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Romney Shifts His Position on Climate Change


As he considers a third presidential campaign, Mitt Romney said Wednesday night that one of the country's biggest challenges is climate change and that global solutions are needed to combat it.

"I'm one of those Republicans who thinks we are getting warmer and that we contribute to that," he said.

The 2012 Republican presidential nominee spoke to a sold-out crowd of about 3,000 at an investment management conference. It was his second public address since privately telling potential donors two weeks ago that he's considering seeking the presidency in 2016.

Romney didn't address a possible campaign at the event, but he used his 30-minute speech to lay out what appeared to be a populist platform. While hitting familiar Republican points criticizing the size of the federal debt, Romney at times sounded like a Democrat, calling for President Barack Obama and other leaders in Washington to act on climate change, poverty and education.

His evolving platform comes as he works to reshape his image after consecutive presidential defeats. He spent little time talking about poverty, the middle class or climate change in a 2012 campaign in which opponents cast him as an out-of-touch millionaire. But in public and private conversations in recent weeks he has focused on poverty, perhaps above all, a dramatic shift for the former private-equity executive.

Romney had previously acknowledged that climate change is real, noting in his 2010 book that "human activity is a contributing factor." But he questioned the extent to which man was contributing to the warming of the planet and said throughout his 2012 campaign that America shouldn't spend significant resources combatting the problem.

Romney said Wednesday night that federal leaders have failed to enact global agreements needed to tackle the problem.

The former Massachusetts governor also criticized Obama's State of the Union address, saying the president had minimized the threat of radical, violent jihadism and terror attacks in Paris.

"This is a very serious threat the world faces," he said. "And to minimize that, and sort of brush it aside with a few minutes of discussion, I thought was disappointing."

Romney said a growing education gap is one of the country's biggest challenges and suggested that teacher pay should be raised.

At times during the speech, he appeared equal parts candidate and economics professor, gesturing from behind a podium to a projected slideshow of graphs and pie charts of the federal debt and budget.

Before the speech — tickets were sold to the public — Romney spoke to a private dinner of about 130 clients of Diversify Inc., the investment firm that sponsored the event. Tyler Fagergren, a manager with the firm, said people asked Romney questions about the economy and investment but were not allowed to ask about a possible 2016 campaign.

Romney told the larger audience that he's honored to be a Utah resident now. He's built a home in an upscale Salt Lake City suburb and registered late last year as a Utah voter.

Photo Credit: AP

Water Main Break in Hartford Over


Water was shut down on part of Brunswick Street in Hartford this morning because of a water main break.

There was a break in an 8-inch water main that was installed in 1941 and water was shut down at 4:45 a.m. on Brunswick Street between South and Brown streets, according to the MDC.

Around 10 properties were affected until repairs were done as of 9:49 a.m.

A water main break is also to blame for the closure of Grace Webb School in Hartford today.

There was a water main break outside the school yesterday, prompting water to be turned off to make repairs, so there were no classes today.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Yale Police Investigating Sex Assault on Campus


Yale Police are investigating a sexual assault on campus Sunday night.

An alert Yale police sent to students, staff and faculty on Tuesday night says the victim, who was a visitor to campus, reported being sexually assaulted by a Yale College student on Sunday night in an on-campus residential college suite.

The victim and students are acquaintances, according to Yale police.

University police are asking anyone with information about the assault to call Yale Police at 203-432-4400.

Earlier this week, police issued a warning to students after three undergraduates were robbed at gunpoint while walking on a trail in New Haven on Monday night.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

5 Super Story Lines Heading into Super Bowl XLIX


The conference championship games are over, the debate over “Deflategate” is just heating up, and we’re still days away from the Seattle Seahawks' and New England Patriots' arrival in Arizona for the 49th Super Bowl, to be held Feb. 1.

Here's an early look at five of the biggest story lines going into the XLIXth super matchup.

