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Hartford to Break Ground on Downtown North Baseball Stadium


It has been 60 years since professional baseball was played in the capital city of Hartford and the groundbreaking ceremony happening on Tuesday for the new Downtown North baseball park that will house the Rock Cats symbolizes its return. 

The stadium is slated to open in April 2016 between Interstates 84 and 91 for the start of the Minor League Baseball season.

An online contest to rename the Rock Cats will also begin come the start of the ceremony.

The ceremony will start at 1:30 p.m. Team owner Josh Solomon, Mayor Pedro Segarra and City Council President Shawn Wooden are expected to be there.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fourth Man Arrested in Willimantic Armed Robbery


Willimantic police arrested a fourth man wanted in connection to an armed robbery at an apartment complex from a few months ago.

Police arrested Samuel A. Rivera, 23, of Willimantic, on robbery and assault charges at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday for involvement in an armed robbery in the Ivy Gardens apartment complex on Oct. 27, 2014, police said.

No other arrests are anticipated.

Rivera was charged with first-degree robbery, third-degree assault and criminal attempt to commit second-degree larceny.

Police are holding him in custody on a $350,000 cash/surety bond pending his court appearance Tuesday in Danielson Superior Court.

Photo Credit: Willimantic Police Department

Prescription Drug Ring Leader Preyed on Poor to Get Pills: Cops


A Meriden man is accused of recruiting financially strapped people to obtain thousands of Oxycodone pills that he would then sell through his alleged prescription drug ring.

For the last six month, Wallingford Police Departments Narcotics Unit have been investigating and identified Ramphis Pacheco, 34, of Meriden, as the suspect at the helm of an illegal prescription pill ring responsible for distributing the highly addictive narcotic, police said.

Between May 2014and October 2014, Pacheco’s ring is accused of illegally obtaining 6,180 pills, worth an estimated street value of $185,400. Many of the pills were 120- count and 30mg Oxycodone pills and police said narcotics detectives have identified at least four doctors who were victimized in this ring.

Pacheco is accused of recruiting vulnerable people in need of money to pass prescriptions for him, specifically people on Medicaid so the pills would not cost any money, according to a news release from police.

He’d then pay them a minimal amount of money for getting the drugs, police said.

A warrant issued for Pacheco charged him with 15 counts of sale of narcotics, 15 counts of forgery in the second degree and one count of insurance fraud.

Police apprehended him on Feb. 11. After posting a $100,000 court-set bond, he was released and is due to appear in Meriden Superior Court.

Twelve additional arrest warrants have been issued for others suspected in the ring.

Anyone with information about the illegal sale of prescription pills, or any other illegal drug activity, should call the Wallingford Police Department Narcotics Division at 203-269-6272.

Photo Credit: Wallingford Police

SUV Hangs Off Guardrail After West Haven Crash


A crash sent an SUV up onto a guardrail on Interstate 95 North in West Haven on Tuesday morning.

The accident happened in the northbound lanes of I-95 by Exit 44 around 9:30 a.m. and images from Connecticut Department of Transportation cameras showed an SUV hanging over a guardrail off the side of the highway.

It was not clear if any other vehicles were involved in the crash, but no injuries are reported.

The crash caused delays on I-95 North back into Milford, but the scene has since cleared.

Photo Credit: CT DOT

Fire Department Responds to Haz-Mat Call


The Old Mystic Fire Department is responding to a report of a haz-mat situation at Total Vision, located at 12 Coogan Boulevard in Stonington, according to dispatchers.

No additional information was immediately available.

Armed Robbery at Willimantic CVS


Willimantic police are investigating an armed robbery onTuesday morning at the CVS on Main Street.

No one was injured and police believe that it might be connected to other robberies.

More information will be provided when it becomes available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Firefighters Respond to Report of Fire in Newtown


Firefighters are responding to a report of fire at 55 Sugar Street in Newtown, according to dispatchers.

No additional information was immediately available.

Bristol Plant Fined for OSHA Violations


A Bristol trash-to-energy plant has been fined a proposed penalty of $80,100 after an inspection following a complaint about workplace safety and health violations, according to a news release from the United States Department of Labor.

The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began inspecting Covanta Energy Bristol, Inc. on Oct. 1 after receiving a complaint.

“Covanta Energy Bristol Inc. needlessly exposed its employees to the hazards of electrocution, fire, falls, slips and trips, crushing, being trapped or overcome in a confined space, eye injuries and cancer, lung or kidney damage,” Terence McEvily, OSHA’s acting area director in Hartford, said. “It must take effective steps to eliminate these hazards and prevent them from happening again."

OSHA cited the plant for 16 "serious violations of workplace safety and health standards." Inspectors found "combustible dust" on "ledges, conduits, floors, guardrails, work platforms and catwalks" and said that the plant failed "to determine employees’ exposure level to ash containing toxic metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic;" didn't provide adequate training and "protective and protective clothing for an employee performing testing on live electrical parts;" had "inadequate safeguards for employees working in confined spaces;" and did not provide enough eyewash for "employees working with batteries." The plant also had "fall, fork truck, air pressure and mechanical hazards," according to the OSHA inspection.

