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Rt. 72 Reopens After 6-Car Crash


Route 72 east has reopened in Plainville after a six-car crash.

The highway was closed temporarily until the crash was cleared and state Department of Transportation crews treated the roadway, state police said.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

1 Hospitalized After Kitchen Fire in Hartford


One person is hospitalized after a small kitchen fire in Hartford.

Fire broke out in a fourth-floor apartment on Gillett Street early Tuesday morning and was contained to that floor.

One male was transported to St. Francis Hospital. No information has been released on his injuries.

No additional information has been released.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Schools Delayed As Towns Finish Digging Out After Storm

Police Warn Residents About Dangerous Icicles


The snow and ice was a concern Monday on the ground as crews cleared roads and sought places to put the piling snow, but South Windsor police are also warning residents about a danger from above – icicles.

Chief Matthew Reed warned parents to keep their kids away from icicles dangling from homes and buildings.

"They're heavier than you think and can cause serious injuries," he tweeted, sharing photos of long, sharp icicles hanging off the edges of roof. 

Are you seeing icicles on the buildings in your area? If you can safely take a picture, please send your icicle photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com or share them with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police Department
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I-395 South Closed in Putnam


Interstate 395 South in Putnam is closed after a three-car crash, according to state police.

The crash happened near exit 96 and injuries are reported.

Check back for updates.

Sidewalk Closed Due to Reported Ice, Snow Falling From Skycrapers


The sidewalk in front of the City Place skyscrapers in Hartford is closed as firefighters investigate reports of snow and ice falling from the buildings, police said.

Crews are on scene at City Place 1 and II, located on Asylum Street. The front of at least one of the skyscrapers is cordoned off with caution tape and the sidewalk is closed on the Pearl Street side.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Schools Delayed, Another Storm on the Way


Several schools are delayed on Tuesday as towns continue to dig out from the third consecutive Monday snowstorm and another storm might  be on the way.

Fair weather is in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday and a storm could impact the state Thursday, possibly leaving record cold in its wake and likely dropping another few inches on the state.

Tuesday will be party cloudy with temperatures in the low 30s. Wednesday will bring slightly cooler air, with highs of 25-30 degrees.

A dip in the jet stream will cause a storm to form on Thursday. Snow is expected to begin falling midday Thursday into the evening.

The exact track of the storm will determine the amount of snow we receive. If the storm tracks farther east, as present data indicates, we could receive a glancing blow rather than a direct hit, according to Chief First Alert Meteorologist Brad Field. The heaviest snow would hit Cape Cod.

It's important to note, however, that this is an early prediction and subject to change depending on how the storm develops.

Following Thursday's snowfall, bitter cold air will move south from the North Pole and could bring record cold temperatures to the state Friday and through the weekend into Monday.

Download our weather app for the latest updates on this week's forecast.

Send your winter weather photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Hollywood Film "Blue Line" Shooting in Connecticut


A car explodes in front of a snow-covered, colorful nostalgia store in Middletown. If you see that scene unfolding today outside Wild Bill's Nostalgia shop, don't be alarmed. It's only a movie, but a Hollywood action-packed thriller at that with a lot of Connecticut talent.

Actor and producer David Gere helped bring Hollywood to his hometown of Cromwell and the surrounding area as Hollywood producer and former Groton resident Richard Switzer's production company, Switzer Entertainment Group, films "Blue Line" in Connecticut this week.

Directed by Greenwich resident Jacob Cooney, "Blue Line" is a movie "about revenge," telling the story of a "master thief pulling off the heist of a lifetime with a jaded police detective hot on her trail," according to a news release about the film. Cooney, who "recently left Hollywood to bring his writing and directing talents to Connecticut, co-wrote the movie, the release said.

The car explosion was being filmed at Wild Bill's on Tuesday, fresh after the third consecutive Monday snowstorm hit Connecticut.

Professional stunt sequences and car chases are going to be filmed near Golf Club Road in Cromwel.