1. Will the Patriots add another championship?

Head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady already have won three Super Bowls, but they’re still one short of the four won by the tandems of head coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana (49ers) and that of Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw (Steelers). In today’s era of free agency and salary caps, it’s been a much tougher proposition for the Patriots to stay on top this long, but they’ve managed. After winning three Super Bowls in his first five seasons in New England, Belichick has fallen short in two others. The Pats haven’t won the Lombardi Trophy since Feb. 6, 2005. Another victory would put both Belichick and Brady in a special category.

2. Can the Seahawks win back-to-back championships?

The defending Super Bowl champions from the Northwest can become the first team to win consecutive championships since… the Patriots after the 2003 and 2004 seasons. In fact, Seattle is the first team even to reach consecutive Super Bowls since the Patriots did it those years. After their first championship last season, many predicted the Seahawks were built for a long-term run – a dynasty? – because of their youth, defense, coaching and quarterback Russell Wilson, who just seems to know how to win. A victory versus the Pats would prove them right.

3. Can the Patriots stop Marshawn Lynch?

Much has been made through the years of Belichick’s ability to put the clamps on an opponent’s go-to offensive playmaker. The Patriots certainly did it in the AFC Championship Game by taking away Indianapolis wideout T.Y. Hilton, Andrew Luck’s favorite big-play target. But the Seahawks are a different beast. How does the New England defense stop Lynch? Well, the Pats did it quite well in their last meeting, a 24-23 Seattle victory in the 2012 regular season. In that one, Lynch gained just 41 yards on 15 carries, a 2.7 average. The Pats had other problems, though: Seattle rallied from a 23-10 deficit in the fourth quarter.

4. Do these teams hate each other?

Maybe, but probably not. They’re both just competitive, with Type A-personality, aggressive coaches and philosophies. But there certainly will be some questions asked of both teams at media day about their last meeting, when Pats QB Brady and Seahawks corner Richard Sherman got tangled up in some in-game trash talk, and then Sherman famously tweeted a picture of him with Brady after the game with the caption, “U Mad Bro?” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, when asked about that matchup this week, said of the trash-talking and matchup: “Tom Brady and somebody were yelling back and forth a little bit, those guys were having some fun. Everybody was into it. It was a huge game. It felt like a championship game against a great team.” On Feb. 1, it will be.

5. Who’s the world’s best cornerback?

Seattle’s Sherman believes he is. New England’s Darrelle Revis believes he is. They’ve gone back and forth on Twitter debating the point. Both corners are famous for shutting down receivers, and trying to shut each other up. Revis once tweeted of Sherman, “I never seen a man before run his mouth so much”; Sherman has tweeted that “sometimes the truth needs to be told” that he’s the best. We’ll see which one has the better day on the biggest stage.


Photo Credit: Getty Images

Mansfield Superintendent Resigns, Audit Report Released


The Mansfield school superintendent submitted his resignation at a board of education meeting Tuesday night over controversy surrounding his travel expenditures, according to the chairman of the board.

Supt. Frank Baruzzi has been on leave since the allegations surfaced in July. His resignation is effective Jan. 23, according to Board of Education Chair Randy Walikonis.

Walikonis said over the summer that Baruzzi's contract allows him to travel out of the district for work, but his amount of travel was called into question.

In an email to parents Tuesday night, Walikonis said forensic auditors examined Baruzzi's travel expenses and "found no sufficient business justification for certain reimbursements requested by and paid to the Superintendent of Schools."

The audit team said they asked to speak with Baruzzi, but he declined under advice of counsel.

They found that Baruzzi was reimbursed $49,083.17 more than should have been allowed and he reimbursed $10,901.09, and he was reimbursed for 117,476 miles when he should have been reimbursed for 26,124 miles.

Read the report here.

The board will hire an interim superintendent while officials search for a permanent replacement, according to Walikonis.