The plant has 15 days to comply, meet with McEvily or contest the citations in front of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA has a toll-free hotline members of the public can call to report workplace safety and health violations or ask questions at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or the Hartford area office at 860-240-3152.

Ramp of I-395 in Griswold Closed After Crash


The exit 85 ramp of Interstate 395 south is closed after a single-vehicle crash, according to state police.

No information was immediately available on injuries.

Police said there have been several spinouts on I-395 in Griswold, Norwich and Plainfield.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Crash Closes Lanes of Route 8 in Waterbury


The two left lanes of Route 8 South are closed near exit 30 in Waterbury after a crash.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Electrician Robbed of Pay at Gunpoint While Driving


An electrician was robbed at gunpoint in Westport while driving from a job at a Bridgeport bodega and the suspect stole the money he had just been paid for his work.

Westport police responded to the Kings Highway North and Woodside Avenue intersection to investigate the 5:30 p.m. robbery.

The victim told police that "he was paid in cash after completing an electrical job at a bodega in Bridgeport" in front of several store patrons. On the drive home to Norwalk, a dark blue or black Volkswagen cut him off at the intersection in Westport. Someone got out of the car and pointed a silver semi-automatic handgun at him and sat next to him in the passenger seat. After finding the cash the victim was just paid, the suspect fled in his car in the eastbound direction toward Wilton Road.

Police said that the suspect is described as a 5-foot-8, lean man with a scar on the right side of face from his lip to his ear. He was wearing dark clothes and a dark beanie winter hat, police said.

Westport police ask anyone with information to contact the department at 203-341-6000.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Congresswoman DeLauro on Delegation Trip to Cuba


Several Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives will be heading to Cuba on Tuesday for the first delegation trip since the change in policy governing U.S. relations with the Caribbean nation and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is one of them.

“This delegation travels to Cuba in friendship and to build upon the announcement of U.S. normalization of relations and other initiatives announced by President Obama,” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “This delegation will work to advance the U.S.-Cuba relationship and build on the work done by many in the Congress over the years, especially with respect to agriculture and trade.”

The delegation will meet with Cuban government officials, Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, local community leaders and representatives, and American officials at the U.S. Interests Section.

Other members of the delegation making the trip include U.S Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York; U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota; U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-California; U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-New York; U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts; U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-New York; and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island.

Massive Snowball Fight in D.C.


SNOWBALL FIGHT! Crowds are converging for a massive snowball fight at Meridian Hill Park in D.C.

Much of the District shut down Tuesday after a storm dumped several inches of snow on the region. In anticipation, the D.C. Snowball Fight Association organized the snowball fight, which was originally planned to take place at Dupont Circle.

The battle was moved at the last minute because the National Park Service plowed Dupont Circle Park a little too soon.

But the switch hasn't kept the cold-impervious crowds away.

The fight began around 11 a.m. Tuesday, and once it's over, the nearby James Hoban's Irish Restaurant & Bar (1 Dupont Circle NW) has a room reserved for snowballers. The pub is also offering a prize for the best-dressed (whatever that might mean) player.

Of course, there are some rules for the fight, organizers say:

  • "We'll respect any requests of the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. National Park Police
  • We hope you won't target members of the media (too hard) or damage anyone's camera
  • In the interests of safety, we urge everyone to play fair, NOT THROW ICE, and wear any protective gear that you think you need
  • Pelting moving vehicles could cause accidents, so we say: please don't go there
  • And we also want to state the obvious: anyone who behaves recklessly is responsible for the consequences."

The snow is so fluffy that it's not packing well, something that some participants anticipated -- they brought along premade snowballs for the battle.

Past battles have drawn hundreds of happy revelers.

Photo Credit: Adam Tuss, News4
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Person Dies in Hebron Crash on Route 66


One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash on Route 66 in Hebron Tuesday morning.

State police responded after receiving a call reporting a crash involving a car and a truck at 4:30 a.m. One of two people in a car that collided with a truck died of injuries, state police said. It's unknown whether it was the driver or the passenger. There was only a driver in the truck.

The identities of the deceased individual and others involved in the crash have not been released.

The highway was closed for several hours between Gilead Street (Route 85) to Wall Street (Rt. 316), but it has since reopened. A state police accident reconstruction team was still on scene investigating as of 8:42 a.m.

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

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sinkhole Swallows Up Snow Plow


A plow truck fell into a sinkhole Tuesday morning along a snow-covered New Jersey road.

The accident happened along Wordsworth Lane in Lopatcong Township in Warren County as a snowstorm moved out of the area around 7:30 a.m., said Mayor Tom McKay.

