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Police: Armed Robber Steals Snacks, Toilet Paper


Police say an armed robber threatened to kill a clerk and and stole $14.24 worth of snacks, beverages and toilet paper from a store early Tuesday morning in Springfield, Massachusetts.

When 23-year-old Steven Tavarez of Springfield brought his groceries to check out, he gave the clerk at the Sumner Avenue Sunoco station his New York benefit card, which included his ID. After it was rejected because the account had no funds, police say he pulled a switchblade out, assaulting the clerk and threatening to kill him.

Springfield Police say Tavarez fled the store with a bag of Doritos, a sandwich, a V8, a water bottle and a roll of toilet paper.

Tavarez was found with the knife, the stolen goods and the ID card, police said. He is charged with armed robbery, threatening to murder and destruction of property.

The suspect was expected to be arraigned Tuesday.

Information on an attorney for Tavarez was not immediately available.

Photo Credit: Springfield Police
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Water Restored in East Hartford


Water was restored as of 2 a.m. to homes in East Hartford that were affected by the town's second water main break of the day. 

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan District Commission said crews shut off the broken 8-inch water main on Ferncrest Drive around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, less than an hour after an unrelated water main break was repaired across town on Tolland Street.

As of about 9 p.m., water had been restored to 38 homes of the nearly 60 homes affected by the second break on Ferncrest Drive, according to MDC.

Twenty-two other properties on nearby Shadycrest Drive were without water overnight, but water has since been restored.

Initially, all repairs were expected to wrap up between 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Stole Perfume From Macy's at Buckland Mall


Manchester police are working to track down the man who stole women’s perfume from the Macy’s store at the Buckland Hills Mall on Tuesday morning.

According to police, the man grabbed perfumes and hid them in shopping bags around 10:15 a.m. Tuesday. He may have also been responsible for similar thefts the night before.

Police said the suspect left in a black sedan, possibly an Acura, with tinted windows.

Anyone with information is urged to call Manchester police Officer Cohen at 860-645-5500.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police Department

New Life for Old New Haven Theater


A former New Haven theater that has sat vacant for years will soon become the city's newest live entertainment venue, according to a representative from one of two companies partnerning up to breathe new life back into the city.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp will reveal the plans in what the city is calling a "major announcement" outside the Crown Street venue late Wednesday morning.

She'll be joined by the president of the non-profit New Haven Center for Performing Arts, the president of Premier Concerts and a representative from Manic Productions, according to a news release from the mayor's office.

The facility once housed the old Palace and Roger Sherman theaters. The venue was later known as the Palace Performing Arts Center before closing down several years ago.

Manic Productions released renderings of the new venue Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Manic Productions

Firefighter Falls Into Booby Trap


A firefighter putting out a blaze at a San Jose homeless encampment fell into what authorities say was a dangerous booby trap lined with spikes.

The firefighter was not hurt when he fell Sunday morning at the camp just east of Communications Hill, but authorities say the apparent trap was dangerous and could have injured someone. Officials also say the trap was not aimed at firefighters.

"Our guess is it had been there for sometime," San Jose Fire Capt. Mike Van Elgort says. "Maybe as a means of defense of on encampment to another."

And that's exactly what a homeless man named Johnny, who lives not far from Communications Hill, told NBC Bay Area on Tuesday.

"It's a trap, they fall down," he said. "You hurt them before they hurt you."

The booby trap, a 2-foot-by-2-foot hole with wooden spikes sticking out of the bottom, was covered by a burlap sack and dirt, so the firefighter had no idea what was underneath, authorities say.

The fire department says police were notified.

Investigators have not disclosed who might have placed the trap or why anyone would put it there.

Photo Credit: SJFD

Oxford Power Plant Developers Tout Site's Potential


Executives of the company developing a much-contested power plant in the town of Oxford have commissioned a study to explore the potential environmental impact of the natural gas-burning plant.

"This is not your grandfather's power plant," said Braith Kelly, executive vice president of Competitive Power Ventures, the developer of the Towantic Energy Center. 

According to the University of Connecticut's Center for Economic Analysis, the power plant would create an $8 billion increase in Connecticut's real estate-related gross domestic product, in addition to an increase in income.

The project is expected to cost about $430 million to complete and will be located several miles from Interstate 84 in Oxford.

Fred Carstensen, who conducted the UConn study, said the project would create about 1,800 total jobs, but only 50 of them would be directly related to the plant. That number does not include temporary construction employment.

