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Doctors Urge Precautions in Extreme Cold


Emergency room officials at Hartford Hospital explained the importance of wearing lots of layers to protect against bitter cold.

"It's warmer," explained Dr. Thomas Nowicki, of the emergency department at Hartford Hospital. "It traps the air between the layers. Also, if you're outside for an extended period of time, it's helpful to try to go inside and take a break to warm up."

Nowicki warned residents not to use their hands to clear jammed snow blowers and to take every precaution when removing snow and ice from roofs.

"As people are attempting to clear their roof, it's very dangerous, it's slippery, and often a steep incline. So we urge people to use a trained professional," he said.

New Britain resident Gary O'Rourke was using a winch to lift a snow blower into his truck over stacks of ice melt bags. He experienced the slick conditions first hand.

"You do slip," he said. "You've got to watch your footing, but you know, you've just got to be careful. Think of where your footing is."

Truck Loses Load of Strawberries in South Windsor


Police were called to the area of Route 5 southbound and Strong Road in South Windsor early Monday evening after a truck lost its load of strawberries in the roadway, authorities said.

South Windsor police said the wayward strawberries were scattered across the roadway but have since been cleaned up. No one was hurt and traffic is not affected.

It's not clear how the strawberries ended up in the road.

Contractors Offer Tips to Avoid Heating Problems


Furnaces are working non-stop in these frigid temperatures, and so are heating contractors.

Wayne Tursi, of All Temp Cooling and Heating in South Windsor, said business is up at least 25 percent as extreme cold prompts frantic customers to call for furnace and boiler repairs.

"We're seeing thermocouple breaking down, furnace filters being plugged, switches being turned off by dogs," explained Tursi.

Business is also up at Aiello Home Services, where field supervisor Shawn Foley is hard at work making sure customers stay warm.

Foley said most problems can be prevented with routine maintenance, something many people neglect in the hopes of saving money.

"The best thing to do is have yearly maintenance done on them. A lot of stuff we can find during the yearly maintenance, like on the system behind us here, there are simple parts that fail that can cause your pipes to freeze because the water stops moving," said Foley.

If you're heading out on vacation, or often spend time away from home in the winter, keep your thermostat at 55 degrees to prevent your pipes from freezing, Foley recommended.

You can also consider installing a Wi-Fi thermostat to receive system alerts sent on your cellphone if any problems arise.

Police Encourage Homeless to Seek Shelter


As bitter cold sweeps the state, New Haven police are not only responding to emergency situations like a fuel leak on Stiles Street, they're also looking out for residents in need of shelter.

“We're a city with a lot of walking beats, and that doesn't really get belayed because of cold weather,” said New Haven police spokesman Officer Dave Hartman.

Like in years past, part of that beat has officers on the lookout for anyone who may be left out in the brutal cold.

“We're looking out for everybody, especially people who are in need of shelter. New Haven has quite a number of homeless people, who sometimes don't heed the warnings of cold weather and try to bed down in places other than shelters,” said Hartman.

New Haven has extended its shelter hours, keeping them open 24/7 through Tuesday. Officials are working to continue that round-the-clock availability through Friday.

The city has also set up an overnight warming shelter at Church on the Rock and has a protocol in place to determine where men, women and children should go to escape the cold.

“I know beds have been added to ensure that people who are need are afforded a bed, a warm place to be,” said Hartman.

The New Haven Police Department is also taking care of its own. Officials said that keeping officers warm keeps them effective.

“The officers have been encouraged not to stay outside for too long a period of time without taking a break to warm up a little bit, and keep moving is really the trick,” said Hartman.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Dog in Crevice at CA Beach Rescued


A squirrel outfoxed a mutt that became stuck in a cliff crevice and had to be rescued by firefighters Monday afternoon, high above the beach in Santa Monica.

Smoky, the 80-pound mutt, was at the park with his owner when he spotted the swift-moving critter and chased it into some bushes.