"It’s exciting to have Hollywood level car chase scenes and fight choreography performed by stunt legends Gary Hymes, Tom McComas and directed by Eric Norris (son of Chuck Norris) who recently finished the final scenes of the Sons of Anarchy series in a local town setting," Los Angeles producer and actor Thyme Lewis ("Days of Our Lives," "American Horror Story," "Sons of Anarchy") said in a statement.

The film stars WWE professional wrestler Kevin Nash ("The Punisher," "The Longest Yard" and "Magic Mike") as Cisco, Tom Sizemore ("Saving Private Ryan, "Black Hawk Down" and "Heat") as Det. Broza and Jordan Ladd ("Never Been Kissed, "Cabin Fever, "Death Proof") as Lindsay Walters. Lewis plays Chris Mack.

Gere, who has credits in various films and television series, including an episode of "Gossip Girl," "Army of the Damned," "A Bet's A Bet" and "Sensory Perception," plays Declan. Partnering with Switzer, Lewis and producer and sales agent Tyler Konney on the project, Gere is the reason it's being filmed in the Cromwell area.

One of his contacts was Cromwell High School classmate and Cromwell Mayor Enzo Faienza.

"I'm so proud of Dave and his desire to go to Hollywood and make his dream come true to bring movie making to our town," Faienza said in a statement."It's a testament to our youth that if you work hard and strive for your goals anything is possible. These are exciting times for Cromwell as Dave is including so many members of our community in process of making this film. It has been a collaborative effort, and a pleasure working with Dave, Thyme, Richard and Jacob. They are true professionals who care about the integrity of the town and making the film work here. I can't wait to see the final product when it is completed."

The Switzer Entertainment Group began filming Jan. 25 and plans on shooting through Feb. 13.

Switzer, who was highlighted on Entertainment Tonight as the "youngest movie producer in history), is getting the community involved, including about 200 Middletown and Cromwell crew members, extras and residents, local officials like Cromwell Police Chief Anthony Salvatore and Fire Chief Stephen Pendel, Cromwell High School and small businesses like Wild Bill's, the Cromwell Dine and Willowbrook Package Store.

More information on the film is available on www.switzerent.com, tayloranddodge.com/home and its IMDB page.

Photo Credit: Tony Gagnon

Police Seek Suspect in Stabbing on Mashantucket Reservation


State police are searching for the man accused of stabbing an acquaintance at his home on the Mashantucket Pequot reservation in Ledyard early Sunday morning while children were in the house.

According to police, Nicholas Harris, 22, got into a fight with another man and stabbed him at Harris' home on Coachman Pike in Ledyard after midnight Sunday.

Both state police and tribal police were called to the scene.

The victim was taken to Backus Hospital and transported to Hartford Hospital for additional treatment. His condition is unknown.

State police have obtained an arrest warrant for Harris charging him with assault and risk of injury to a minor. He is believed to be somewhere in eastern Connecticut.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is urged to call Connecticut State Police Troop E at 860-848-6500. Calls will remain confidential.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Drug Suspect Busted After Burying Himself in Snow: Police


A Florida man wanted in New York was arrested in Ridgefield after a police dog found him  buried in a snow pile, police said.

Dispatchers called Ridgefield police for help at 9:18 p.m. Saturday when the car they were chasing through Westchester County began heading toward Connecticut, according to police.

The driver, Antony Vincent, 27, of Miami, was wanted on a felony warrant and police believed he may have been carrying a weapon.

Officers found Vincent's car abandoned in a driveway on Mead Ridge Road in Ridgefield. Police said Vincent appeared to have chosen a random spot to dump his car before getting out and running.

Police K-9 Loki tracked Vincent to a snow bank nearly a quarter of a mile from where he left the car. Authorities said Vincent had buried himself in the snow in an effort to hide.

Loki also sniffed out a nearby bag containing around 3.5 grams of cocaine, 25 grams of marijuana, drug packaging material and a switchblade, police said.