"All the rest are induced or indirect, as we call them, which is the services that will be brought to them by the plant, and then all of the ways in which people will spend their money," Carstensen explained during a closed-door press conference unveiling the study Tuesday morning.

CPV paid UConn about $65,000 to conduct the study.

Critics of the project have cited a list of concerns. The original proposal called for a 500-megawatt power plant, but the current, updated proposal calls for 800 megawatts.

Opponents have held rallies against the plant and CPV, saying the company is ignoring environmental quality-of-life issues associated with the plant, and expressing concern about the plant's proximity to the Waterbury-Oxford Airport.

"This will lead to diminished property values," said Chet Cornacchia, one of the organizers of the movement against the power plant.

Cornacchia and others have cited a California study concluding that the homes in the immediate vicinity of a power plant decrease in value between 5 and 7 percent.

But Carstensen said several factors can affect home values.

“It doesn’t say that there isn’t an impact, but this is a very complicated case because you have an airport that’s been there since '69, you have eight industrial parks, and then you have this power facility," he said.

If completed, the plant will provide electricity to about 750,000 people in the region.

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will hear arguments for and against the plant later this week.

Bridgeport Officer Helps Return Lost Wallet With $6,300


A Connecticut police officer won praise Tuesday for helping return a lost wallet containing $6,300 to its rightful owner.

"We couldn't be prouder of our police department," Bridgeport  Mayor Bill Finch said at the news conference Tuesday. 

Officer Kevin Cronin said his girlfriend found the wallet in an empty shopping cart outside a Whole Foods supermarket in Fairfield and called to let him know.

Cronin said he met her at Bridgeport police headquarters and called Fairfield police to coordinate a hand-off. He met a Fairfield officer at the city line and gave the wallet to Fairfield police, with all the money inside.

Fairfield police were able to track down the owner, a woman from New Jersey who was visiting her friend at Bridgeport Hospital, and return the wallet to her.

"It’s times like this that we like to share these great stories about the behavior of our police officers, because sometimes the true story doesn’t get out about the sacrifices they make, the hours they’re away from their families, and the difficult situations that they find themselves in each and every day as a matter of routine," Finch said.

Cronin, however, is giving the credit to his girlfriend.

"Like I said, this is just something we do every day. We get found wallets every day. We just turn them in," Cronin said.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Disputed Move Replaces Historic Builiding With Dollar Store


The building that's kept watch over Stafford Springs for nearly 200 years will now come down and be replaced by a Dollar General as part of a decision made Tuesday night at the town's planning and zoning meeting.

"I have concern about the direction which Stafford is going," said Stafford Springs resident Lisa Zelonka. She was one of dozens who attended the meeting and voiced their support, disagreement or concerns.

The Maple Grove was built by a key founder of the town in the early 1800s, but the current owner of the property, David Bacchiochi, says time hasn't been kind, and with the building and finances in jeopardy, Dollar General was the only viable solution.

Residents like Zelonka said they understand the situation but want to make sure the character of the town is preserved.

"The Maple Grove is a beautiful building. It's gone. I have no opinion about whether or not the Dollar General should come in as long as they do it beautiful," said Zelonka.

Dollar General representatives discussed their plans for the property and said in the end they were pleased with the commission's approval.

For those wanting to preserve history, in Stafford Springs there's still hope, too.

Ed Bareiss, who organized the "Save the Maple Grove" group, said the owner is allowing them to take the windows, doors, columns and other historical pieces, which will help them keep the building alive even after it's gone.

"We are arranging storage for those so they can be reused in a historically accurate rendition of the structure, a new structure," said Bareiss.

Bareiss said residents have two months to gather the historical pieces and then two years to find a financial backer to rebuild the Maple Grove elsewhere.

Two-Alarm Fire Rips Through Coventry Home


Fire tore through a home on Buena Vista Road in Coventry on Tuesday night.

Firefighters said no one was hurt but the house was destroyed.

Emergency officials in Tolland said two tankers from the Tolland Fire Department and one from Columbia were called out to provide mutual aid.

Buena Vista Road was blocked off to everyone except residents and emergency responders while crews battled the two-alarm blaze.

The American Red Cross is helping the affected family.