Next thing it knew it became lodged in a crevice and had to be hoisted to safety by two Santa Monica firefighters atop a ladder. The drama took place on a cliff at the edge of Pacific Coast Highway, and it was all caught on camera by Newschopper4.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Workers Brave Brutal Cold


Workers in Connecticut are undeterred by brutal cold, braving the elements to get the job done no matter the weather.

Even with the temperatures well below freezing, the food carts were out by Yale-New Haven Hospital serving up lunch like they do every day.

“We're working a little bit harder outside here,” said Siad Lifhil with Ali Baba’s Fusion.

Some food servers were lucky enough to be enclosed inside their food trucks. Others had to come up with their own methods of keeping warm, like putting tarps over their carts.

The servers were just some of the workers who have to be outside no matter what the thermometer says. On cold days, Middletown-based company Mack Fire Protection receives a higher volume of calls about freezing vehicles.

“You just pretty much try to stay as warm as possible and struggle through the day,” explained Mack Fire Protection employee Chris Cibula.

Construction workers at the corner of Crown and College Streets in New Haven are struggling through the icy temperatures as well, because the masonry work hasn't stopped.

“Today is probably as bad as it gets. It's brutal. Brutally cold, and you're crazy for being out here working," said Randy Cianci with Ronnie DeMeo Construction. "I've been out here for 21 years and I never remember it being this cold for so long in the winter.”

Cianci said he wears layers and takes breaks if he gets too cold.

“The advice is layer up, even some of the uniform requirements are forgiven as officers will try to make sure they are warm to be able to protect and serve,” said New Haven police spokesman Officer Dave Hartman.

Burst Pipe Floods Hamden Assisted Living Center


The foyer of the Arden House assisted living facility on Mix Avenue in Hamden flooded Monday evening after a pipe burst due to extreme cold, damaging ceiling tiles and insulation, according to the Hamden Fire Department.

Fire officials said the foyer filled with standing water around shortly before 5 p.m. Most of the water ran out on its own but firefighters responded to help mop up puddles and take down ceiling tiles to prevent them from falling later on.

The Hamden battalion chief said the department has responded to several burst pipes today and believe the issue will be ongoing as long as temperatures remain dangerously low.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Man Sues Cadillac Ranch Over Alleged Mechanical Bull Injury


A man who visited the Cadillac Ranch Restaurant in Southington in 2013 is suing the establishment, saying he fell from a mechanical bull and suffered “painful, permanent, serious injuries,” according to a lawsuit filed on Jan. 12.

The manage of the facility, however, says the bull is safe and the person who filed the suit left on his own and never reported that he was injured.

According to the suit, Steven M. Saleski went to Cadillac Ranch on July 6, 2013 and paid to ride a mechanical bull called “Old Thunder.” Saleski was thrown from the bull and hit his head, causing severe neck pain, displaced fractures of two vertebrae and injury to his vertebral artery.

The lawsuit alleges that the bull was positioned up against a wall and that Cadillac Ranch should have known the placement was dangerous. The restaurant “failed to adequately pad the landing area adjacent to the mechanical bull to prevent foreseeable injuries,” according to the lawsuit.

Cadillac Ranch manager Graham Nicholson said they've had the mechanical bull for seven years, there's an air mattress around it, and they have never had reports of anyone being injured.   

“It’s virtually impossible to get hurt on,” Nicholson said. ”In the seven years we’ve had it, there’s never been an accident.”

The suit claims that Cadillac Ranch did not warn patrons about the hazards of riding the bull, neglected to properly train mechanical bull operators and did not take necessary safety precautions.

According to the lawsuit, Saleski has required ongoing medical treatment that has dealt him a financial blow. He’s seeking unspecified monetary damages.

Meadow Muffins LLC, the company that operates Cadillac Ranch, filed a motion on Feb. 3 asking the court for more time to respond to Saleski’s lawsuit. According to the motion, the defendant “needs additional time to investigate the allegations” and is asking for a plea deadline of April 3.

Nicholson said  everyone who rides the mechanical bull signs a waiver and the restaurant has presented a signed statement that Saleski signed it.

