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DMV Driver's License Tests Canceled, Expirations Extended


Road and knowledge tests for Connecticut driver's license applicants are canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday due to the approaching blizzard, and the governor is ordering an extension for expiration dates.

The extension period for registrations and driver's licenses runs from January 24 to midnight on Friday, January 30. On January 31, all required late fees and penalties will resume.

The governor expiration extension covers motor vehicle registrations, licenses, permits, certificates and other forms of credentials issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. This also covers emissions test late fees.

“With the level of snow and wind that we are expecting, it is understandable that residents likely will not be able to meet certain DMV-related deadlines and expiration dates,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement.  “We are ordering those expiration dates to be extended, giving those impacted the opportunity to satisfy their obligations after the storm passes.”

To reschedule a knowledge test, wait for an e-mail from DMV regarding the cancelation, then visit http://ct.gov/dmv/qsc, enter your personal identification number and then follow the instructions.

To reschedule a road test, call 860-263-5700 within the Hartford area and those outside the Hartford area can call toll-free at 800-842-8222. DMV will also be contacting customers with appointments.

As heavy snowfall is expected in the blizzard, the DMV reminds drivers to clear their cars before hitting the roads. Violators face fines, but drivers are exempt if the snowfall happens while they're on the road or when their cars are parked.

AAA offices may be open to process driver's license and identification card renewals.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

WWE Event at XL Center Postponed as Blizzard Approaches


As a blizzard approaches, wrestling fans were anxiously awaiting whether WWE Monday Night Raw would take place as planned tonight at the XL Center in Hartford tonight.

The decision has been made and the event will not go on tonight. Instead, fans can attend an event at the XL Center on Thursday.

Monday Night Raw was set to start at 8 p.m., an hour before the statewide travel ban goes into effect, and tickets for tonight’s show in Hartford will be honored for a SmackDown event on Thursday, January 29, which will air live on Syfy.

SmackDown is normally taped and aired on Thursday nights, but this week, the event will air live and likely include the same WWE Superstars and Divas who were to appear on Monday night.

Ahead of the decision, the XL Center’s Facebook page was filled with comments, urging that the event be canceled.

“The roads in CT are closed at 9:00 tonight, how are we supposed to get there and back? Your phone lines are busy, and when they do ring, it goes straight to an answering machine. We want answers and we want refunds, fans have spent hard earned money for these tickets, I know I'm not the only one furious about this,” one fan posted.

The approaching storm has the potential to bring about 15 to 30 inches to areas of the state by Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and the governor held a news briefing this morning, urging residents to get off the roads and to a destination where they can wait out the storm.

During that briefing, Gov. Dannel Malloy was asked about the WWE event and he said residents need to make safety a priority.

“We’ll try to figure that out,” Malloy said. “Again, I think people need to get home tonight, as safely as possible and as important to the world economy as wrestling is, our public safety still tops it.”

Fans with tickets to Tuesday's event in Boston will have the option of either exchanging tickets for an upcoming WWE event on Saturday, June 27 or obtaining a refund where they purchased a ticket.

Blizzard Blasts Tri-State, Streets, Transit Close


A paralyzing snowstorm is walloping the tri-state with blinding snow and icy winds, and New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are under states of emergency as nearly 20 inches of snow was forecast to be dumped on parts of the region. 

Eastern Long Island was hit the hardest early in the storm: Islip Airport had 14.7 inches of snow by 3 a.m. Tuesday, and Upton had 12.1 inches. In New York City, Queens was seeing the most snow, with 10.1 inches of snow on the ground in Jamaica by 3:15 a.m. Central Park had 6.3 inches of snow by 1 a.m.

A blizzard warning remained in effect for Suffolk County as of 5:30 a.m. The blizzard warning was cancelled for all other counties, including in New York City. 

The New York City subway and bus system shut down at 11 p.m. Monday after a National Weather Service blizzard warning went into effect for New York City. MTA officials initially believed they could keep the underground subway service running through the blizzard, but Gov. Cuomo said worsening conditions necessitated the closure.


All non-emergency vehicles were also ordered off state highways and all local streets and roads in New York south of Ulster county beginning at 11 p.m. 

Cuomo said motorists were stranded on snowy roads for 24 hours in other storms.

"We learned the lesson the hard way," he said Monday afternoon. "We'd rather be safe than sorry."