Officers took Vincent into custody and charged him with interfering with the duties of a police officer, first-degree failure to appear for a 2006 criminal mischief case, possession of drug paraphernalia, carrying a dangerous weapon, illegal possession of marijuana with intent to sell, illegal possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

Vincent posted $7,500 bond but was turned over to Connecticut State Police, who also had an active warrant for his arrest.

Vincent is scheduled to appear in Danbury Superior Court at 10 a.m. on Feb. 20.

Beach Parking Violations Increased in East Haven


Just after Connecticut's third Monday snowstorm in a row, East Haven is already thinking ahead about summer, announcing that beach-goers will face increased fines for parking violations near Cosey Beach this coming summer season.

The Town Council approved an ordinance on Feb. 3 imposing a $100 fine for parking violations in effort to reduce "parking woes" at the beach this summer after a slew of complaints last year, according to a release from the mayor's office. The decision marks the first revision to the parking fine structure since 1985, officials said.

"In response to concerns raised by residents, I directed our Police Commission to review and amend the regulations regarding beach parking," East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo Jr. said in a statement. "In addition to strategically relocating no-parking signs, the Commission and Town Council have now increased the fine for parking in designated no-parking zones from $10 dollars to $100 dollars."

The plan was several months in the making. Police Commission Chairman Bill Illingworth, Commissioner Eduardo Torrealba, Town Councilman Joseph Santino and East Haven resident Richard Poulton comprise a subcomittee on parking and visited the area near the town beach in the fall. They decided to move the "no parking" signs to the southern side of Cosey Beach Avenue to bar anyone from parking in front of homes and blocking driveways, according to the mayor's office.

"Phase one of addressing parking congestion was to strategically relocate and replace no-parking signs," Maturo said. "With that task complete, I directed our Police Commission to address the issue of the town's outdated parking fine structure. The thought was that increasing penalties for violating the parking regulations would deter individuals from parking where they are not supposed to."

A police commission subcommittee and town attorneys developed a proposal for ordinance amendments this winter and recommended it to the Town Council on Dec. 30.

"While the ordinance was updated primarily to combat a specific problem we've experienced at the beach, the revisions actually apply town-wide," Maturo said. "The ordinance now specifies five classes of offenses pertaining to 'stopping, standing, and parking' ranging in severity from improperly parking in a handicapped zone to exceeding posted time limits for parking. In amending the fines related to beach parking, we seized the opportunity to update Town-wide regulations as well."

Maturo said that town officials will also be "closely scrutinizing the use of Town-issued parking passes to ensure they're issued and used properly and fairly."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

DMV to Temporarily Close Offices to Make Improvements


The state Department of Motor Vehicles is making some upgrades to the 40- to 50-year-old system and that will require temporarily closing offices, two at a time, for a few days over the next several weeks to get the work done.

For six weeks, starting next Tuesday, two branches will close for a few days at a time, followed by a different set of branches. This is all to accommodate what the DMV calls a major customer-service upgrade and computer system improvements allowing more online services.

Two offices each week will shut while employees have training on how to operate the new system. After the training, the DMV plans to make an announcement on when customers can expect the new system to start.

“We are alternating the closings to avoid major inconveniences that could come with shutting all offices for one week. This new system, when up and running, will bring many more customer service benefits than we have now,” DMV Commissioner Andres Ayala Jr. said in a statement.

The following is the closing schedule:

  • Feb. 17-20: Bridgeport and Norwalk offices, and the Stamford photo license center that is by appointment only.
  • Feb. 24-27: New Britain and Enfield offices
  • March: 3-6: Willimantic and Norwich offices
  • March 10–13: Waterbury and Danbury offices
  • March 17–20: Hamden and Old Saybrook offices
  • March 24–27: Wethersfield office

The offices will operate as normal for half-day Saturday operations.

One of the two offices closing each week will continue to handle learner’s permit test appointments, which is one of the highest-in-demand services DMV offers.

Check the DMV website for any updates before going to a branch office.

During the next six weeks, customers should expect some delays at branch offices. Check real-time online wait times or by downloading the DMV’s app.