Photo Credit: Cadillac Ranch Facebook page

West Hartford Resident Says She Wasn't Notified of Water Shutoff


A West Hartford woman said she feared her pipes had frozen when she discovered she had no water this morning, but instead, a water main had broken up the street from her home.

Sandra Perlman, 83, said she received no notice from the Metropolitan District Commission when crews began making repairs on a 12-inch water main on Haynes Road in West Hartford. Water service was shut off around 11:45 a.m.

"There was no water in the kitchen so I went to check the other rooms, the shower, the bathroom, there was no water anywhere, so I assumed that the pipes broke," said Perlman.

She was not aware of the problem up the road and said she received no notification that MDC had shut off her water.

The recent widow frantically called her son Bob, who lives 70 miles away. He arrived as quickly as he could to help out.

"I checked all the pipes. I felt the pipes. They weren't hot, but they weren't cold; they weren't frozen anywhere," said Bob Perlman.

That's when he walked up the road and noticed flashing lights. A police officer told him the water main had broken.

"If I had gotten notice, I wouldn't have panicked and called my son to come down 70 miles," said Sandra.

The Perlmans feel more could – and should – have been done to alert residents.

"It's upsetting, but it's a holiday," said Bob Perlman. "I don't know how long it would take somebody to knock on 35 houses just to let people know."

MDC said it's standard procedure to knock on doors and leave a door hanger behind if no one answers. Officials with the water company said all 39 affected properties on Haynes Road should have been properly informed.

They're now looking into what happened in Sandra Perlman's situation and apologized for any inconvenience she experienced.

Two other broken water mains were reported in West Hartford earlier in the day: an 8-inch main on Flatbush Avenue and a 6-inch main on Warrenton Avenue. Water service to those areas has been restored.

Water service was restored to all affected homes on Haynes Road as of 7 p.m., according to MDC.

Modified Amtrak Schedule on Feb. 17 Due to Snow


With another winter storm projected to hit New England on Tuesday, Amtrak service in the Northeast Corridor will run on a modified schedule.

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, shuttle service will run between Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven, Connecticut.

In addition, the Boston-Albany/Rensselaer section (Train 448 and 449) of the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited (Train 48 and 49) will be replaced by buses.

The full schedule of Downeaster Service will run between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston's North Station.  

Connecticut Magazine Ranks Best Pizza in State


What's your favorite pizza joint? Connecticut Magazine has compiled a list of the state's top pizza places – and those that will soon have their own slice of history.

There's no numerical system here. Instead, restaurants are ranked in categories: "Legends" are pizza royalty (no surprise that many are located in New Haven) and "Legends in the Making" comprise up-and-coming pizza sensations.

There are also "Beer Bar Pizzas," "Unusual Places" and "Best of the Rest."


  • Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana in New Haven
  • Sally's Apizza in New Haven
  • Modern Apizza in New Haven
  • Roseland Apizza in Derby
  • BAR in New Haven

Legends in the Making

  • Colony Grill in Stamford, Fairfield and Milford
  • Da Legna in New Haven
  • Tarry Lodge in New Haven and Westport
  • Bufalina in Guilford

Beer Bar Pizza

  • Fire Engine Pizza Company in Bridgeport
  • Krust Pizza Bar in Middletown
  • Coal House Pizza in Stamford
  • Stanziato's in Danbury
  • Brick + Wood in Fairfield

Unusual Places

  • Nica's Market in New Haven
  • Mozzicato DePasquale Bakery, Pastry Shop & Cafe in Hartford
  • Nauti Dolphin Pizza in Fairfield
  • Vocatura Bakery in Norwich

Get the full scoop at connecticutmagazine.com.

Photo Credit: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Pipe Bursts at Ansonia Middle School


A team of maintenance workers and custodians are cleaning up Ansonia Middle School after a pipe burst in the back vestibule Monday, flooding part of the school, according to the superintendent.

Superintendent Dr. Carol Merlone said three maintenance workers and three custodians are working to mop up excess water and repair the broken pipe.