Photo Credit: Viewer Photo

Firefighter Helps Deliver Own Son in Driveway


Trisha and Scott Ellis planned to be at the hospital when their baby was born, but little Seamus McLean Ellis had other ideas. He came into the world on Christmas Eve, with some help from Dad, before the couple even got out of the driveway.

Mom Trisha started having contractions around midnight, so the couple called the doctor, who said it was a good idea that they head into Saint Francis Hospital, but that was not going to happen.

By the time the couple got to the car, Seamus was close to arriving.

Fortunately, Scott, a career Thompsonville firefighter, and Trisha, a full-time EMT, have some experience with emergencies, so they did what they had to do and delivered the baby from the passenger seat of their car.

“I don’t remember being worried. I guess I had complete faith in what Scott was able to do and I knew we weren’t leaving,” Trisha said.

There was no need to worry, because Scott helped deliver his 7-pound, 21-inch-long healthy son.

However, the couple is getting a laugh out of one detail Scott neglected to check on.

“I had him all wrapped up, and we were waiting for the ambulance. And she said, ‘So do we have a son or daughter?” — and I forgot to check,” Scott said.

The couple’s other children were born at Saint Francis Hospital, but Seamus’ birth certificate lists his place of birth right at home.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Route 3 North in Glastonbury Reopens


The northbound side of Route 3 in Glastonbury has reopened after a multicar crash.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

New Haven Mayor Launches Crime Prevention Initiative


A new initiative to improve the Newhallville section of New Haven and prevent crime kicks off Wednesday.

New Haven Mayor Toni Harp established the Newhallville Safe Neighborhoods Initiative under a $1 million grant to combat crime in the area.

The forum to launch the initiative is open to the public and starts with a brief reception at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Chipotle Stops Serving Pork After Animal-Welfare Audit


If the pork carnitas are your favorite topping at Chipotle, you may have to change your order.

The Mexican food chain said it will stop serving pork at a third of its U.S. restaurants after a routine audit discovered one of its suppliers was not complying with its animal-welfare standards.

“Our pork comes from pigs that are raised with access to the outdoors or in deeply bedded barns, and without the use of antibiotics,” communications director Chris Arnold said in a statement Wednesday. “With a supplier suspended, we do not have enough pork for all of our restaurants.”

Arnold said that Chipotle decided not to serve pork in some of its restaurants instead of compromising its “protocol" by selling meat that “falls well short of our animal welfare standards."

Denver-based Chipotle, which owns more than 1,700 restaurants in the U.S, is looking for other options to address the shortage, including buying more pork from existing suppliers or finding different suppliers, according to Reuters.

Chipotle, known for serving antibiotic-free meat and organic produce, did not disclose which supplier did not comply with its standards.

Photo Credit: AP

State May Add 4 More Ailments to Medical Marijuana Program List


State officials are meeting to discuss adding four more conditions that qualify under medical marijuana use laws.

The Medical Marijuana Program Board of Physicians within the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection is considering including sickle cell disease, Tourette's disorder, post-laminectomy syndrome with chronic radiculopathy  and severe psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis as conditions eligible for medical marijuana prescriptions, according to the meeting agenda.

The meeting is scheduled to start at 8:30 a.m. in room 126 at 165 Capitol Avenue in Hartford.

New York Man Charged in Manchester Vandalism


Manchester police have arrested a 21-year-old New York man who is accused of vandalizing several properties and businesses in the area of Main and Center streets in November.

School Resource Officers Timothy Levesque and Jeremy Curtis, Sgt. Rob Stanford and detectives took part in the investigation and identified Frank Baixauli, 21, of Ellenburg Depot, New York as a suspect.

Baixauli was arrested on Tuesday in the area of 400 Oakland Road in South Windsor and charged with 13 counts of criminal mischief.

He was held on a $7,500 cash/surety bond and will appear in court this morning.

Photo Credit: Manchester Police

Man Accused of Firing at Dog After Dispute: Cops


Police arrested a 22-year-old Waterbury man accused of firing multiple gunshots at a dog during a disturbance Monday on Jewelry Street, police confirmed.

Kelsey Parker, 22, shot at the dog after it ran out of a house where men associated with him were hitting a car with a golf club, the Republican-American reported.

While Parker told police he fired at the dog in self defense when it was running toward him, a woman living at the home told officers a man in a group of seven was battering her car, the newspaper reported.

The incident may have stemmed from an earlier altercation, according to the Republican-American.