Instagram user MRLish456 captured the aftermath on Instagram. The township truck's plow could be seen dangled above the truck, which was partially emerged in the hole.

The shaken driver of the plow managed to get out of his vehicle. He was taken to the hospital for observation, said McKay.

The township issued a warning for people to avoid the area. McKay said it could take hours to remove the truck.

Photo Credit: Instagram - Robert Strain

Freight Train Derails in North Canaan


Part of Route 44 was closed in North Canaan after a freight train derailed in the center of town Tuesday afternoon, according to First Selectman Douglas E. Humes Jr.

The train did not derail into the street, but Humes said a portion of Route 44 was closed for some time while crews worked to make repairs in the area. One has since reopened.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: Brian Ohler

"T" Rescues Hundreds From Acela


Former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis was one of hundreds of passengers rescued by the "T" from a disabled Amtrak Acela train Tuesday afternoon -- and he was tweeting about it.

After the Acela train, #2154, became disabled 6 miles south of Providence, workers helped about 200 passengers board the MBTA commuter train, #818, via a gangplank and gave them a ride into Boston.

Meanwhile, it could be a month before the Boston area's transit system is running at full capacity again following a series of snowstorms.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott, who is stepping down effective April 11, said Monday that the storms that have dropped more than seven feet of snow in the region have "crippled our infrastructure."

Gov. Charlie Baker said on Tuesday the MBTA's 30-day recovery plan is on the "outer limits," and that crews are working everyday to get the aging transit service back up and running from core to outside of Boston.

Boston has seen 7.5 feet of snow since Jan. 23.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
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Metro-North Delayed Due to Outage at Grand Central


Metro-North trains traveling in and out of Grand Central Terminal are delayed 30-40 minutes after a substation in the complex lost power late Tuesday afternoon, according to a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The MTA said the outage occurred around 4:30 p.m. and power was restored by 5 p.m. No trains could enter or exit the station during the outage.

Trains are back up and running but are experiencing delays due to congestion at the station. The delays affect trains on the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines, the MTA said.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

East Lyme Bank Robber Caught in New York: Police


Police in New York have captured the Norwich man accused of robbing an East Lyme bank and threatening employees with a handgun on Valentine's Day.

According to police, Shawn Twomey, 41, of Norwich, entered the Citizens Bank at 15 Chesterfield Road around 9 a.m. and pulled out a handgun. He yelled orders at employees and customers and was "aggressive and threatening," state police said.

Twomey made off with a large amount of money and was likely picked up by a getaway car, police said. Police identified Twomey as the suspect within 24 hours of the robbery.

He was taken into custody in New York state and will be extradited to New London, where he'll face charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree larceny, risk of injury, third-degree assault, second-degree threatening and first-degree unlawful restraint.

Twomey's bond will be set at $500,000.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Schooled, Not Skilled: U.S. Millennials Trail Peers


American millennials are racking up more diplomas than previous generations.

But they still fall short in skills and smarts when compared to their peers across the globe, a new study found.

The study by the Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit that develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually, found that U.S. young adults between the ages of 16 to 34 demonstrate weak skills in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments compared with international students. This comes even amid Census and Pew Research Center data showing American millennials are the country's most educated generation.

“While it is true that, on average, the more years of schooling one completes, the more skills one acquires, this report suggests that far too many are graduating high school and completing postsecondary educational programs without receiving adequate skills,” Irwin Kirsch, director of ETS’s Center for Global Assessment, wrote.“If we expect to have a better educated population and a more competitive workforce, policymakers and other stakeholders will need to shift the conversation from one of educational attainment to one that acknowledges the growing importance of skills.”

The 67-page report, available here, used data obtained by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, a study developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development that assesses and compares basic skills and the broad range of competencies of adults around the world. The PIAAC compared the U.S. to 21 other member countries of the OECD, focusing on those residents born after 1980 and who were 16 to 34 years of age at the time of the study.

Researchers found that the average scores for American millennials were lower than in most other countries. American millennials also ranked at the bottom in numeracy and problem solving involving technology. Even the best performing and most educated milliennials, who study authors said are typically native born and starting with the greatest economic advantage, do not perform well compared to their international peers, the report found.

American millennials with a four-year bachelor’s degree scored higher in numeracy than their peers in just two countries: Poland and Spain. Those with a master’s or research degree scored higher than their peers in just three countries. And students whose highest level of education was less than high school or high school scored lower than their peers in nearly every other participating country.

ETS researchers Madeline Goodman, Anita Sands and Richard Coley, who wrote the report, said policymakers should take note of the trend, as the millennial generation will shape the economic and social landscape for America’s future.

“The findings are import across a lot of different issues," Goodman said. " … It does seem like it points out a systematic challenge that we have and need to confront. The largest take away here is that skills are an important part of the situation. … all of these issues should be set in the context of inequality of opportunity.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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