According to Merlone, school is closed Tuesday due to February vacation but she expects everything will be taken care of in time for students to arrive back on Wednesday.

Ansonia Middle School isn't the only facility affected by extreme cold. A burst pipe also flooded part of an assisted living center in Hamden, and crews with the Metropolitan District Commission have been busy with at least half a dozen water main breaks.

Police Investigate Shots Fired in Norwalk


Police are investigating the report of shots fired on Ivy Place in Norwalk, according to public information officer Lt. Paul Resnick.

Resnick said no one was hurt in the incident, which took place in a residential area off Route 1. The Norwalk Police Department Detective Bureau is investigating.

Authorities have not released any additional information.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Boston Transit May Be Slow a Month


It could take up to 30 days for Boston transit service to be fully restored — but that would be if there is not another major storm, according to the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's chief Dr. Beverly Scott.

The news of the "Reduced Core Service" plan came Monday night, shortly after the agency announced it will continue to operate on a limited schedule on Tuesday. The Boston area is closing in on the record for snowiest winter.

Scott announced last week she was stepping down, effective April 11, amid criticism of how her agency has handled delays, suspensions and massive snowfall. On Monday, Scott said the goal of the reduced plan is to "take back the system."

Service was previously suspended Sunday due to blizzard-like conditions, and limited service resumed on Monday.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker's office responded to the MBTA's move later Monday with a statement.

"The administration has been directing significant resources including heavy equipment and personnel to the MBTA to aid in recovery efforts over the past several days to restore a regular operating schedule for commuters as quickly and efficiently as possible after unprecedented impacts from recent storms," a Baker spokesperson said.

A string of snowstorms has wreaked havoc on the MBTA, and frustration among commuters is growing. 

The red line from Braintree to JFK is the top priority for the T, with dozens of inmates and union members pitching in to clear snow from the tracks one shovel at a time.

“It’s quite an undertaking, it’s a herculean task to get all the snow removed here and we’re all hands on deck at the MBTA right now,” said Tom Crowley the MBTA Supervisor of Transportation Contraction for Subway Operations.

Here are the details of Tuesday's limited schedule:

Red Line

  • From Alewife and Andrew. Will resemble off-peak service. Trains every 7-8 minutes.
  • From Andrew, transfer onto shuttle bus service to points south. That will be limited service, every 10-20 minutes.

Orange Line

  • From Sullivan to Back Bay. Less than normal weekday service.
  • Sullivan to Oak Grove will be limited shuttle bus service.

Blue Line

  • Normal service from Wonderland to Bowdoin Station. Every 6-7 minutes.

Green Line

  • From Lechmere to Kenmore. Every 5-6 minutes.
  • B Line – Switch to 57 bus. No service between Packards Corner and Boston College.
  • C Line – Substitute bus service.
  • D Line – Reduced train service.
  • E Line – Will go to Prudential station. Then 39 bus service to Heath.

Bus service

  • Will run a regular, weekday service tomorrow.
  • MBTA is warning riders of longer than average wait times.

Commuter Rail

  • On a limited schedule. Details still being finalized.

For complete information on all MBTA routes and schedules, click here

For your latest weather forecast, click here.

Photo Credit: NECN

Foul Play Suspected in Disappearance of Hartford Woman


A car linked to a missing Hartford woman was found engulfed in flames in Vermont, where she disappeared, and police now suspect foul play in the case.

Denise Hart, of Hartford, was last seen on the night of Jan. 25 when she left a friend’s home in Sudbury, Vermont. She was reported to have driven away in a 2001 Silver Pontiac Grand Am that she’d borrowed from an acquaintance, according to a news release from Vermont State Police.

Early on the morning of Monday, Jan. 26, Vermont State Police received a report of a car fire at the Cornwall Covered Bridge in Cornwall, Vermont. There they found the car Hart had been driving, consumed by fire, according to police.

At the time, however, Hart had not yet been reported missing. Authorities were not alerted to her disappearance until Jan. 31. Hart's mother, Dedre Robinson, said she contacted police when she didn't hear from her daughter.

