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Police Investigate Thefts, Damage at Meriden Humane Society


Police are investigating thefts and property damage at the Meriden Humane Society.

A couple metal cages were stolen and some larger dog runs at the facility were disassembled, police said.

The humane society is located at 311 Meriden Avenue.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

And This Big Piggy Went Home: Bridgeport's 'Tail' of Lolita


And this little piggy came home. Or in Bridgeport's case, a big, 50-pound piggy named Lolita.

A family on Forestview Road discovered the 5-month-old pot-bellied pig roaming in their yard on Saturday and called Animal Control, which has since found her a new home.

“Someone woke up and found a pig in their back yard and contacted us," Bridgeport Animal Control Officer Gina Gambino said in a statement, admitting she was initially in disbelief. “In all my years as an animal control officer, I never thought I would be picking up a pig in the middle of Bridgeport. But here she was, a big, a dark-colored pig in a little garden area.”

So she picked her up from the family and named her Cindy until she learned her name was really Lolita.

People responded to the photo of the pig posted on the Bridgeport animal shelter's Facebook page and many brought vegetables to feed the pig. Gambino also bought pig food from a farm.

While Gambino said getting a call about a roaming pig is rare, she said that it's not the first time it's happened in Connecticut. Stratford's animal control unit "corralled a pig on Interstate 95 recently, she said in a news release. So, she turned to them for advice.

"They knew exactly what to do," she said.

Bridgeport staff put blankets on the floor for the pig to make her comfortable and kept her in her own wing of the kennel because loud noises can stress pigs out, according to Bridgeport officials.

In the event she couldn't find the owners, Gambino arranged for the state Department of Agriculture to raise her on one of its farms.

On Thursday, the pig's owners came forward, but decided to surrender her so she could live on a the Niantic farm where Gambino had worked out a home for her. Nonetheless, Gambino was thankful for the outpouring of generosity from the community.

“It was amazing when people came in with fresh vegetables for Lolita -- and she thoroughly enjoyed them,” Gambino said. “She will have a great new home. But we also have amazing dogs and cats who want forever homes as well, so please come down to the shelter.”

Now that Lolita has her new home, the shelter perhaps has another mission -- to find a home for a mixed-breed dog there named Miss Piggy.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department
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Guardsmen Remain Jailed on Gun Sale


Two members of the California Army National Guard pleaded not guilty in federal court on Thursday to charges that they sold firearms to a purported Mexican drug cartel member.

The drug cartel member was actually an undercover ATF agent who engaged in a fourth-month sting leading to Wednesday’s arrest of the men, officials said.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Reyes, who enlisted with the California Army National Guard in 2008 after serving in the Marine Corps, appeared in court along with 22-year-old Specialist Jaime Casillas, who enlisted in 2011.

A federal judge ordered the two men be held in custody without bail, as prosecutors had argued the two frequently travel to Mexico and should be considered flight risks. The judge will address bail on April 20.

Reyes was taken into custody at his La Mesa home and Casillas was arrested during a traffic stop in El Cajon.

Court documents reveal that Reyes and Casillas sold dozens of firearms stolen from the military, including an AR-15 style rifle with a mounted scope. More than 4,000 rounds of military ammunition in sealed crates and 24 military body armor vests also were allegedly stolen, according to court documents.

The undercover agent purchasing the products told the men – who were in their uniforms for at least part of the sales process - that their weapons would be shipped to drug cartels in Mexico, the complaint said. During one transaction, the men allegedly showed up in their uniforms and collected $2,150 from the agent for an AR-15 rifle.

The California National Guard, which was not aware of the investigation until the men’s arrest on Wednesday, said it is cooperating with the federal probe.

Agents are trying to determine if any other guardsmen from the El Cajon Armory were involved.

Prosecutors called the allegations an ultimate betrayal.

“I think it’s shocking to every American sensibility,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Hayden said. “Men and women committed to wearing the uniform in charge of defense would turn around and do this.”

Photo Credit: Krentz Johnson

Silver Alert Issued for Missing 8-Year-Old and Mother


Police have issued a Silver Alert for a missing 8-year-old Torrington boy and his mother.

James Klussman is missing and police said he is with his biological mother, Heidi Klussman, 32. They might be in a 2002 gray Hyundai Sante Fe with Connecticut license plate number 138 YUD,

James has blonde hair and brown eyes. He is 4-feet tall and weighs 60 pounds.