Similar travel bans are in place in New Jersey and Connecticut. Metro-North, PATH and New Jersey Transit also shut down at 11 p.m.

The evening rush was effectively moved up by several hours as offices closed early and workers were sent home. The Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North added extra trains in the afternoon to accommodate the early rush, and supermarkets in New York City were wiped of inventory as last-minute shoppers got in line to stock up on food and emergency supplies.

"This will most likely be one of the largest blizzards in New York City history," Mayor de Blasio said. "It is not business as usual."

Conditions began to deteriorate later in the evening, with snow falling as quickly as 2 to 4 inches per hour, according to Storm Team 4. Lightning and thunder may accompany the snow during the most intense part of the storm overnight. Sustained winds of 30 to 40 mph with gusts as high as 50 mph will create whiteout conditions across the region.

The heaviest snow and the strongest winds should wind down by 7 a.m. Tuesday, and the snow will taper by lunchtime, according to Storm Team 4.

Snowfall projections were greatly reduced by early Tuesday morning. By the time the blizzard is over, between 4 and 8 inches of snow are expected to be on the ground in New York City. Up to 20 inches of snow are possible in eastern Suffolk County. Areas further west should get 3 to 6 inches.

Follow Storm Team 4 on Facebook and Twitter for latest projected totals

Most of the waterfront counties in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are under coastal flood watches or warnings from Monday night into early Tuesday.

There were some scattered reports of outages late Monday. One residence hall at Stony Brook University had power knocked out at about 10:30 p.m., affecting 1,500 people, according to campus police. Students were provided temporary shelter, and the minor outage was expected to be "remedied quickly." 

Drivers on Long Island flocked to gas stations early Monday to fuel their vehicles and fill up gas cans for generators before the blizzard. Some stations in Hicksville and Bethpage were already out of gas, and one attendant said he had been pumping gas nonstop since 6 a.m., pumping more in three hours than he typically does in a half day.

Hotel rooms booked quickly as travelers became stranded in the area. One Marriott hotel manager told NBC 4 New York her chain of hotels with the company had no vacancies within a six-mile radius of LaGuardia Airport.

More than 7,700 flights in and out of the Northeast were canceled, and many of them may not take off again until Wednesday. Passengers on at least one outbound Virgin Atlantic flight were stranded on the tarmac at Kennedy Airport for about six hours before being stuck back at the terminal after midnight, according to NBC News.

The largest snowstorm recorded in the city was a February 2006 storm that dumped 26.9 inches on Central Park. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
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New Haven Parking Ban, Snow Ordinances in Effect


As the blizzard approaches, New Haven police remind residents of parking restrictions and snow removal requirements.

The parking ban takes effect at 6 p.m. Monday and will end at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Parking will be barred on all snow routes during snow emergencies like this and otherwise parking is only allowed on sides of the street with even addresses. On-street barking is banned downtown and residents are required to park on even-numbered sides of the street in neighborhoods.

Property owners will be responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks or footpaths pedestrians can access.

The town forbids people from moving snow or ice onto the street from private properties, sidewalks or gutters, police said. Violators face a $250 fine per violation.

Residents can park for free at all public school lots, as well as at the Granite Square Garage on State Street starting at 5 p.m. Parking is also available at the Temple Street Garage for $3 per car starting at 5 p.m. Monday.

For New Haven storm updates, residents can sign up for the city's emergency alerts or visit the city's website.

More information about parking is available online and on the Park New Haven Facebook and Twitter pages.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hospitals Prepare for Storm


Hospitals across Connecticut are making accommodations as the blizzard approaches. 

Yale-New Haven Hospital is open throughout the storm, but many elective surgeries are being re-scheduled.

The emergency departments at Yale-New Haven, on the Saint Raphael campus and at the Shoreline Medical Center remain open around the clock. The Yale Health Center Urgent Care facility will remain open, but all non-emergency appointments for Tuesday have been canceled.

Windham and Backus hospitals will be open during the storm, but all Windham and Backus Hospital offsite health centers are closed on Tuesday and all Windham and Backus hospital community meetings and support groups are cancelled on Monday and Tuesday.

Bridgeport Hospital's Fairfield Urgent Care Center, at 309 Stillson Road, will open at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

Norwalk Hospital is operating normally, but some out-patient medical offices will be closed because of the storm.

