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Study Examines Peanut Allergy


A groundbreaking study released Monday argues that the key to preventing peanut allergies in children may lie in early and regular exposure to the food, but some parents aren't quite ready to expose their children.

Researchers at King’s College London found introducing peanut snacks to children at high-risk for the allergy made them less likely to develop it by the time they turned 5 than kids who avoided peanut snacks completely.

"Consumption rather than avoidance seems to protect against developing peanut allergy," said Dr. Gideon Lack, of King’s College.

But the news doesn't provide relief for parents of kids who already have a potentially fatal peanut allergy. 

"We just can’t take a chance. We don’t eat out. We don’t travel on planes. We have to live differently than the normal family," said Debbie Adler, whose 6-year-old son suffers from allergies.

Adler first discovered her son’s allergies when he experienced a severe reaction after eating frozen yogurt.

"He started vomiting profusely. I had never seen anything like this. Nonstop. Nonstop. Went on and on until he turned blue and passed out in my arms," Adler said.

In addition to milk, doctors found Adler’s son also had a peanut allergy. Allergies like his are not only a nuisance, but they can also be deadly. In some cases, just smelling peanuts is enough to cause a child to go into anaphylactic shock.

Adler’s son is not alone: More than 2 percent of kids in the United States are allergic to peanuts and that number is only climbing, according to the Associated Press. However, the King's College  study could help reverse this upward trajectory.

Researchers enrolled 640 children under age 1 who were at high risk for peanut allergy. Half were given a peanut snack at least three times a week, while the others were told to avoid all peanuts until five.

Although counterintuitive, the results confirmed avoiding peanuts did not help ward off peanut allergies. In fact, 17 percent of the kids who avoided peanuts developed an allergy by age five. However, only three percent of the kids who ate the peanut snacks developed the same allergy.

"You need to be introduced to these proteins very early in life," Lack continued.

There is also a new patch designed to desensitize peanut allergy patients by exposing them to a small dose of peanut protein. The common thread appears to be that a little bit of exposure and consumption seems to teach the body that peanuts are not an enemy.

Adler hopes this technique will free other families from the debilitating effects of nut allergies.

"It would change our lives significantly is he could eat all of the things he’s allergic too."

Dr. Bruce’s Advice: If your kid has a lot of allergies, speak with a doctor and begin exposing them to tiny amounts of the allergens under supervision. If your child gets a rash or other symptoms, stop.

Braving the Cold to Get to School


Bus drivers in Newington were up early warming up and gassing up the buses to pick students up on time so they don't have to wait at the bus stops long in the bitter cold.

With the wind chill making it feel sub-zero in a lot of Connecticut, it could take minutes to develop frostbite or hypothermia. Experts suggest bundling your children in one more layer than adults because they are more susceptible for the cold.

But no matter how old you are, surviving the arctic air isn't easy.

"It makes me feel like I don’t want to get out of bed," Brandy Alson, of Enfield, said. "I would like to hibernate."

Trisha Sullivan, of Hartford, said it's tough for kids walking to school because "a lot of times the sidewalks aren't safe."

"We've had snow after snow and they're freezing cold," she said.

The cold is not only creating problems on the sidewalks, but also for the fuel for buses because it can cause it to gel or harden.

One Newington bus driver told NBC Connecticut that a mechanic has been checking on the buses since 5 a.m. to make sure they are warm enough for the children.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

3-Year-Old Found Alone in Car in Orange: Police


Police have arrested a West Haven mom accused of leaving her 3-year-old son alone in a parked car outside a Kohl's store in Orange.

Alyson Turbert, 28, was arrested the morning of Feb. 18 after police were called to the Kohl's parking lot at 250 Bull Hill Lane in Orange. Police said Turbert's 3-year-old boy was alone in the car for about 10 minutes while she was in the store.

Turbert was issued a court summons and charged with leaving a child under the age 12 unsupervised. She was released on a promise to appear and is due in court March 3.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Amber Alert in NJ After Man Takes Daughter: Police


Amber Alerts have been issued in several states including New Jersey for a 3-year-old Delaware girl who police say is in "imminent danger" after being abducted from her home by her father, who could now be taking her to New York City.

Elinor Trotta was taken from her home in New Castle, Delaware, Monday evening, police say. Officers say they responded to the home on a domestic assault call and found Trotta's mother. The mother said that 43-year-old Michael Trotta, her ex-boyfriend and Elinor's father, came into the home, attacked her and took the girl.