Heidi has brown hair and hazel eyes. She is 5-feet-7 and weighs 140 pounds.

They were reported missing this morning and police said there is no criminal aspect of the case.

Anyone with information on their whereabouts should call the Torrington Police Department at 860-489-2000.

Photo Credit: Torrington Police

Dozens Displaced in Hartford Apartment Building Fire


At least 44 adults and 26 children were evacuated from an apartment building at 2605 Main Street in Hartford and an adjacent building Thursday night due to a third-alarm fire and a firefighter was hospitalized.

People were in the building when the blaze began at about 6 p.m. and everyone was ordered out as firefighters go into defensive mode. About 40 families were displaced and the city has booked a block of 50 hotel rooms for them to have a place to stay.

Smoke consumed the neighborhood and flames continued to pour out of the apartment building even hours after the fire started. Between 75 and 100 firefighters from three departments responded and spent at least five hours on scene.

“Unfortunately while this fire was burning there was another fire erupted on another part of town and fortunately we had mutual aid resources from West Hartford and East Hartford combat that fire," Hartford Fire Chief Carolos Huertas said, referring to one on Lawrence Avenue.

The building was equipped with a fire alarm system and everyone made it out alive. Hartford firefighters recovered a cat thought to be lost in the blaze. A firefighter was sent to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford to be treated for smoke inhalation.

The building where the fire happened has been deemed a total loss, so no one can live there again, but officials are hopeful that residents at the adjacent building can return soon.

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra called it one of the most intense fires he's seen.

“This is one of the most severe fires I’ve ever seen in the city in terms of witnessing it," Segarra said. "A lot of that has to with a lot of high wind and the asphalt and tar roofing which has consumed itself very fastly.”

No further information was immediately available.

There was another fire on the same street earlier this month about 1.2 miles away at an abandoned building at 1363 Main Street on Thursday, April 2, prompting city plans to tear down the historic structure built in 1890. Firefighters rescued a man squatting in the building during that early April fire who admitted to police that he burned a paper bag inside. He was taken to the hospital before being charged with third-degree trespassing and reckless burning.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Car Strikes Boy, 8, in East Hartford


A car struck an 8-year-old boy on Burnside Avenue in East Hartford in a multiple-vehicle crash Thursday night.

East Hartford police were still on scene at the crash site near 280 Burnside Avenue at 10:27 p.m. At least two cars were involved and remain there. Police received a call reporting the crash at about 5:55 p.m.

The child, whose identity, age and gender hasn't been released, was taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center. The condition of the child and the circumstances of the crash are unknown.

An accident reconstruction team is investigating the crash to piece together what happned.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Doc-Averse Man Wraps Wound in Tape


Authorities are investigating an apparent accidental shooting that left an upstate New York man with a hand wound that he wrapped in duct tape because he has an aversion to doctors.

Police in Glens Falls say 56-year-old Carl Critelli was drinking with friends late at night this week when one of them started passing around his .32-caliber handgun.

The gun went off, sending a bullet tore through Critelli's left hand and causing serious damage to two fingers. Critelli told The Post-Star of Glens Falls that he didn't seek medical help because he doesn't like doctors.

Instead, he put bandages on the wound and wrapped it with duct tape.

The 45-year-old man who owned the gun was charged Wednesday after telling police what happened.

Police convinced Critelli to go to a hospital for treatment.

4-Year-Old Boy's Wheelchair Stolen


Someone took a 4-year-old boy's wheelchair from the lobby of a Langley Park, Maryland, apartment building this week, according to Prince George's County Police.

The boy's mother typically carries him to their second-floor apartment on Merrimac Drive because it's easier. She did so again Sunday night, but when she returned for the wheelchair Monday morning, it was gone.

"This family already faces challenges and shouldn’t be burdened with the emotional and financial stress of the theft of this wheelchair," Capt. Ken Humbel said. "The suspect we’re looking for has no heart.”

Surveillance video shows the thief pushing the wheelchair through a parking lot.

Anyone with information about the theft should call police at 301-699-2601 or Crime Solvers at 866-411-TIPS.

Police are also in contact with a foundation that may help find a replacement wheelchair.