Norwalk Hospital OP Psychiatric Clinic will close at noon on Tuesday with plans to re-open at noon on noon. Norwalk Hospital Occupational Health and Rehabilitation Services will close at 2 p.m. on Monday with plans to re-open at noon on Wednesday.
The following out-patient medical offices in Norwalk are closed after 5 p.m. on Monday and on Tuesday.

  • Norwalk Hospital Physicians and Surgeons
  • Norwalk Hospital Radiology Services
  • Norwalk Radiology and Mammography Center (NRMC)
  • Westport Radiology
  • New Canaan Radiology
  • Cross Street Radiology
  • Norwalk Hospital Lab Draw Stations

Call your physician or outpatient office to reschedule your appointment and re-confirm appointments before travelling on Wednesday.

Danbury Hospital and New Milford Hospital are also operating normally, but some  out-patient medical offices iwill be closed after 5 p.m on Monday and on Tuesday.

  • Western CT Medical Group Practices
  • Western CT Health Network Imaging Centers
  • Western CT Health Network Lab Draw Stations
  • Danbury Hospital’s Seifert & Ford Family Community Health Center
  • Ridgefield Surgery Center

The Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine will remain open throughout the blizzard and several staff members will be staying at the hospital for the next two days to make sure there will not be any disruption in care.

There will be no elective surgeries at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, Westerly Hospital or Pequot Health Center in Groton on Tuesday. They will resume at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

The following outpatient locations and services will be closing today at 3 p.m. and are scheduled to reopen Wednesday at 11 a.m.

  • L+M Cancer Center in Waterford
  • L+M Medical Group (all services at all sites, including walk-in centers)
  • Outpatient Diagnostic Imaging (all L+M and WH locations)
  • Outpatient Laboratory Services (all L+M and WH locations)
  • Outpatient Rehab Services (all L+M and WH locations)
  • Wound Center in Waterford
  • Sleep Center (open Wednesday night for testing)
  • Cardiac Rehab (L+M)
  • Pulmonary Rehab (L+M)
  • Employee Health (L+M)
  • Occupational Health Center at Pequot
  • Neurodiagnostics (EEG and EMG)
  • Employee and Occupational Health (Westerly)

All inpatient and emergency department functions at both hospitals and Pequot Health Center are operating on a normal schedule.

Bridgeport Hospital is posting all weather-related closings on its website.

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Association Advises Truckers to Sit Out the Storm


A statewide travel ban goes into effect at 9 p.m. on Monday and the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut said it has advised the 800 trucking companies it works with to bring their vehicles home and anticipate parking them through Tuesday.

“We strongly urge all of our members to spread the word to others that this is a hard ban designed to permit the state to deal with what may be a 4 inch per hour snow fall. This is a serious storm and it should be handled as such,” Mike Riley, president of the statewide trade association of the trucking industry, said in a statement.

Riley said the advanced notice on the travel ban gave drivers enough time to make Monday’s deliveries and cope with the logistical problems.

The organization has also advised members to fuel up and park their vehicles until the ban is lifted.

Areas have been arranged for drivers to park, according to the trucking association. In the past, truckers from outside the state had a difficult time finding safe places to shelter during inclement weather in Connecticut, Riley said.

“We are very pleased that the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection have arranged to open the parking areas in both Hammonasset State Park in Madison and Sherwood Island State Park in Westport as Truck Refuge Areas, to allow out of state truckers to wait out the storm,” Riley said.

1 Killed in Simsbury Crash


A driver died at the hospital late Monday afternoon following a crash with another vehicle on Bush Hill Road in Simsbury, according to police.

Police said two cars collided in the area of 299 Bushy Hill Road around 3 p.m. Monday. Although snow had begun to fall around the state, police said weather does not appear to have been a factor.

Medics rushed one of the drivers to Saint Francis Hospital, where the person died, according to police. Authorities have not publicly identified the driver.

LifeStar was called to the scene but adverse weather conditions kept the helicopter from flying.

Bushy Hill Road was closed in Simsbury following the crash.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Offers Snow Removal Tips


As a blizzard threatens to drop up to 30 inches of snow across the state, the Connecticut Department of Public Health is offering snow removal tips to help residents stay safe while cleaning up after the storm.