Police say they believe the girl is in danger based on several statements her father made though they wouldn't elaborate further.

Elinor's mother, Dawn Parkas, pleaded Tuesday at a police news conference for Trotta to bring her daughter back.

"Please bring her home, she doesn't have any of her clothes or her toys," she said, weeping. "We have a routine every night and she's out of the routine and my heart's just broken."

State police in Delaware, New Jersey and Ohio issued Amber Alerts and Ohio police confirmed the FBI is investigating. New Jersey State Police said the severity of the situation was "extreme," and that there is an "extraordinary threat to life or property."

Police originally said Trotta fled with Elinor in a gray 1989 Mazda 626 with Delaware plates, but that car was later found near the scene in Delaware and towed away.

The father and daughter may also be traveling with an unknown female, police say.

Police later updated the vehicle description saying that Trotta was last seen near Mount Laurel, New Jersey, in a bright red SUV, possibly a Ford Explorer. In addition to New York City, police say Trotta could be headed to a number of other locations.

"If we focus in on one area and we could possibly miss another area where he could be going," said New Castle County Police Chief Elmer Setting. "It's as widespread as possible."

Police say the abduction follows a Feb. 15 assault on Trotta's mother. Arrest warrants have been issued for that attack and Monday's abduction, police say.

Elinor is described as weighing about 60 pounds with brown shoulder length hair. She was last seen wearing a purple puffy coat, pink pants and “Frozen” sneakers. 

Michael Trotta is described as being about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds. He has a balding short haircut, scruffy beard and mustache. He was last seen wearing all black clothing. He is considered armed and dangerous.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Trotter or his daughter is asked to call 911 or the New Castle County Police Department at 302-573-2800.

Route 191 Closed in East Windsor


Route 191 is closed in both directions in East Windsor due to a downed power line that is on fire at the intersection of Abbe Road.

To get around the area, take Abbey or Laughlin roads, 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Water Main Break in Cheshire Closes Road


South Brooksvale Road is closed in Cheshire due to a water main break.

The break happened between North Brooksvale Road (Route 42) and Mount Sanford Road.

There was one car crash as result of the issue, but no one was hurt, police said.

Cheshire police said that the area is a main artery for drivers to travel from Hamden and New Haven to Oxford, Shelton and Bethany.

The road will remain closed for several hours, possibly as late as Tuesday evening.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Gas Leak Prompted Evacuations at UConn Health Center


People were evacuated after a gas leak in a building at the UConn Health Center in Farmington and the issue is being repaired.

Little information was immediately available, but people were moved to another building and the problem has been fixed.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Waterbury's Gilmartin School Dismissing Early After Thousands of Power Outages


Gilmartin School in Waterbury is dismissing at 1 p.m. Tuesday after losing power, as cold weather knocked out power to more than 3,000 people in Waterbury, Naugatuck and Prospect.

As of 11:31 a.m., there were 2,100 power outages in Waterbury; 700 in Naugatuck; and 400 in Prospect, which makes up 10 percent of town, according to the Eversource outage map.Officials from Eversource, formerly known as Connecticut Light & Power, had hoped to have power restored by mid-day.

The outages are due to stress placed on wires by contraction and expansion, according to Eversource, and they said cold weather caused equipment issues.

Many of the outages in Waterbury are on East Main Street near Brass Mill Center and there is a cluster of outages in Prospect on Route 68 near Union City Road.

A Waterbury resident told NBC Connecticut that a power pole exploded and caught fire, but officials have not confirmed that information.

Eversource crews are working to restore power to the area and have been there since 10:30 a.m.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

No Injuries After Quinnipiac Shuttle Bus Collides With Car


A Quinnipiac shuttle bus and a car collided on New Road in Hamden at 9:05 a.m. on Tuesday, causing damage but no injuries, according to John Morgan, the university's associate vice president for public relations.

Morgan said the bus, filled with students, was turning into the campus when the crash happened. Both vehicles sustained damage.

Hamden police referred to the crash as "just a bump."

Cold Breaks 100-Year Record


The coldest air of the season has descended upon Connecticut, breaking records that have stood as long as 100 years on Tuesday and that led to several school delays, as well as some cancellations at Bradley Airport this morning.

The windchill is making it feel as cold as -22 degrees in Willimantic, while the thermometer read as low as -6 degrees at Bradley in the Hartford area and 1 degree in Bridgeport.