Rachel Leclerc, director of Special Education and Support Services, has served as acting superintendent since the start of the investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Patriots Coach: "No Explanation" for "Deflategate"


"I have no explanation for what happened," New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Thursday morning when addressing the media on the "Deflategate" controversy.

"We have cooperated fully, quickly and completely," with the NFL's investigation, he said.

The league is looking into a report that claimed the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL says its investigation is ongoing.

"When I came in Monday morning, I was shocked to learn of the news reports about the footballs," Belichick said. "I had no knowledge whatsoever of this situation until Monday morning. I would say I've learned a lot more about this process in the last three days than I knew or have talked about in the last 40 years that I have coached in this league.

"In my entire coaching career, I have never talked to any player or staff member on football air pressure," he added. "To me, the footballs are approved by league and game officials pre-game and we play with what's out there."

The Patriots will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday, Feb. 1.

"I'm trying to coach the team, and that's what I want to do," Belichick said.

The NFL began looking into the issue not only because doctoring the footballs could provide a competitive advantage, but because it would compromise the integrity of the game.

Deflating a football can change the way it's gripped by a player, or the way it travels through the air.

Under NFL rules, each team provides balls each game for use when its offense is on the field. The balls are inspected before the game by the officiating crew, then handled during the game by personnel provided by the home team.

Belichick said in the future, the Patriots will be sure to inflate footballs over the minimium 12.5-pounds per square inch to account for any possible change during the game.

"It's unfortunate that this is a story coming off of two great playoff victories by our football team and our players," Belichick said. "But again, we've been cooperative with the NFL investigation. We'll continue to do so and we will turn all our attention and focus on to the Seattle Seahawks, a very well coached, talented, tough, competitive football team."

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is scheduled to address the media around 3:45 on Thursday afternoon.

Photo Credit: AP/Elise Amendola

Computer Issues Delay Opening on DMV in Norwalk


The Department of Motor Vehicles office in Norwalk will not open until 11 a.m. on Thursday because of computer-related issue.

No services can be provided at the DMV’s Norwalk office, located at 540 Main Avenue, because of the issue.

The office was scheduled to open at 9:15 this morning.

Hartford Liquor Store Owner Robbed, Shot Several Times


The owner of a Hartford liquor store is in critical condition after being robbed and shot several times on Wednesday night.

Police identified the victim as Carrell Lee, 58.

He was closing the Oakland package store, at 1081 Albany Avenue, just after 8 p.m. and getting into his car when someone approached him from behind, stole his gold chain and shot him several times, according to police.

Lee was rushed to Saint Francis Hospital in critical condition and he is being treated for as many as five gunshot wounds to the chest, according to police. His name has not been publicly released.

The shooter fled south on Oakland Terrace, according to police, and police are searching for the person. Police are also looking for the gun used.

The Hartford Police Department Major Crimes Division and Shooting Task Force are investigating.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Detective Helped Girlfriend Cover up Murder, Took Her on Vacation: DA


A Philadelphia Police homicide detective hid his girlfriend and helped her cover up her ex-husband's murder then lied to his colleagues about evidence in the investigation, the city's district attorney says.

Likening the case to something you might read in a trashy romance novel, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced Thursday that detective Ron Dove has been indicted by a grand jury on obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges in the death of Cesar Vera.

Vera was stabbed to death inside his North Philadelphia home on Sept. 8, 2013. Prosecutors say the murder was committed at the hands of his ex-wife, Erica Sanchez. She was Dove's lover at the time.

A blood-soaked Sanchez, 33, came to Dove after the stabbing and he helped arrange for her to flee the city, the DA said.

"He actively shielded her, hid her, financed her flight, failed to disclose material evidence and facts to his fellow police officers," Williams said.

Prosecutors said toll and financial records and video showed Dove booked the woman a hotel room in Rochester, New York, drove her there and bought her a new cell phone. When he returned to Philadelphia, the detective cleaned Sanchez's car and asked a body shop owner to keep it hidden in his garage, Williams said.

