendered to Chicago Animal Care and Control. The rescue said the poor animal “became urgent as soon as he came in” because he could hardly walk.

“He had to be wheeled out in a wagon,” the shelter said in a Facebook post.

The dog was taken to a vet to be checked out, where he weighed in at a whopping 85 pounds.

“Everyone was stunned,” said Heather Owen, President of the Board of Directors for the rescue. “When we weighed him and saw 85, all the vet techs and the vets all came out.”

The shelter named the dog Kale Chips, “because that’s pretty much what his future looks like.”

“We’ve slimmed down dogs almost as big as this, so we’re up to the challenge,” the shelter said in the post.

Rescuers said Kale Chips still has “a long road ahead” but they hope to help him recover.

“There’s definitely hope,” Owen said.

Owen said the shelter plans to put Kale Chips on what they call a “green bean diet,” where they reduce his dog food and replace it with green beans and other healthy greens.

“We’ll put some kale in there for sure,” she said.

Owen said rescuers only know that Kale Chips’ owner was elderly, but they believe that something may have prevented his owner from being able to walk him.

“My assumption is that the owner couldn’t walk him for quite some time, fed him too much and without exercise over time he got to be that size,” she said.

Owen estimated that a typical beagle weighs in at 20 to 30 pounds, but noted that Kale Chips could be mixed with another breed that may make him larger.

The shelter asked for help fostering Kale Chips until blood tests are completed and he is put on a new health plan. At that point, he will be eligible for adoption.

“He’s awesome. He loves people, he doesn’t seem like depressed or anything like that,” Owen said. “He’s just a happy guy.”

Those looking to donate for Kale Chips’ care or apply to foster or adopt can visit One Tail at a Time’s website.

(H/t Huffington Post Chicago)

Photo Credit: Sarah Lauch/ One Tail at a Time

Plane Crashes in LA, Killing Pilot


A small plane nose dived Friday into a San Fernando Valley intersection near the Van Nuys Airport, killing the pilot, authorities said.

Miraculously nobody else was hurt in the crash reported around 1:15 p.m. at Vanowen Street and Hayvenhurst Avenue, in Lake Balboa, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

"I couldn't get to the body," said Pat Gallegos. "He was long gone by the time that we got there."

The man was identified by the coroner's office as 47-year-old Alberto Enrique Behar of Scottsdale, Arizona.

No one else was on board the experimental plane, Sgt. Barry Montgomery with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The intersection was closed to traffic as emergency responders investigated the wreck. The plane did not hit any buildings, cars or pedestrians during its descent, Montgomery said.

"It absolutely could have been a lot worse," Montgomery said.

The plane is a single-engine Lancair that crashed under unknown circumstances, according to FAA spokesman Ian Gregor.

The runway at Van Nuys Airport was inspected following the crash and is operational, according to spokeswoman Mary Grady. Airport operations were not affected.

Witnesses said they didn't hear any noise before the crash.

"The engine wasn't on at all," said Cheryl Dickerson, who was with a neighbor near the crash site seconds before the crash. "He happens to look up and goes, 'Do you think he's going to make it?' I said, 'I don't know.'"

She said the plane glided silently for a few seconds before nose-diving — somehow managing to avoid hitting anyone.

Esther Lopez, who also witnessed the crash, said she often visits friends who live near the intersection, just south of the airport.

"We heard the loud 'boom!' and then it was, like, 'what was that?" she said.

Asher Klein contributed to this report.

NY Boy Punches Substitute Teacher


A ninth-grader in Westchester attacked his substitute teacher in a violent episode captured on video in which the boy throws punches, curses and puts the teacher in a headlock, sparking concern among parents at the school. 

Police are investigating the case at Gorton High School in Yonkers on Monday. They say the 16-year-old student was captured on a cellphone video attacking the teacher.

The boy hasn't been arrested and there are no charges at the time, but he has been suspended from school for five days, according to the Yonkers school board.

Parents say the attack is troubling. Jairo Veras, a teacher at another school in the area, has two daughters at the school, one in the same grade as the boy who allegedly attacked the teacher.