Snow Shoveling

You can hurt yourself while shoveling snow if you're not careful. To protect your back, bend at your knees and keep the shovel close to your body. Avoid twisting your torso and instead re-position your feet before you dump out snow from your shovel.

Use a small-bladed shovel and scoop small amounts at once, especially when snow is heavy and wet.

Make sure to drink plenty of water while shoveling to avoid getting dehydrated.

Shoveling can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, so make sure to start slow and get your body ready by stretching out.

Try to time your shoveling around the warmest part of the day.

Snow Blowing/Throwing

Avoid wearing scarves or other loose clothing that could potentially get caught in the machine's moving parts.

When moving equipment, move carefully and avoid twisting to keep from slipping or hurting your back.

Never place hands, feet or other body parts inside the machine while the engine is running.

If the machine becomes clogged, cut the engine and use a cleaning tool to unclog it. Never use your hands or feet to clean out clogged equipment.

Wait for machines with gas model engines to cool down before refueling.

Do not run a gas-powered snow blower/throwing in an enclosed area such as a garage or shed. This could put you at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Photo Credit: AP

Man Accused of Being Russian Spy


The FBI arrested a man they say is a Russian spy Monday in a Bronx parking lot, law enforcement officials tell NBC New York.

Evgeny Buryakov is charged in a criminal complaint with being an unregistered agent of the Russian government.

The court papers describe Buryakov as being an agent of the SVR, the foreign intelligence agency for the Russian Federation. Buryakov entered and remained in the U.S. as a private citizen under “non-official cover” and posed as an employee in the Manhattan office of a Russian bank.

Buryakov’s mission on behalf of the SVR was to gather intelligence on potential U.S. sanctions against the Russian Federation and U.S. efforts to develop alternate sources of energy, the court papers say.

Also charged in the criminal complaint are Igor Sporyshev, who had served as a Trade Representative in New York for the Russian Federation, and Victor Podobnyy, a former attaché to the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. Both Sporyshev and Podobnyy are believed to be in Russia.

Between 2012 and 2014, Buryakov and Sporyshev used coded language to signal they needed to meet and then met more than four dozen times at outdoor locations during which Buryakov passed bags, magazines and slips of paper to conceal the exchange of intelligence information.

Buryakov is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan Monday afternoon. Attorney information for the man wasn't immediately available.

Sikorsky Aircraft Closing at 7 p.m. Due to Storm


Sikorsky Aircraft is closing all Connecticut facilities at 7 p.m. tonight, due to the impending storm.

Second and third shift employees should not report to work Monday, according to a company spokesperson.

Decisions on any other closings will be made at a later time, the spokesperson said.

Sikorsky employees should call the company hotline for updates.

Route 72 Reopens in Plainville


Route 72 westbound has reopened in Plainville following a crash, according to state police.

The highway was closed near exit 1 while emergency crews respond to a crash on the highway, according to the Department of Transportation.

State police said no one was hurt.

Fire Rekindles at Southington Seafood Restaurant


Hours after fire broke out at a seafood restaurant in the Plantsville section of Southington, flames rekindled and firefighters rushed back to the scene as the Blizzard of 2015 intensified, according to police dispatchers.

Six fire engines and one ladder truck were called to Close Harbour Seafood at 959 Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike in the Plantsville section of Southington after the restaurant caught fire around 4:30 p.m. Monday, according to the fire department.

According to the restaurant website, Close Harbour Seafood is closed Mondays, so no one was there when flames broke out. No firefighters or civilians were hurt.

The fire rekindled around 1 a.m. Tuesday and emergency officials are back at the scene. It's not clear what caused the fire to restart.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: Rob Beaudoin

Shelters, Warming Centers Open


As blizzard conditions arrive in Connecticut, some cities and towns around the state have opening up shelters and warming centers to help keep residents safe.

Fairfield: An emergency shelter at Fairfield Ludlowe High School opened at 6 p.m. Monday. Residents in need of shelter are urged to first call the Emergency Communication Center at 203-254-4800.

Greenwich: Eastern Middle School and the Bendheim Western Greenwich Civic Center are on standby on shelters and have generators available.

Hamden: Warming centers are available Monday and Tuesday at all Hamden police and fire stations. The Miller Memorial Library and Hamden Senior Center at 2901 Dixwell Avenue, Whitneyville Branch Library at Carleton and Putnam avenues, Brundgage Community Branch Library at 92 Circular Avenue and Hamden Government Center at 2750 Dixwell Avenue will be open Monday.

