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Quinnipiac Student Sues School Over Suspension


A Quinnipiac University student is suing the school over his suspension.

The student received a letter from the school on Nov. 11 claiming he was a threat to himself, others and school property, according to court documents. Then he got another one on Nov. 25 stating that he violated various areas of the school code, including "disruption/rights of others," "complicity," "physical harm," "coercion," "health and safety" and "hazing," however the letter did not specify his actions that prompted the allegations for the fall semester.

The suspension is effective for the upcoming spring semester.

The student is arguing that he wasn't properly notified about the allegations against him before the student conduct hearing on Dec. 2, that the school wouldn't hear his side and that his loss of his tuition payments for the spring is a "breach of contract," according to court documents.

The hearing ruled that the student would be permitted to take his exams for the fall semester and suspended in the spring.

The student is asking for a minimum of $15,000 and to be reinstated at the school for the fall semester.

Power Restored After Transformer Issue


A transformer blew in front of Eli's on Whitney in Hamden, briefly knocking out power to traffic lights north of Route 15.

As of 6:47 p.m., 1,431 customers were without power in Hamden and 312 didn't have it in North Haven. Power was restored in Hamden by 7:52 p.m.

United Illuminating responded to repair the damage.

Photo Credit: United Illuminating

Dog Eats Women's Boots, Undergoes Surgery


A dog is recovering after veterinarians removed a pair of women’s boots from his stomach.

The dog, a 4-year-old mixed breed named Vince, ate a pair of calf-high women’s Frye boots Friday afternoon, according to his owners, who live in Philadelphia.

Vince was taken to the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center (VSEC) in Philadelphia where he underwent surgery Saturday afternoon.

“These X-rays are absolutely remarkable, especially given that you can see and count the number of eyelets on the boots,” said Dr. Laura Tseng, a board-certified specialist in critical care and emergency medicine with VSEC. “The sheer volume of what he ate is impressive and caused a very serious emergency situation.”

Doctors at VSEC said the volume of the leather material was so large that Vince’s stomach was unable to pass the material into his small intestines. The material was removed manually during his surgery.

“If your pet is experiencing vomiting, lethargy or a lack of appetite, these are all signs a foreign body may be present and they should see a veterinarian as soon as possible,” said Tseng.

Vince’s surgery was successful, according to a VSEC spokesman. He is expected to be released from the center Sunday.

Photo Credit: VSEC

Mother of Choking Game Victim Talks


The videos are disturbing. A young girl in pink pajamas leans on another, cutting off her air supply until the girl collapses.

Link: Erik's Cause

A young boy in a public gym quietly slumps down against a wall. A teenager, alone in her room, chokes herself until she begins to twitch and gasp.

All of these are recent examples of videos posted online of kids playing "the choking game." The game goes by many names, including, the fainting game, pass out challenge, space monkey, California choke and maybe most appropriately, suffocation roulette.

The game has been around for generations, but with the proliferation of online videos, safety advocates worry there is more temptation than ever. Judy Rogg, a social worker, told NBC4 these videos encourage kids to dare others to "go further" with little regard for the risk involved.

"Kids think it's fun," she said. "Kids don't realize that it's dangerous."

The game cuts the oxygen to the brain, in the hopes of getting light headed, or a feeling of euphoria. But the high comes with great risks including broken bones, seizures and even death.

There is a long list of things parents warn their children about, and Rogg said "the choking game" should be part of that conversation. It is a conversation Rogg wishes she had with her own son. In 2010 Erik was just 12 years old, when found him unresponsive, alone in their home, with a rope around his neck.

"This is important, as important to talk about with your kids as drugs and alcohol and sex," said Rogg. "The horror just stops you cold."

"I truly believe he did not intend to end his life. He had plans that evening, he had plans the next day, and he wasn’t going anywhere."

Erik was rushed to the hospital. While there, Judy explains that detectives told her they believed her son died from "the choking game."

It was the first time she had ever heard of it. Several days later, a classmate of Erik's came forward and told her Erik had learned the game at school on a Monday.

He died one day later.

Judy struggles with the loss every day. Her apartment celebrates his memory -- in one corner rests his skateboard. A collection of baseball bats are on a shelf and baby booties are tucked in the pocket of a handmade quilt.

Rogg has now developed an awareness program called "Erik's Cause."

"This is about saving other kids, that's Erik’s legacy, and that's the legacy that I want for my son right now," Rogg said.

Rogg insists if Erik knew the dangers, he never would have played the game.

"I would love to see this program in every health curriculum across the country."