Before Tuesday, the coldest temperature on record in the Hartford area for Feb. 24 was -4 degrees from 1907 and the coldest record in Bridgeport was 12 degrees in 1968.

During the day on Tuesday, the sun will come out and temperatures will climb into the teens inland and will reach about 20 along the shoreline. The Rhode Island border of the state could see a dusting of snow, coating the ground with up to an inch.

Wednesday will be breezy, with highs around 31. It will get colder on Thursday with temperatures in the 20s.

We could see more temperatures around 0 degrees from Thursday night into Friday.

Download our weather app to receive up-to-the-minute information on this week's forecast.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

NJ House Explodes, 2 Hurt


A gas explosion that leveled an Ocean County, New Jersey, home and injured 15 Tuesday morning shook homes in every direction Tuesday morning including one of a young mother.

"My windows blew out of my house, and I dropped, and I covered my daughter, because she was next to me," said Stafford Township resident Melissa Lewis. "I stood up, and I heard them screaming outside, and there were people being taken to the ambulance."

Police recieved the intial call for an odor inspection in the Cedar Run neighborhood of the township near U.S. Route 9 around 8:55 a.m., about an hour and a half before the blast occured, according to Stafford Twp. Police Captain Tom Dellane.

Officers, firefighters and emergency crews were dispatched to the neighborhood, quickly confirmed a gas leak, called in the New Jersey Natural Gas Company and evacuated 75 nearby home.

Gas company employeess were working on finding the source of the leak diagonally across from Lewis' home on Oak Ave. when the blast occurred, completely destroying one home and damages many others.

"The house has been disintegrated," said Stafford Township Mayor John Spodofora.

Seven gas workers were injured in the explosion, said NJ Natural Gas Spokesperson Mike Kinney. One suffered extremely critical injuries and required CPR at the scene. That man and another gas worker were medivaced to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's Trauma Unit, said Kinney.

Six firefighters also suffered minor injuries, most experiencing concussion-like symptoms. They were transported to Southern Ocean Medical Center. All but one were treated and released, said Stafford Twp. Volunteer Fire Chief Jack Johnson

Two EMTs were also taken to Southern with minor injuries and have been released.

As SkyForce10 hovered over the scene, debris could be seen scattered all over the place as some trees in the area burned. Only the home's foundation remained.

"I saw pieces of house floating all over my yard," Lewis said. "The insulation was all over the place and you could see the ambulances and people running around and there were big flames coming from the house."

The blast could be felt up to one mile away, said officials.

Gas and electric to nearly 300 homes was turned off and police urged people to avoid the area.

"We're working on a plan to restore that service, but that plan will take time," said Kinney.

How much time is unknown.

Spodofora urged residents who smell gas in their homes to open all their windows, report it to police and leave the area immediately.

"The gas is kind of hanging in there," said Spodofora.

The Marlton Area Office of OSHA headed to the scene Tuesday to investigate exactly what caused the blast.

Photo Credit: Press of Atlantic City
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Multi-Car Crashes Cause Messy Tuesday Morning Commute


The Tuesday morning commute was a mess in the Hartford area as several multi-vehicle crashes clogged the highways.

There were problems in East Hartford, Hartford, Manchester, New Haven, Plainville, Waterbury, West Haven and Windsor, among other places.

A three-car crash in Manchester blocked the left lane of Interstate 84 West at exit 62.

A two-car crash on Interstate 91 South in Windsor blocked the HOV lane and left shoulder at exit 38.

In Hartford, a crash blocked the right shoulder of I-91 South at exit 33.

In East Hartford, a multicar crash blocked the left lane and shoulder of I-84 West near exit 57.

There were also delays on Route 72 East in Plainville before exit 84 because of an earlier crash.

Earlier, I-84 in Waterbury was jammed in the area of exit 25 because of a two-car crash.

For traffic updates, follow Heidi Voight on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation

Calf Rescued From Ledyard Barn Fire


The owner of a barn that caught on fire in Ledyard rescued a calf inside at the time of the blaze Tuesday morning.

The homeowner is treating the calf for smoke inhalation, Ledyard Fire Chief John R. Doucette said.

Ledyard and Gales Ferry Fire companies responded at about 9:05 a.m. to 67 Thomas Road.The record cold temperatures proved a challenge as crews were delayed getting to the fiery barn due to ice coating the dirt access road. The homeowner and firefighters who got there on foot extinguished the fire before it could do much damage to the structure., Doucette said. Crews contained most of the fire to the hay for the calf in the stable, fire official

There area is very rural and "lacks hydrants," according to the fire department. 