"I don't see any respect for the teacher, the authority in the school," said Veras. "It's a really, really bad situation." 

Eiman Fadda said she wants to make sure her daughter is safe in class.

"I told her, you gotta be careful, stay away from people like that," she said. 

The school board said a superintendents hearing has been requested.

Man Broke Into Hamden Home as Residents Slept: Police


A man suspected of breaking into a Hamden home while the residents were sleeping and stealing their keys, money and credit cards has been arrested.

Police received the report of the burglary at a home on West Helen Street on Sept. 29 and learned that someone had broken in by cutting the screen on a rear window, police said.

Detective Sean Dolan investigated, which led to police obtaining an arrest warrant for Marcello Bobe, 24, of Glenbrook Avenue in Hamden.

Bobe was arrested on Thursday and charged with first-degree burglary and sixth-degree larceny.

Police said he has been arraigned.

Photo Credit: Hamden Police

Malloy Wants Amendment for Transportation


Gov. Dannel Malloy told NBC Connecticut in an exclusive interview Friday that if the state is going to get serious about improving its roads and railroads, then two things must take place.

"We need a real legislative answer on the short-term basis because we can't wait two years to have this discussion, and we can't wait two years to start spending the money, so we need a legislative solution foremost," Malloy explained, "and we need a constitutional solution."

Malloy said the state must protect its Special Transportation Fund from future governors and members of the General Assembly who might be tempted to dip into it.

If the proposed constitutional amendment, which has yet to be drafted and presented to lawmakers, is passed by the Connecticut House and Senate, it will then be on the ballot for the 2016 election.

The governor will also propose a statutory change that would allow some transportation improvements to take place immediately.

"If we don't represent that we're serious about changing our ways, that we're going to make these investments in a very planned way, then I think we're going to lose big time," Malloy said.

He said the changes to transportation are about much more than getting people around the state. According to the governor, the state has “absolutely” lost out on economic development projects, purely because of the its crumbling infrastructure.

Part of the sales pitch for improving the roads and rails, according to Malloy, is to show that there are places in Connecticut ripe for development that aren’t named Stamford and Greenwich.

"I believe that jobs that might have come to Connecticut either moved to or stared in Westchester or moved to northern Jersey," Malloy said.

The governor did not elaborate on a plan to pay for the plan, which includes widening all of Interstate 95 and could easily cost tens of billions of dollars. He wouldn’t rule out the notion of building tolls and charging some drivers to travel in Connecticut.

“We have to have the conversation,” Malloy said. “I challenge people to see all of the out-of-state license plates on 84, 91 and 95. If we're going to raise money, the people who use our roads should be contributing. If we're going to make a better system for all of our residents and non-residents alike, non-residents should be contributing."

On the issue of the state’s budget, the governor said he’s had numerous meetings on crafting the two-year spending plan.

He’ll address the General Assembly next month with his spending plan, which he said will be a “tough” budget to assemble.

"Revenues, nationally, in state after state after state are growing far less rapidly than at any similar time since the Second World War, which means that states have to change the way they do business," the governor said.

Malloy also shot down any notion that he would leave office before the end of his second term, with the 2016 presidential race already stealing headlines.

"I'm going to be governor for the next four years. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. I love the job. I love to tackle big issues and we're going to do it," he said.

Norwalk Teen Missing Since Dec. 21


Authorities are searching for 14-year-old Storm Sorrentino, who has been missing from Norwalk since Dec. 21 and may be traveling with female relatives, according to police.

Storm has brown hair and brown eyes, stands 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 120 pounds. Police said he might be with adult female relatives, but did not elaborate on his relationship to the women.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 (1-800-THE-LOST) or the Norwalk Police Department at 203-854-3000.

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Football Captain to Serve 12 Years in Prison for Fatal Stabbing


The former captain of the Bloomfield High School football team was sentenced to 12 years in prison in the deadly stabbing of a 27-year-old man who had allegedly been his sexual partner.

Tarence Mitchell, 19, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter after killing Ronald Taylor, Jr., 27, in the front yard of his home on Hill Farm Road in Bloomfield in November 2013.

Investigators said the two were romantically involved, and a fight turned deadly when Mitchell tried to end the relationship.