Right now, only one district has taken up her program. Jennifer Wood, Director of Secondary Education for the Iron County School District in Cedar City Utah, said the choking game is a real problem.

"We've had four children die of this," Wood said.

San Bernardino Child Welfare Coordinator Earl Smith said he believes there have been choking deaths in the San Bernardino area. He is one of the first school administrators to advocate for a program like "Erik's Cause."

"As a teacher I actually heard students talking about it all of the time," Smith said. "We have to get the education out, not only to kids, but to parents."

There's a long list of topics teenagers are already warned about, including drugs, alcohol and texting while driving. Still, 17-year-old Roman Valentine said schools need to include warnings against the fleeting high of the choking game because it can be more dangerous than drugs.

"Weed isn't really good, but I mean, when do you really see deaths about that?"

Rogg continues to travel the country, talking to health professionals and school districts, hoping more of them will adopt her program. She said Erik always wanted to be of service and she feels his presence as she now tries to help others.

"He was really smart, and as one of his best friends said, 'Even smart strong kids can make dumb choices, with deadly consequences.'"

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Crews Put Out Fire Despite Frozen Hydrants


Fairfield firefighters had an added challenge putting out a garbage truck fire on Saturday morning when the water they tried to access in two nearby fire hydrants was frozen.

Crews arrived at the transfer station at 530 One Rod Highway at 10:22 a.m. and found heavy smoke and flames rising from the back and side of an Enviro Express garbage truck. The company is based in Bridgeport.

Firefighters sought out another working fire hydrant upon discovering the closest two were frozen.

"The severe cold made extinguishing this fire very challenging as some of the equipment was freezing and the water from the fire created extremely icy operating conditions," Fairfield Assistant Chief Schuyler Sherwood said.

It took unloading the garbage from the truck onto the parking lot to fully extinguish the fire, according to the fire department.

Firefighters were on scene until 11:57 a.m.

The fire department asks residents to clear snow off fire hydrants near their homes, particularly with an upcoming snowstorm on its way.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department

Pedestrian Hospitalized After Car Hits Her


A 27-year-old female pedestrian was hospitalized after a car struck her in West Haven on Saturday night.

The accident happened at the intersection of Main Street and Washington Avenue.

Police responded just before 7:30 p.m.

The pedestrian was transported to the hospital to be treated for injuries that seemed minor initially. At the hospital, doctors discovered she had broken several bones and her hip and that she had many other injuries.

West Haven's major accident unit is investigating the crash.

Police have not released the name of the woman.

More information will be provided as it comes in.

McDonald's to Give Away Free Coffee After Super Bowl


Many McDonald's restaurants in Connecticut and Massachusetts are offering free small cups of coffee on Monday in honor of the Super Bowl. 

Customers can get one free, small McCafe hot coffee a piece at participating locations, excluding Fairfield County.

No purchase is necessary.

The promotion runs all day Monday, Feb. 2.

Photo Credit: McDonald's

Phoenix-Area Patriots Fans Hold Massive Party


Among the cactus and gravel landscaping just north of Downtown Phoenix, sits an unlikely hotbed of Patriots fanatics.

On Saturday, they came together at their hangout, Toso's Sports Bar & Grill to take part in a pre-Super Bowl party.

The New England Patriots Fan Club of Arizona is about 300 members strong, with some coming from more than an hour away in the Arizona desert every Sunday to watch their beloved team. This Sunday will be no different.

"In past Super Bowls, everyone goes to their own private parties, but, the Patriots are in it, we're at our sports club bar," said David Charron, who moved to Arizona from Plainville, Massachusetts 20 years ago. He now lives in Glendale, just block from where the Pats will take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.

On Saturday, members of the club were joined at Toso's by other New Englanders, including some from Connecticut, who made the trip to the Phoenix area for the big game. Some came down without tickets

"Still looking for tickets. We're going to wait it out," said Mike Langlois, of Cromwell. "We're not going to do anything crazy like spend $6,000 or $7,000 on a ticket, but I'd be happy to spend $1,500 or $2,000."

The gathering on Saturday included games, raffles, music and even an appearance by the Patriots cheerleaders.

The club has been in existence in one form or another for about 30 years. The current members have been gathering at Toso's for the past five years. It's the perfect place for the Patriots fans, since the bar's owner is a Bloomfield native.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Suspects Ram Police Car


New Haven police arrested two people suspected of assaulting and trying to rob a 33-year-old Bridgeport man after they slammed into an officer's cruiser in a stolen car and led police on a pursuit on Friday.

Tyrone Thomas, 23, and William Miller, 22, both of New Haven, are both facing attempted robbery and larceny charges.