"She's missing and nobody knows where she's at and nobody can tell me anything," said Robinson. "It's very difficult. I have her 3-year-old son, who keeps asking questions, and how do you answer the questions?"

A Silver Alert issued in early February said Hart, who is also known as "Tiffany" and “Chookie," was known to make regular trips from Hartford to Rutland, Vermont, but normally remains in touch with family. This time, however, Hart has not contacted her loved ones.

"I'm living a mother's worst nightmare, not knowing," Robinson said. "You always think, 'Not my kid, not my kid.' But yeah, this is my kid."

Police searched a property in Sudbury, Vermont, on Feb. 11 and said there's a strong indication of foul play. Authorities have not elaborated on the connection between the property and Hart's disappearance or said what they believe may have happened.

"Denise deserves to be home. She needs to be home. Her son is missing her; we're missing her very much," said Hart's older sister, Shanell Robinson.

Detectives are following leads and ask anyone with information to call the Vermont State Police at 802-773-9101.

Police specifically want to hear from anyone who traveled in the area of the Swamp Road in Cornwall, Vermont on Monday, Jan. 26 between midnight and 2 a.m.

"If you know anything about my daughter, please contact the police," Dedre Robinson pleaded.

Photo Credit: Silver Alert

Firefighters Respond to Possible Trumbull Water Main Break


Trumbull firefighters responded to Middlebrook Elementary School in town Tuesday morning due to a possible water main break.

The school is located at 220 Middlebrooks Ave.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Truck Driver Hospitalized in I-95 Crash


A truck driver was extricated after a double tractor-trailer crash on Interstate 95 north  in Westport on Tuesday morning.

Westport firefighters responded to the scene between exits 18 and 19 at about 5:08 a.m. and discovered that a tractor-trailer driver was pinned in the cab of the truck.

Westport and Fairfield firefighters rescued the driver from the vehicle. An ambulance took the driver to Norwalk Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The two righthand lanes were closed during the extrication processand units cleared the scene at about 6:14 a.m.

No firefighters were injured.

On the southbound side, a crash on the right shoulder blocked the highway in the morning near exit 8 in Stamford. There were also southbound delays all the way back to Bridgeport due to some rubbernecking.

Follow NBC Connecticut's traffic reporter Heidi Voight on Twitter for updates at @HeidiVoight.

Photo Credit: DOT

Thomaston/Waterbury Water Main Break Could Take Days to Fix


Waterbury Road remains closed on the Thomaston-Waterbury line due to a water main break from last week that could take several days to fix.

The road is closed at Frost Bridge Road (Route 262).

Police said that crews are waiting for a replacement pipe to come in from another state before it can be repaired.

Drivers can detour onto Rt. 262 or 8.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

DMV in Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford Closed for 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 for a few days over the next several weeks to get the work done.

For six weeks, starting today, some branches will close for a few days at a time, followed by a different set of branches.

Between today and Friday, the Bridgepot, Norwalk and Stamford photo license center are closed, but you can use an alternate location, such as the Danbury or Hamden DMV offices or AAA offices for license and identification card renewals.

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.

Water Restored After Hartford Water Main Break


Water has been restored after a water main break in Hartford caused flooding and icing near Hartford Hospital late Monday afternoon and into the evening.

MDC crews turned off an 8-inch the main, cutting water service to four housing complexes and two businesses in the area, but water was restored by 11:30 p.m. on Monday.

Emergency crews were called to Washington Street near the intersection with Lincoln Street after several inches of water pooled in the road and flowed down to Ward Street and Broad Street. Officials blocked off the area and turned off the main at 7:20 p.m., according to the MDC.

Four housing complexes and two businesses between Vernon Street and Madison Avenue were without water while crews worked to make repairs. Hartford Hospital receives its water from multiple sources and was not affected by the water main shutdown.

Drivers parked in the area were asked to move their cars to avoid getting stuck in the ice.

Residents were urged to avoid the intersections of Washington and Lincoln streets, Lincoln and Broad streets and Broad and Ward streets while repairs are underway.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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