While the changes are made, DMV officials advise not waiting to make renewals. Do it now.

Renew vehicle registrations by mail or online if your renewal indicates you are eligible.

You could also go to the nearest AAA office for license renewals to avoid lines.

One benefit of the computer changeover will include additional vehicle registration services available on the web, according to the DMV.

Among the changes planned are improvements to the existing online registration renewal program.

You will also be able to check online for unpaid property taxes, lack of insurance, delinquent parking violations, and other problems that can hold up a registration renewal and cause repeat trips to DMV.

You will also be able to reprint a registration certificate from a home or other computer or cancel a registration online.

You can order online special plates, such as vanity plates, or replacements for mangled plates.

Online services offered already include:

  • Learner's permit testing by appointment.
  • Real-time connections to DMV for leasing companies and car dealerships wanting to register vehicles purchased or leased by their customers.
  • Checking driver's license status.
  • Viewing wait times at DMV Offices.
  • Filling out a vehicle registration form at home and printing it.
  • Car dealers being able to renew their business licenses.
  • Canceling lost or stolen license plates.
  • Registration renewals for vehicle owners who have no outstanding obligations, such as delinquent property taxes, late emissions tests, unpaid parking tickets or other kinds of issues prohibiting renewal.
  • International Registration Plan (IRP) renewal payments for trucking companies.
  • Registration status checks.
  • Vanity plate availability.

Boy Scouts Auction Off Camp Tadma in Bozrah


The 27-acre private lake, broadcast tower and ranger residence at a now-defunct Cub Scout camp in Bozrah have been auctioned off to private bidders, according to real estate provider Fine & Company.

Camp Tadma was sold in two parts – one bidder purchased the camp and ranger residence and another bought the broadcast tower.

“This has been a most exciting and successful auction marketing program for highly sought after and rare Camp Tadma. We received literally thousands of inquiries from as far south as Florida and as far west as the Mississippi for the property and nationally for the broadcast tower,” said Fine & Company Principal Michael A. Fine.

According to Camp Tadma's Facebook page, the grounds were once a destination for scouts pursuing outdoor activities such as archery, BB gun shooting and swimming.

The Boy Scouts opted to sell the camp last September, citing a desire to "invest in future Scouts by maintainging and developing our active Scout camps and to use the proceeds of the sale of Camp Tadma as the catalyst for this investment."

“We’re pleased that the auction program we designed identified the market for Camp Tadma and allowed the owners to achieve their goals and objectives while affording bidders an opportunity to acquire a signature property with a magnificent private lake and serene wooded acreage,” Boy Scouts of America Connecticut Rivers Council CEO Steven A. Smith said in a statement Tuesday.

Photo Credit: AP

Route 63 Reopens in Goshen After Crash


Route 63 has reopened in Goshen after a car struck a utility pole Tuesday afternoon, prompting police to block off the road between Ivy Mountain and West Side Road.

State police said they were called to the scene around 3 p.m. Tuesday. The road was closed while crews from CL&P or Frontier work to repair low-hanging power lines.

According to the Department of Transportation, Route 63 had reopened as of 4:35 p.m.

No one was hurt in the crash, according to state police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Drug Bust Leads to Discovery of Severely Abused Dogs


Troopers making a drug bust at a home in Waterbury, Conn., on Friday discovered four severely abused dogs chained up in the cold and a fifth dog dead in an abandoned car, according to state police.

State police raided the home at 81 High Street around 11:50 a.m. Friday as part of an ongoing drug investigation. Authorities said it's not the first time illegal drugs have been uncovered in the house.

Investigators found the home in "uninhabitable condition" and discovered four pit bulls tied up outside in the cold. State police said the dogs were malnourished and had no access to food or water.

A fifth dog was found dead in an abandoned car on the property, according to police. A search turned up heroin, cocaine, weapons and a stolen motorcycle.