Mario Frazier, the victim, pointed a passing officer to where his attackers ran at the back of a building on Quinnipiac Avenue as they saw the cruiser approach, police said.

He told police that the men confronted him while he was on his way to visit his mom and told him to "run it," slang for demanding his valuables. The men got into a scuffle and Frazier told police that he felt his assailants poke him with something sharp. EMTs treated him for face scrapes and a small side laceration on scene, but he declined further treatment.

When the officer pulled up to the building to investigate, Thomas rammed into his cruiser in a stolen sedan, police said. He took off and led the police officer on a chase, crashing at the Quinnipiac Avenue rotary, according to police. Both men ran from the car.

Police located Thomas and Miller and charged them both with criminal attempt to commit first-degree robbery, second-degree larceny, assault on a police officer and multiple motor vehicle violations. 

Officers seized a large knife found at the scene as evidence.

Both Thomas and Miller were taken to the hospital after complaining of injuries due to the crash.

Miller is a convicted felon, police said.

Photo Credit: New Haven Police Department

Vernon Police Search for Car in Hit-and-Run Crash


Vernon police are investigating a hit-and-run crash that happened at 236 Hartford Turnpike in town.

Police are looking for a white pickup truck that is damaged on the front side.The struck hit another car and fled the scene, according to police.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Police Seek Burglary Suspect


Norwalk police are searching for a suspect who broke into a grocery store at the corner of Wall and Main Streets earlier this month.

Surveillance footage person captured a suspect on camera in a burglary at R&G Grocery in Norwalk on Jan. 2 at about 5:50 a.m. The suspect pried a lock off the front door and stole cash from the register and cigarette packets.

The individual ran from the scene.

Norwalk police ask anyone who recognizes the suspect to contact Det. Justin Bisceglie at 203-854-3181 or jbisceglie@norwalkct.org. Anyone with information can also contact the department's tip line at 203-854-3111 or submit anonymous tips online at www.norwalkpd.com or by texting NPD and any information to CRIMES (274637).

Photo Credit: Norwalk Police Department

Structure Fire in Cornwall


Cornwall firefighters are responding to a structure fire at 86 Town Street in Cornwall.

The call came in at 9:26 p.m.

There are no further details.

Community Raises Funds for Teen Hit-And-Run Victims


In Waterbury, dozens of people came together to help two teenagers who were injured in a hit-and-run while they were out on a date.

There was a fundraiser at the Rehoboth Apostolic Church Saturday.

The special mass helped raised money and the spirits for the families of 18-year-old Jerry Goodman, Jr. and 16-year-old Dileydy Mota.

Two weeks ago, police say the boyfriend and girlfriend were out walking to dinner and a movie when they were struck by a car running a red light near the intersection of Brass Mill Way and East Main Street.

“I can’t see how anyone would hit anybody but then teenagers and keep on going,” says Jerry Goodman, Sr.

Jerry Goodman, Sr. says the hit and run left his son with a broken femur.

“He’s coming along with therapy. Every day, the nurse comes every day and the therapist comes to make him walk, do the stairs. It’s a slow process but he’s coming along,” says Goodman.

Dileydy’s mother, Mirna Gonzalez, says her daughter had a serious skull fracture.

On Saturday, she was resting at home.

“Today was a good day. Today she’s not complaining. Little dizzy here and there but today is a good day,” says Gonzalez.

Both families say their kids will have months of recovery. The mass will help with their medical expenses.

“Anything will be helpful and appreciated,” says Goodman.

A $1,000 reward is being offered for anyone with information about the hit-and-run.

Man Killed After Being Struck By Vehicle in Hartford


Hartford Police are investigating after a man was found dead in the road late Saturday night.

Police responded to 80 Pope Park Highway at 11:35 p.m. Saturday. There they discovered a male victim unresponsive in the roadway suffering from injuries to various parts of his body.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene at 11:57 p.m.

The preliminary investigations  suggest that the victim was struck by one of the vehicles on the scene.

Police have located a person of interest.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Djokovic Beats Murray to Win Australian Open


Novak Djokovic won his fifth Australian Open title and extended Andy Murray's misery at Melbourne Park by beating the Scotsman 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-0 in the final Sunday.

Djokovic broke open a close match with a service break in the eighth game of the third set, winning four straight points. When he took a 4-0 lead in the final set, he smacked his fist hard against his chest in celebration.

Murray has now been runner-up four times here, losing twice previously to Djokovic in 2011 and 2013 and to Roger Federer in 2010.

Djokovic is a perfect 5-for-5 in Australian Open finals.