The former football star addressed Taylor's family in the courtroom Friday, expressing remorse and explaining that the situation got out of hand.

"I just want to say sorry to the whole family," he said. "I didn't plan for any of this to happen. I didn't mean for any of this to happen."

A sense of closure was lacking Friday, when Taylor's family members expressed anger over the manslaughter conviction.

"Manslaughter? That young man needs to be in prison for the rest of his life," Taylor's mother said through tears.

Former Youth Services Worker Charged in Drug Bust


A former Enfield Youth Services employee is one of 27 people arrested in a December drug roundup.

Court records show Malakie Berry, 27, was charged with the sale of a controlled substance on Dec. 10. The charges stem from a nine-month investigation into drug dealing in the Thompsonville section of town, according to police Chief Carl Sferrazza.

Town officials said Berry worked as a substitute youth center assistant for Enfield Youth Services from January 2010 until November 2014, when he requested a leave of absence.

Berry never returned to work and was ultimately terminated, officials said.

Governor Extends Severe Weather Protocol Through Sunday


With chilly temperatures and below-zero wind chills in the forecast through the weekend, Gov. Dannel Malloy has extended the state's severe weather protocol through Sunday morning.

"We must continue to protect the most vulnerable members of our state's population during these severe cold weather outbreaks," Malloy said in a statement Friday. "I urge anyone in need of shelter to call 2-1-1 and continue to encourage local communities to consider opening warming centers or other facilities to help people in need."

The governor activated the state's severe weather protocol on Tuesday ahead of the coldest temperatures of the season thus far. Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, wind chills dipped down to almost -30 degrees in parts of the state.

The extreme cold prompted school delays across Connecticut, and

schools in Suffield were closed Thursday

after fuel froze and gelled up in the town's school bus fleet.

Some 100 cancellations and delays are in effect Friday after a morning storm blanketed the state with a couple inches of snow and road conditions quickly deteriorated.

By activating the severe weather protocol, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Department of Housing are directed to coordinate with 211 and the state network of shelters.

This also activates the DESPP’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security WebEOC communications network, an online system that allows local, regional and state emergency management officials and first responders to share up-to-date information about a variety of situations and conditions, monitor capacity at shelters across the state and allow 211 to act as a clearinghouse to assist in finding shelter space for those who need it.

Photo Credit: FILE/Getty Images
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All Eyes on Fall River as Hernandez Trial Gets Underway


The eyes of the nation turned to a courthouse in southeastern Massachusetts on Friday as the murder trial of former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez officially got underway.

Hernandez sat quietly in court as he came face-to-face with prospective jurors for the first time. More than 1,000 of them will file into the courthouse in Fall River, Massachusetts, over the next few days as the prosecution and defense take on difficult task of whittling down the jury pool.

Three groups of 125 people filled out questionnaires Friday at the Fall River Justice Center. Hernandez’s only comment in court was “good morning,” but he scanned the room often, locking eyes with those who looked his way.

The former tight end is accused of murdering Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player, in 2013.

Now residents of the old mill town just outside Hernandez’s home in North Attleboro are becoming acquainted with the swarm of media that could linger up to three months.

“It’s just awful. Really, it’s awful because, again, we already have cancellations,” explained Pauline Silvia, whose hair salon sits in the shadow of the courthouse. “They came down, tried to park. It’s just ridiculous.”

Silvia said that in the 11 years she’s been in business, no trial has ever generated this much publicity – or this massive a crowd.

But across the street at Café Arpiaggo, the influx of visitors is perceived in a positive light.

“I’m glad they pushed [the trial] from October to January, because January is the slowest time of the year,” said cafe owner Robert Gould. “This is a little bump in business, and I can use it.”

When asked whether Hernandez would walk free, locals seemed divided on the issue.

“It’s a tough city, and we don’t take kindly to stuff like that,” said Rhonda Rogers.

But, as Steve Ferris pointed out, it’s been done before.

“I don’t know. If O.J. Simpson can get off, Aaron Hernandez can,” he suggested.

Jury selection should wrap up by the end of week two, but the trial could drag on for months.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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