Middletown: South Church will serve as a warming center from 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26 through 6 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28.

New London: The city has set up an emergency shelter at the Martin Center, which opened at 4 p.m. Monday.

Newington: In the event of widespread power outages, Newington High School will serve as as a shelter.

Norwich: The Emergency Operations Center opened at 5 p.m. Monday in the Norwich Public Utilities offices at 16 South Golden Street. An emergency shelter at Kelly Middle School on Mahan Drive also opened at 5 p.m.

Stamford: All fire stations and the Stamford Government Center are available as warming centers throughout the blizzard.

Trumbull: The Trumbull Senior Center opened up at 4 p.m. to shelter residents.

Wethersfield: No shelters are currently available, but Pitkin Community Center at 30 Greenfield Street will open in the event of widespread power outages.

Other municipalities have said shelters and warming centers will open up as needed. Anyone in need of shelter is urged to call 211.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Will Blizzard Be Boon or Bust for Delivery Services?


As cities along the East Coast started shutting down ahead of what authorities said could be a historic blizzard, food delivery companies were ramping up in the hopes of feeding hungry customers. But questions remained about how travel bans enacted amid treacherous conditions would affect business.

Popular services in New York City and beyond, including GrubHub and Delivery.com, were expecting spikes in orders from restaurants once the brunt of the storm hit and people hunkered down. The winter storm, projected to pummel the tri-state area with more than two feet of snow and high winds, prompted widespread travel warnings and planned school and business closures. 

“On particularly cold and snowy days, we see an increase in orders of comfort / cold-weather food from our restaurant partners,”  Kate McKee, vice president of marketing for delivery.com, wrote in an email.

But travel bans kept those deliveries from arriving as the storm intensified late Monday. In New York City for example, where restrictions were set to take effect at 11 p.m., Mayor Bill de Blasio declared that delivery bicycles were not emergency vehicles. Several services suspended deliveries overnight in accordance with the travel advisories. 

“Obviously the safety of the delivery drivers is of most importance to us,” said Allie Mack, a spokeswoman for GrubHub, which allows customers to order directly from about 30,000 takeout restaurants in more than 800 U.S. cities and London. “We’re constantly in contact with restaurants not only to determine if they’re going to be open but also to make sure that their drivers are safe.”

GrubHub was analyzing its data from Sunday to determine if people had heeded warnings about an impending blizzard, she said. The analysis could indicate whether order sizes were larger than normal because people wanted to have take-out meals on hand for the rest of the week or if tips were higher.

Like delivery.com, GrubHub was looking forward to orders rising following the snowfall. Neither company would provide figures on hikes or orders. But whether restaurants stay open to fill those orders is their decision, Mack said.

“As the blizzard sets in we just want to take the opportunity to remind diners to be appreciative of their delivery drivers and be patient,” she said.

Seamless, which is part of the same company as GrubHub, echoed those sentiments on social media, telling Twitter followers throughout the evening that the app-driven delivery service "remains open and is in constant communication with our open restaurants to ensure local safety guidelines are met." The app's account told one follower that they "hope customers are generous in understanding & tipping." 

"Shout out to the people on the front line!" Seamless replied to another user urging big tips amid bad weather. 

But by at about 10:30 p,m., that service, too, had shut down for the night.The app said in a statement online that it had "suspended Seamless ordering and restaurant service in the five boroughs of New York (as well as areas of New Jersey and Connecticut)" to allow for emergency vehicles to clear the roads.Yet hope remained that meals could start arriving again Tuesday, as many families and workers remained home due to the conditions.. 

"We are in constant communication with our restaurants, updating status on openings and closures, and we promise we’ll be back online as soon as we get clearance from the powers that be. In the meantime, cuddle up with your leftovers, help out your neighbors, and stay inside," the statement read.

Grocery delivery services were canceling or cutting back. Fresh Direct, which serves parts of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delware, would not make deliveries on Tuesday, it announced on its website.

Peapod, which has 24 markets in the United States, limited its East Coast deliveries to metro Boston and Providence and the Washington D.C. area Monday night, said a spokeswoman, Peg Merzbacher. Tuesday’s deliveries will be available only in Washington D.C., she said.