"He said that Erica had murdered someone and that the police were actively looking for the car," Williams said. "He instructed that if police came by the shop, he should lie."

Detectives spent weeks investigating the case while their colleague knew Sanchez's role in the murder and where she was staying. Meanwhile, Williams said Dove returned to New York to go sightseeing with his lover.

"They spent the weekend at Niagara Falls touring the sites and taking pictures," he said. Once the weekend excursion was over, Dove checked Sanchez back into another hotel and returned to Philadelphia.

Over the course of the investigation, Dove did tell fellow investigators he knew Sanchez, but insisted that the stabbing was done in self-defense, according to Williams. When he did give a more detailed statement to police, he lied about his involvement in her escape, officials said.

Police eventually caught up to Sanchez on Oct. 16, 2013 and charged her in Vera's death. But Williams said all of the physical evidence from the crime was gone.

Dove has surrendered to authorities on Thursday morning and was arraigned late Thursday night before he was released on $2,500 bail. He has been fired from the police department.

"He has caused embarrassment to this city, this department and his family because of his shameful actions. Dove’s conduct is simply intolerable and inexcusable," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said.

The grand jury is continuing to investigate the case. They have recommended additional charges be levied against Sanchez as well.

The district attorney's office is reviewing all the cases where Dove was a witness or investigator.

The family of another murder victim, Leslie Delzingaro, where Dove was the lead investigator, told NBC10 last year they believe he withheld evidence in her case. The bar where the woman was murdered was owned by Sanchez's father. Police said they are investigating the claims.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, vince.lattanzio@nbcuni.com or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Police
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Home Invasion Victim Pepper Sprays Intruders


The victim of a home invasion in Danbury on Thursday morning fought the intruders off with pepper spray, police said.

Police said the home invasion happened on Stevens Street at 9:45 a.m. and the 27-year-old man who lives in the home knew the intruders.

The victim said two men banged on his door, forced their way into the home and there was a scuffle, but the men fled after the pepper spray incident and left in a gray vehicle, police said.

The victim declined any medical treatment. Police said this is an isolated incident.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

East Haven Mayor Maturo to Seek Re-Election


East Haven Mayor Joseph Maturo Jr. is running for re-election.

He made the announcement on Thursday that he filed his official campaign paperwork and will be seeking an eighth term as mayor.

“For 14 of the last 18 years, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of leading our great community.  During my tenure, we’ve stabilized and reduced taxes, balanced fourteen straight budgets, reduced our debt to historically low levels, and completed a host of public safety and infrastructure upgrades across Town,” he said in a statement on his campaign Web site. “ I am seeking re-election because I know my team and I have the experience and the vision to continue to keep our community moving forward on the right track.”

Photo Credit: Maturo for Mayor 2015

20 Arrested in New Haven Sex Offender Roundup


New Haven police and the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force re-arrested 20 convicted sex offenders as part of a sex offender sting in Hamden, New Haven and West Haven on Wednesday.

Police said the arrested offenders were charged with up to six counts each of failure to register their addresses.

The 20 people arrested during the sting were among 45 with outstanding warrants. Police said some of the others have made plans to turn themselves in, but others may have left the state or even the country.

The following people were apprehended Wednesday:

Larry Andrews, 64
Michael Burrus, 61
Nakia Crawford, 39
Demetrius Crockett, 45
Kevin DeSilva, 56
Miguel Gonzalez, 70
Markel Greene, 44
James Hunter, 51
Charles Jeffers, 71
Rodney Johnson, 29
Timothy Johnson, 59
Julio Maldonado, 80
Garfield McFarlane, 58
Johnnie Nelson, 48
Raymond Parker, 59
Michael Pensak, 59
Eric Perkins, 45
Osvardo Perez, 44
Thomas Sanders, 39
Bruce Tillotson, 58

All were charged with at least one count of failure to register an address, except for McFarlane, who was charged with one count of first-degree sexual assault.