The second set was delayed for about five minutes after the seventh game when a court invader protesting Australia's refugee policies was removed by security.

Photo Credit: AP

Shelters Packed in Cold Snap


It may be a sunny day that's bright enough to wear sunglasses, but it's far from summer as people flock to warming centers to escape the bitter cold slamming Connecticut following light snow Friday and a blizzard earlier in the week.

The temperatures are in the single digits, but the windchill make it feel even colder. In Hartford, it felt like -13 degrees with windchill.

Warming centers are open in various towns statewide. You can call 211 to find the nearest warming center with openings. The state hotline is experiencing a high number of calls. It took NBC Connecticut a half hour to get through to someone on the line, but a spokesperson said the average wait time is closer to 15 minutes.

Hartford's shelters were packed Saturday but continue to accept people to help them stay safe. McKinney's Men's Shelter on Huyshope Avenue was crowded. The shelter has 78 beds available, but found room for 90 men who came in Friday night to escape the cold. McKinney's will stay open throughout the day Saturday.

"There's people sleeping on the floor. People sleeping on the cots out on the floor," said Douglas Cameron, who was staying in the shelter. "Sometimes they run out of those so people just have to sleep or sit up all night. But it's better than the alternative, which is sleeping outside."

And that's not preferable with the freezing cold temperatures.

"You stay out here long enough and you'll get sick or die," Cameron said. "....I get disability right now, so I can't really afford an apartment, otherwise I'll be sitting there in an apartment with electric and lights, and nothing else."

Despite the cold, some people were still outside braving the cold in the capital city Saturday morning. Half a dozen people were bundled up at a downtown bus stop in Hartford.

"I have two coats, a scarf, and two shirts," Lisa Rodriguez, of Hartford, said.

Hartford resident William Hardie was also waiting for the bus and keeping warm with five layers of clothes.

"Wicked, wicked cold," Hardie said.

One woman said she expected to wait outside for 30 to 40 minutes for the bus to arrive.

It could take even less time than that though for frostbite to set in in temperatures like this, possible less than a half hour.

Stay inside if you can, but if you do have to be outside, it's a good idea to dress in layers and wear a hat, scarf and gloves. Dress warmly even if you're just dropping your kids off at practice or running to the grocery store in the event you have car trouble or get stuck outside. Pack extra blankets, hand and foot warmers and bottles of water in your car as a precaution.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford Firefighter on Leave After DUI Arrest


A Hartford firefighter has been placed on administrative leave after he was arrested on charges of driving under the influence in Vernon.

The Hartford Fire Department learned late Saturday night that firefighter Michael Digiacomo, 56, was arrested Jan. 21 at 7:13 p.m. on charges including drunken driving and put him on paid leave because of the incident, the fire department said in a news release.

Digiacomo has been a Hartford firefighter since 1999.

Vernon police charged him with operating under the influence and failure to drive right.

Photo Credit: Vernon Police Department

DMV Road Tests Canceled for Monday


All Department of Motor Vehicle road tests in Danbury, Hamden and Willimantic have been canceled for Monday, Feb. 2 due to the approaching snowstorm.

While the DMV is normally closed on Mondays, the agency had set up some additional road tests in those locations.

Tests can be rescheduled by calling 860-263-5700 in the Hartford area or 1-800-842-8222 from anywhere else. The DMV will also be reaching out to anyone who has appointments scheduled to notify them of the cancellations.

The DMV reminds drivers to clear snow and ice off of vehicles before hitting the roads during the snowstorm in keeping with the new state law. Anyone who violates the rule could face fines.

Drivers are only exempt from being fined when the precipitation happens while they're traveling, according to the DMV.

Woman Shot During Home Invasion in New Haven


Police are searching for the man who broke into a New Haven apartment, chased a woman who lived there and shot her in the thigh.

According to police, the 27-year-old resident returned to her apartment on County Street around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and found a strange man in her home.

She tried to run and he pursued her, opening fire and shooting her in the leg. Police said the victim was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

Police searched the building but couldn't find a suspect. He's described as a thin man in his late 20s who stands about 5 feet 6 inches tall and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt at the time of the break-in.

Anyone with information on the incident is urged to call New Haven police detectives at 203-946-6304. Calls can remain anonymous.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bradley Airport Flights Canceled Ahead of Storm


Flights coming in and out of Bradley International Airport have been canceled as another round of snow hits the state that could leave us with up to a foot of accumulation.

A spokesperson for the airport said a total of 20 arrivals and 5 departures were canceled Sunday night. So far, 46 departures and 29 arrivals are canceled for Monday.

Check with your airline for more information.

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