Natureworks Restaurant on Manhattan’s East 31st Street, which got more GrubHub and Seamless orders than any other New York City restaurant during last January’s polar vortex, planned to double its delivery staff for each shift, from 10 to 20. Manager Carlos Arcos was predicting a busy Tuesday.

But as evening approached, the restaurant instead decided to close at 7 p.m and it could remain closed on Tuesday.

"Right now my delivery guy was walking," he said.

Postmates, a courier service that can make deliveries from any restaurant or store, was putting together a plan in response to New York City’s travel ban, April Conyers, the company’s director of communications, said Monday afternoon.

But that has not stopped the company, which works with 6,000 couriers across 18 markets, from boosting its network of available independent contractors to meet increased demand, Conyers said. Postmates readied for the typical influx in orders by sending a message through Facebook encouraging New York-based couriers to sign up for shifts. In addition to a spike in restaurant delivery, she said orders for trips to the grocery store for storm essentials such as water and batteries tend to go up when conditions get bad.

"We know that demand is going to be really high, so we try to get as many postmates on the platform as possible to gear up for the storm,” she said.

Courier community managers send out tips for braving the conditions safely. Suggestions include bundling up with hand and foot warmers, wool socks, boots and trash bags, "because they’re really good ponchos on your bike,” Conyers said.

Recruiting couriers willing to take a job in the snow is not much of a challenge, she said. Postmates’ prices typically go up during bad weather to help temper the high demand, so couriers can expect to make more during bad weather, she said. Tips also increase.

“A lot of our couriers love it,” she said. “It’s kind of fun to be outside in the storm. You’re well compensated certainly in this type of weather.”

Photo Credit: Toby Baldinger
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Charges in Baby's Ferret Mauling


The parents of a one-month-old Delaware County, Pennsylvania, girl have been charged with endangerment after the family's ferrets severely mauled the baby's face.

The baby's nose, upper lip and cheek were eaten away in the attack that took place in a Darby home last Thursday, police said.

Burnie Fraim, 42, and 24-year-old Jessica Benales were each charged with five counts of endangering the welfare of a child, court documents show. The couple has five children including the one-month-old girl.

According to police and the child's father, the girl was strapped into her car seat in the living room of the home along the 300 block of Poplar Road when as many as three ferrets mauled her. The animals had broken out of a mesh cage. The parents were upstairs at the time.

The girl underwent emergency surgery at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and had stents placed into her nose allowing her to breathe, police said. Fraim told NBC10 last week his daughter will need to undergo several more surgeries to repair the damage.

All three ferrets were euthanized.

Darby Police Chief Robert Smythe called the mauling the "most horrific thing" he's seen happen to a child in his 45 years in law enforcement.

The home was infested with insects and lacked food, according to the chief. Three social services agencies were monitoring the family when the mauling took place.

Smythe said the couple had developmental disabilities and he questioned their ability to care for the children.

Fraim and Bernales were arraigned in Delaware County Court on Monday.

Photo Credit: NBC10/Facebook

Driver Arrested After Towing Sledding Kids in Pickup Truck


A Connecticut driver faces charges after police say he towed a sled full of kids behind his pickup truck at high speeds in Monday evening's snowstorm.

Police said Michael Chauvin, 40, of Plainfield, was driving recklessly in the area of Community Avenue with several young children and another adult in the bed of his truck, towing others on a sled behind him.

Chauvin was arrested and charged with four counts of risk of injury to a minor, four counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

He was released on a $10,000 bond and is due in court Feb. 9.

Photo Credit: Plainfield Police Department

Jogger Saves Woman From Icy Lake


Yariv Becher said he almost didn’t put on his running shoes Sunday morning, but his decision to run in the snow near Belmont Harbor for the first time in a few weeks helped save the life of a woman who fell through the ice into Lake Michigan.

“Because of the snow, I haven’t run there for a few weeks,” Becher said.

The father of three, originally from Israel, was jogging near the harbor around 10:30 a.m. when he said he heard noises.

“I was running with my earphones listening to music and I heard noises,” he said. “There wasn’t anyone there, so I looked around, and then I noticed [a woman] hanging onto the ropes.”

A woman in her 30s, who may have been out for a run as well, had slipped and fallen into the arctic water surrounded by ice, police said. She had managed to use a belt to strap herself to the dock to keep from going under.