It's the fourth sex offender sting conducted by New Haven police since 2012 and the eighth carried out by the U.S. Marshals in Connecticut since 2011.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Second Man Pleads Guilty in Murder-for-Hire Plot


A second New London man has pleaded guilty in connection with a 2012 homicide that federal officials describe as a murder-for-hire plot to take over a drug operation.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the attack and homicide of Javier Reyes, 36, was connected to a "Green Garages" operation in which marijuana, cocaine and other narcotics were distributed from a series of garage bays at 12/14 Walker Street in New London.

Officials said former members of the enterprise were attempting to take over the drug operation and Andrew Aviles, 27, of New London, and others were paid to attack Reyes.

On the night of Sept. 12, 2012, Reyes was found outside his apartment at 187 Huntington Street He'd been stabbed several times, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

He was transported to a local hospital, then airlifted to Yale-New Haven Hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Video surveillance taken at the time of the attack shows Aviles and Jose Rosado Jr., 20, who was carrying a bat, approach Reyes, then running away from him seconds later, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Aviles admitted he stabbed Reyes during the assault, federal authorities said, and he pleaded guilty to violating the Travel Act by using a facility in interstate commerce, namely a cellular telephone, with the intent to commit a crime of violence in furtherance of an unlawful activity, and thereafter committed the crime of violence.

No sentencing date has been set.

Rosado pleaded guilty to a related charge and could face up to 20 years in prison.

Police Search for Sex Offender, Find Marijuana Factory


While searching for a sex offender as part of a sting operation Wednesday morning, New Haven detectives encountered a marijuana growing operation at an apartment on Shelton Avenue in the city, according to police.

Juan Sierra, 55, was home at the time and told police the five marijuana plants were his. Police confiscated the plants, along with a bag of marijuana, three grown lamps and a cellphone, authorities said.

Sierra was arrested on four charges including operating a drug factory and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell within 1500 feet of a school.

Ansonia Smoke Shop Robbed at Gunpoint


Police are investigating the armed robbery of an Ansonia smoke shop.

According to police, a man walked into Ansonia Smoke and Convenience at 262 Main Street just prior to 6 p.m. Wednesday and pulled out a handgun.

He told the employee not to move, went behind the counter and grabbed money from an open register drawer, police said.

The robber got away with $500 cash. Police said the worker was not injured.

Authorities are working to track down the culprit, and police said they may have identified a suspect.

The case remains under investigation.

2 Arrested on Drug Charges at Groton Motel


Two young men were arrested on drug charges after police searched their Groton motel room Thursday.

Police said Luis Raul Melendez-Vasquez, 23, and Jose Angel Rivera-Santiago, 21, were caught with drugs at the Super 8 Motel on Route 12 in Groton.

Both were charged with possession of narcotics with intent to sell and possession with intent to sell in a school zone.

They were each released on $25,000 bond and are due in court Feb. 5.

Brady: "I Didn't Alter the Ball"


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said he "didn't alter the ball in any way" at a Thurday afternoon press conference amid the "Deflategate" controversy.

"I feel like I've always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules," he said. When a reporter asked if he were a cheater, he said, "I don't believe so."

The NFL is investigating after ESPN reported that the Patriots used under-inflated footballs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Earlier Thursday, Belichick said at a press conference that he had "no explanation" for what happened, and that the first he heard of the controversy was on Monday morning.

Brady told reporters Thursday afternoon that he first heard about the under-inflated balls Monday morning during his regular weekly radio interview. At the time, he said, he laughed, thinking that it was just "sour grapes" on the Colts' behalf. "It ends up being a very serious thing," he said.

"Everyone's obviously trying to figure out what happened," Brady added. "I was as surprised as anybody when I heard Monday morning what was happening."

The quarterback said he goes through the same process before every game, choosing between 12 and 24 balls to use during the game. He said he did that Sunday night. "When I felt them, they were perfect," he said.