The dogs' caretaker and a resident of the home, Abel Rodriguez, 47, was arrested and charged with five counts of animal cruelty and possession of narcotics. He was released on bond and is due in court Feb. 25.

Police said the dogs were turned over to animal control.

State Police Statewide Narcotics Detectives continue to investigate and expect to make additional arrests.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

No Foul Play Suspected in Middletown Death


Police are investigating after a man's body was found in the area of Broad and William streets in Middletown around 8 a.m. Monday but said the death has not been deemed suspicious.

Authorities said medical responders could not revive the man at the scene. His identity has not been publicly released.

A medical examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine the man's cause of death. Police said investigators believe he may have suffered a medical emergency and that there are no obvious signs of foul play.

Anyone with information is asked to call Middletown police Det. David Woolard at 860-638-4144 or email dwoolard@middletownctpolice.com.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Manchester Residents Must Clear Sidewalks or Pay Up


The town of Manchester is cracking down on property owners who fail to clear snow from their sidewalks.

Thanks to a newly revised ordinance, the town is able to fine property owners who don't clear sidewalks within 24 hours of a storm, said Town Manager Scott Shanley.

The ordinance also allows the town to bring crews in to clear the snow and place liens on properties to recover costs, Shanley said.

"The idea is to get the children off the road. People need to be able to not be in the road in this kind of condition. We've got visibility problems anyway because of the high snow banks and we need to do everything we can," said Shanley.

So far this winter, the town has already cleared snow from sidewalks on 25 vacant properties and is now placing about $20,000 in liens on them, Shanley said.

They're issuing $75 tickets to owners of occupied properties, he said, and they'll soon clear those sidewalks and file liens against the properties if the snow lingers.

"The vast majority of people get out there after every snow event and take care of it. But we do have a relative handful of holdouts who simply won't and those are the folks we are now enforcing," said Shanley.

Around town, residents say it's a good idea.

"I think people need to start getting it done a lot sooner. It's terrible, especially people trying to walk. You have to walk in the road," said Manchester resident Jason Parsons.

The town is also encouraging residents to clear the snow from fire hydrants. Failing to do that can also land property owners a $75 fine.

Person Hospitalized After Being Struck by Falling Ice in Somers


A person was hospitalized Tuesday evening after being struck on the head with falling ice in Somers, according to the fire department.

Emergency responders have not released any information on the person's condition or where the incident took place.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Man Hit Toddler in Target Parking Lot: Cops


Police have arrested the man accused of repeatedly hitting a toddler outside a Target store in Orange, then arguing with bystanders who tried to intervene.

According to police, Shaun Williams, 31, of New Haven, struck the 3-year-old multiple times in the parking lot of the store on Boston Post Road on Jan. 22.

Police said Williams argued with witnesses who saw what was happening and confronted him.

Williams was arrested Feb. 6 and been charged with third-degree assault, second-degree breach of peace and risk of injury to a minor.

He was slated to appear in court Feb. 9.

Photo Credit: Orange Police Department

School Districts Plan to Make Up Snow Days


With a string of winter storms hitting Connecticut, districts are adding days to the end of the school year, hoping they won't have to cut into spring break.

Manchester has already used six snow days. Now, rather than getting out on June 12, students will be in school through June 22, according to Supt. Matthew Geary.

"There are now three days to cover school cancellations for weather or other reasons – after that, any additional days will be taken from the April vacation, beginning with Friday," said Geary.

Vernon has used five snow days so far and will end the school year on June 17 rather than June 10, according to superintendent Dr. Mary Conway.

They have six days to go before cutting into spring break, she said.

"I'm hoping, with an 11-day window this year, that we won't have to go into April break but we have done it before and we've had to call teachers back from their own vacations in warmer climates," said Conway.

A tough winter piling up is forcing students, teachers, staff and parents to worry about spring and summer.

"It gets very hot and uncomfortable for our students. We have very few areas that are air conditioned, not that we're thinking about that right now, but I think that everyone will be ready at that point to go, but I hear we're getting more snow on Thursday," said Conway

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