“She pretty much just held on for life, and she sort of lodged her arm through the belt, the strap, and was able to yell out for help,” said Sgt. Ruben Ramirez with the Chicago Police Department.

Becher said he tried to lift her out, but her legs were stuck in the ice. He called 911 and kept her head above water until police and fire rescuers arrived.

“The only thing she said: ‘Don’t let me fall. Please help me,’” Becher said. “I asked for her name, she didn't tell me her name. I think she was too cold to talk.”

The woman spent about 20 minutes in the 35-degree water, according to authorities. Police credit the quick thinking of the woman and Becher with saving her life.

“We’re not the heroes,” said Ramirez. “Yesterday, the jogger, he’s a hero.”

The woman was treated for hypothermia and was released from the hospital Monday. Police warned residents to stay off the ice and call 911 if you spot someone who has fallen in.

Derby House Fire Displaces 10


Seven adults and three children are without at home after fire broke out at 135 Mount Pleasant Street in Derby during the snowstorm Monday evening.

A spokesperson for the American Red Cross said two families were forced from their homes and are receiving emergency acommodations.

It's not clear if anyone was injured in the blaze.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Monica Garske

Auschwitz Survivor Recalls Ordeal


Helen Farkas is one of a dwindling group of Holocaust survivors still alive to relay the horrors she experienced.

At age 94, the Romanian-born woman is still an active speaker, telling children and civic groups how she scrambled for scraps of bread and escaped the infamous Auschwitz death camp march with her sister in 1945, during a guard shift in the middle of the night.

"We just slipped away," she told a group of students this spring. "Very slowly."

Farkas, who lives in Burlingame, a small city just south of San Francisco, is one of about 40 regular speakers at the Jewish Family and Children's Services Holocaust Center in San Francisco still around to tell her story. By the center's estimates, Farkas is one of 4,000 Holocaust survivors still living in the San Francisco Bay Area.

On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of 7,000 Auschwitz prisoners in Poland, Farkas's eyewitness accounts are even more poignant.

"I want people to remember the Holocaust," Farkas told NBC Bay Area on Monday. "I teach tolerance. I want future generations to know what has happened and what can happen."

Morgan Blum Schneider, director of education at the JFCS Holocaust Center, also wants to keep Farkas's and other Holocaust survivors' stories alive, even after the survivors have gone. Most survivors, like Farkas, are already in their 90s. Many have died in recent years.

"We are looking at an era, the post-survivor era," Blum Schneider said, "that with each day, a person loses their life, or their memory."

To keep the stories present in people's minds, however, the agency has created new speakers groups to engage the children, and grandchildren, of Holocaust survivors. A few grandchildren of survivors have offered to to tell their grandparents' stories of death and survival throughout the Bay Area. Each year, the JFCS Holocaust Center reaches 20,000 students through their educational programs. 

In addition, the agency also has created the Tauber Holocaust Library and Education Program Oral History project, where 2,000 audio and video testimonies have been collected for all to see.

Blum Schneider said the goal is not only to study how Jews were tormented and killed during the Holocaust, but to learn how they lived, as well.

Farkas's oral history is indeed a window into how people lived in Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp during World War II. At one point, Farkas remembered trying to survive on crumbs.

"I've got to save these two bites of bread for tomorrow morning, because if I am able to put two bites of bread into my stomach, then I can start the day," Farkas recalled.

But what she also remembered was the humanity of those in the camp with her. "Everybody wants to survive," she said. "But I cannot remember one incidence that somebody would have harmed the other, or would have stolen the bread from those who saved it."

What Farkas wants most now is for children to remain interested in the genocide and in preventing another one, anywhere, in the future.

"I want them to see how lucky they were, being born in a free country," she said. "We have to be alert so that it will never happen again."

Photo Credit: Morgan Blum Schneider, Director of Education, JFCS Holocaust Center

Stafford Man Charged With Sexually Assaulting Child


A Stafford man has been charged with sexual assault after inappropriately touching a child, according to state police.

Police said John J. Newton, 67, of Stafford molested a child whose family he knew. Family members complained to police on Dec. 31 and authorities obtained an arrest warrant for Newton on Jan. 23.

He was arrested and charged with five counts of risk of injury to a minor, five counts of fourth-degree sexual assault and one count of risk of injury to a minor.

Newton was held on $150,000 bond and appeared in court Monday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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