Much like Belichick, Brady said he has no knowledge of any wrongdoing.

"Obviously, I'd like to know what  happened," he said. "In the meantime, I'm going to try to do the best I can to get ready to play against the Seahawks." 

Asked if the controversy might serve as motivation for the Patriots, Brady said "We've got a lot of motivation as a team. I think our team's overcome a lot of adversity this year. Sometimes in life the biggest challenges end up being the best things that happen in your life."

Softer balls are generally considered easier to throw and catch, and quarterbacks, specialists and equipment managers are known to have very individualized preferences in how footballs are readied for games, The Associated Press reported. Belichick said he was unaware of the process for game balls until the accusations were raised.

"I think we all know that quarterbacks, kickers, specialists have certain preferences on footballs," Belichick said. "They know a lot more about it than I do. They're a lot more sensitive to it than I am. I hear them comment on it from time to time, but I can tell you and they will tell you that there is never any sympathy whatsoever from me on that subject. Zero."

Brady reportedly addressed his teammates behind closed doors at Thursday's team meeting. Per teammates, he told them he prefers the football "a certain way." He also told them to stay focused on next Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Elise Amendola

Route 8 North Reopens in Shelton


Route 8 northbound has reopened in Shelton following a single-car crash that shut down the highway toward the end of rush hour Thursday, according to state police.

Police shut down the highway at the exit 13 on-ramp after a utility pole fell across the travel lanes. The Department of Transportation was called out to remove the pole.

Am ambulance responded to the scene. Police said minor injuries have been reported.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Raises Proposed for Governor, Elected Officials


The Connecticut Compensation Commission for Elected State Officers and General Assembly Members recently took steps that could lead to a 10 percent increase in compensation for all statewide elected officers and members of the General Assembly.

“I think it’s time,” said Richard Balducci, the former speaker of the House, who sits on the commission.

Balducci said he views the state as a sort of company that operates with a $20 billion budget and has top executives that haven’t received raises in years.

"It isn't so much a value on do I think my state representative or my governor deserves a raise," Balducci said. "I think it's more in the perspective of the office we're talking about and the responsibilities that goes with it."

The state's top elected officials and members of the General Assembly have not received raises since 2001.

The governor earns $150,000, constitutional officers earn $110,000 and members of the General Assembly earn $28,000 for what’s considered a part-time job and are allotted more than $4,000 toward expenses.

State Sen. Rob Kane, a Republican from Watertown and ranking member on the Appropriations Committee called the idea of a raise, “ridiculous.”

"The message I think is we are more concerned with the people that line our offices rather than the constituents we serve, and I think that's wrong,” Kane said.

He added that there’s an issue with the optics of a proposed raise when a budget shortfall has been projected in the current and subsequent fiscal years.

Any possible raise is far from becoming official. The General Assembly would have to approve an appropriations bill that included funds for raises.

New Haven Sees Block Watch Resurgence


Police in New Haven said partnerships with block watches are essential to the city and have received at least a dozen applications over the past couple weeks from groups trying to get off the ground.

New Haven police said block watches are extra eyes and ears. After receiving applications, the police department pairs the newly formed block watches with officers in the neighborhoods.

“They each have district managers. These are the people that can best deal with the complaints of the individual block groups and the individual neighborhoods,” explained New Haven police spokesman Officer Dave Hartman.

Peter Webster, current captain of the 400-member Wooster Square Block Watch, said the partnerships are important.

“Our district manager is Sgt. Tammi Means, and she is incredibly responsive. She usually gets there before the rest of us, and all the district managers in the city that work with block watches, it's a vital, vital partnership,” said Webster.

Webster sits in on the weekly New Haven Police Department meeting and sends out crime information to the group.

“It's vital that we know what's happening around the entire city. For example, at one CompStat, because the information was shared, they found out that one man had been responsible for almost 70 to 80 percent of most of the robberies from the homes, and they got him,” he said.

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