The driver of the car Parker arrived in was also charged with breach of peace, driving with a suspended license and not having sufficient insurance and the person accused of damaging the homeowner's car was charged with criminal mischief, the newspaper reported.

Police have not released information on Parker's charges.

Photo Credit: Waterbury Police Department

No Delay in Boston Bombing Trial


A federal judge has rejected a bid by the lawyers of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to suspect jury selection in his trial because of the Paris terror attacks.

Attorneys asked a judge on Tuesday to put off jury selection in the trail for at least a month.

They say although potential jurors were instructed to avoid media reports about the Tsarnaev case, they were exposed to reports about the French attacks.

More than 1,350 prospective jurors have been called in to federal court to complete juror questionnaires. The judge is scheduled to begin questioning individual jurors Thursday.

Authorities say Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, planned and carried out the 2013 attack.

Three people were killed and more than 260 were wounded when twin bombs exploded at the finish line. They are also accused of killing a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face the death penalty if convicted.

Photo Credit: AP

Police to Meet With Residents About Arson Fires


Enfield police are hosting a meeting Wednesday night to address a spree of suspicious fires and investigators are now offering a reward to catch a possible arsonist.

It's been six months since a fire on Elm Street in the Hazardville section of Enfield was ruled arson, sparking concerns for residents. Since then there has been a total of nine fires deemed suspicious, seven of which happened on that street. There was a fire set at one property twice.

Investigators believe they are dealing with a serial arsonist. The latest fire happened last week and two of the nine broke out in cars. So far, the blazes have been at vacant properties.

Neighbors said it's only a matter of time before someone gets hurt, so they've been putting up more security lights and finding ways to protect their homes.

The meeting is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. at the Enfield Senior Center.

Photo Credit: Submitted

2.0 Magnitude Quake Is the 10th in a Week


The ground shook once again in Eastern Connecticut early Wednesday, as the area experienced its 10th earthquake in a week.

The U.S. Geological Survey listed the 6:33 a.m. earthquake near Wauregan as magnitude-2.0. It occurred one day after geophysicists visited the area to investigate the frequent activity.

Justin Starr, a geophysicist from Weston Observatory at Boston College, was a member of the team that brought seismometers to detect movement in the surface of the earth.

Their goal is to find the epicenter and determine whether eastern Connecticut is experiencing an "earthquake swarm," similar to one that the Bar Harbor area of Maine experienced several years ago.

Star said earthquakes are not abnormal from time to time in New England, and they sometimes come as "earthquake swarms," which he described as several earthquakes in fairly quick succession.

For instance, there were more than 40 earthquakes in the Bar Harbor area of Maine over several weeks in 2006 and 2007, but the activity then died down, Starr said.

"Is this on the same scale as that? Too soon to tell. It may just die down or it may capture a few more quakes, but it's no surprise to us," Starr said.

Earthquakes have rattled Eastern Connecticut every day for the last three days and 10 times since last Thursday.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there have been small earthquakes in New England since colonial times, with moderately damaging quakes happening every few decades and smaller earthquakes around twice per year.

On Tuesday, the Weston Observatory at Boston College recorded a magnitude 2.1 earthquake, an aftershock from a larger earthquake the day before.

Tuesday's quake happened at 7:27 a.m. and was centered about 3 and a half miles south-southwest of Danielson, according to the observatory.

On Monday, there were several earthquakes in the area including a magnitude-3.3 temblor at about 6:30 a.m. that day that was the strongest in the series of quakes. Here is the full list of activity since the beginning of the year.

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty
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IKEA Recalls 169,000 Crib Mattresses


IKEA is recalling some 169,000 crib mattresses that they say pose a potential danger to infants.

The recall by the Swedish furniture retailer came in response to two reports from customers that their infants were trapped in a gap between the mattress and the crib, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Tuesday. The agency said the toddlers were not injured.

“Consumers should inspect the recalled mattress by making sure there is no gap larger than the width of two fingers between the ends of the crib and the mattress,” the CPSC said in a statement. “If any gap is larger, customers should immediately stop using the recalled mattresses and return it to any IKEA store for an exchange or a full refund.”

The mattresses that are on recall are the IKEA Vyssa style with model names Vackert, Vinka, Spelevink, Sloa and Slummer. They were made in Mexico and manufactured on or before May 4, 2014, the company said.

The mattresses were sold at IKEA stores in the United States and online from August 2010 to May 2014 for about $100.

For more information on the recall, click here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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