Ledyard's fire marshal is investigating the cause and circumstances of the fire.

Preston firefighters responded with tankers as a precaution and left once the fire was put out.

2.1 Magnitude Quake in Eastern Connecticut


A 2.1 magnitude earthquake rattled eastern Connecticut this morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake, centered around a mile north of Moosup, is the 13th quake in eastern Connecticut since the beginning of January.

The USGS reports the quake happened at 9:18 a.m. and Plainfield police said they fielded more than a dozen calls this morning, many from the Green Hollow Road area of town.

Eastern Connecticut has been rattled by 12 prior earthquakes since Jan. 8.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.

Route 44 Closed in Norfolk


Route 44 in Norfolk is closed near Route 272 after a head-on crash, police said, and LifeStar will be transporting the person to another facility, according to state police.

Two vehicles are involved and one person is being taken to an area hospital, but LifeStar will then transport the person to another facility, state police said.

No additional information was immediately available.

Man Had Pornography Showing Sex Abuse of Kids: Cops


Police arrested a 64-year-old Monroe man on child pornography charges Tuesday.

William Siclari faces charges of first-degree child pornography and promoting a minor in an obscene performance.

The arrest comes after an investigation into a complaint Monroe police received last month. Police obtained a search warrant and found suspected child pornography "depicting children in sexually abusive sex scenes" through "digital forensic examinations," police said.

Some of the victims were under 10.

Police released Siclari after he posted a $50,000 surety bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 4.

Photo Credit: Monroe Police Department

SUV Lands Atop Cars in Pa. Crash


An airborne SUV that landed on top of several other cars in a Main Line car dealership parking lot Tuesday morning caused approximately $80,000 in damage, according to investigators. .

An elderly woman lost control of her Jeep SUV, crashed through a guardrail and landed on top of three unoccupied cars in the Acura dealership parking lot on the 100 block of Lancaster Ave. around 9:30 a.m., said officials on the scene.

The woman was pulled from the passenger's side of the white SUV and rushed to a nearby hospital in unknown condition.

No one else was hurt in the accident.

The SUV and two Acuras were totaled bringing the damage to around $80,000, said police

Teacher Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Assault of Student-Athlete


A teacher at Daniel Hand High School in Madison has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges filed over the alleged sexual assault of a student-athlete and risk of injuries charges filed in connection with a second male student.

Allison J. Marchese, 37, of Madison, appeared in court on Tuesday and entered the not guilty plea to second-degree sexual assault, risk of injury and impairing the morals of a child.

She is not a United States citizen and the judge ordered that she surrender her passport.

Marchese was emotional in court and attorney William Dow was asked about it outside the courthouse.

"This is not a locker room joke. Everybody -- everybody in this case has been affected by some tragic event, and that's influenced their actions," Dow said.  

The school website lists Marchese as an English and Language Arts teacher and yearbook adviser at Daniel Hand High School and the school superintendent described the incident as "vile and disgusting."

Marchese was arrested about a month after authorities launched an investigation into her conduct Jan. 7 and Madison Supt. Thomas Scarice released a statement, saying school officials immediately reported the incident to police after the Department of Children and Families informed them of the allegations against Marchese.

Marchese is due back in court on April 2.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Madison Public Schools

Police Investigating Stabbing in Manchester


Police are investigating a stabbing on Downey Drive in Manchester.

No additional information was immediately available other than police saying there was a “stabbing incident.”

Check back for updates.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fight Breaks Out at Hall-Conard Game


A spectator brawl broke out toward the end of two rival West Hartford high schools on Monday night, police said.

Police were called to William H. Hall High School during the Hall-Conard boys basketball game. Responding officers discovered fans fighting and footage of videos posted to social media of the game also show fans in a brawl on the court. 

Hall's student section rushed the court when the team scored the winning basket with 2 seconds left on the clock, mistakenly thinking the game was over, police said. Players were still finishing the game as several spectators ran on the court.

Police, private duty officers and school officials restored order and there were no injuries, police said. Authorities asked Hall students to leave the gym so that the teams could finish the game without disruption, police said. Hall won the game 43-42, according to the CIAC website.

West Hartford police are reviewing video footage to identify the people involved.

The incident remains under investigation.

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