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Feds Seek 17-Year Sentence in 2013 Robbery and Kidnapping


One of three men who pleaded guilty to being in involved in a 2013 violent kidnapping in Meriden and jewelry store robbery in Fairfield will be sentenced on Friday.

Federal prosecutors are calling for a sentence of at least 17 years in prison for William Davis, 27, of Allentown, Pennsylvania at the hearing in Hartford.

Authorities said armed robbers broke into an apartment on Gravel Street in Meriden in April 2013 and bound and blindfolded four people.

Two of the robbers then drove two victims to Lenox Jewelers in Fairfield, where the victims worked.

Prosecutors said the robbers stole $4 million in jewelry and watches.

Davis pleaded guilty in December. His attorney has suggested a 10-year prison sentence.

Two of the four other defendants in the case have pleaded guilty but have not been sentenced and two are still awaiting trial.


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Bus Breaks Down in Middle of I-95 in Norwalk


A bus carrying around 40 people broke down in the center lane of Interstate 95 South in Norwalk this morning, causing heavy traffic delays.

The bus has since been moved, and delays are easing, but the passengers could be stranded for awhile. 

The company that operates the bus is sending another vehicle to transport the passengers, but it is coming from Massachusetts, around three to four hours away, so state police are looking for alternate arrangements to move the passengers to a safe location.

Photo Credit: Connecticut Department of Transportation Cameras

Storm Draft Mosqueda-Lewis With No. 3 Pick


Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis grew up in California and now, after four outstanding years at UConn -- including three national titles -- she's returning to the west. She was selected third overall by the Seattle Storm in Thursday's WNBA Draft.

I’m excited,” Mosqueda-Lewis said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “My family is excited that they’ll be able to come to more games and see me more often.

“This is something me and my family have been dreaming about since I started playing basketball. To finally hear my name called and be part of something that I’ve been watching since I was little. It’s amazing. ...

“I’m really proud and honored that Seattle thinks I can be part of their organization,” Mosqueda-Lewis continued. “I’m really excited to play with Sue (Bird) and excited to play with Jewell.”

That would be Jewell Loyd, the Notre Dame standout whom Seattle took with the No. 1 pick.

“We won a gold medal together and we’re friends now,” said Loyd, who played with Mosqueda-Lewis USA Basketball’s 2010 national team that won the gold medal at the FIBA U-17 world championships. “I love playing with Kaleena.”

Heading into the draft, there were questions about where Mosqueda-Lewis would play -- off guard or small forward. Wherever the Storm sees fit to put her, she plans on having success.

“I think I’ll be able to get my shot off,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I think I’m going to have great teammates around me to help me. And I’m going to continue to work on my game and try to elevate it to another level. Hopefully my 3-point shooting didn’t end in college. I’m going to have to prove myself like every rookie in this league.”

Animal Control Searches for Dog That Bit 81-Year-Old Man


Stratford Animal Control is looking for a dog that bit an 81-year-old man to ensure the animal had been vaccinated for rabies and the man does not need additional treatment.

Police said the man was jogging when he was bitten on the right forearm on East Main Street, about halfway between Main Street and Wilcoxson Avenue , around 9:30 a.m. on Thursday.

The dog, described as a medium-size collie type dog with long orange and white fur, ran off and police are looking for the dog’s owner.

The man suffered minor puncture wounds and was treated.

If you have information on the dog owner, call Stratford Animal Control (203) 385-4068.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Driver Hospitalized After Hitting Church in Torrington


A woman has been taken to the hospital after crashing into a church in Torrington.

Officials said the woman behind the wheel was coming out of a drive-through and went over the lawn, hit a parked car, bounced off it, careened across the parking lot of St. Maron Maronite Church on Main Street in Torrington, and hit the building.

The crash happened across from police department, officials said.

The driver's injuries are not considered life-threatening.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Beyond Plastic: 3-D Printing Goes Green


As 3-D printing revolutionizes manufacturing, companies are developing greener ways to 3-D print, creating new technologies to cut back on plastic waste and reduce manufacturers' carbon footprints.

Dr. Joshua Pearce, a professor at Michigan Technological University, has worked to develop eco-friendly techniques. He's optimistic about the future environmental impact of 3-D printing, which has already helped build Barcelona's towering cathedral La Sagrada Familia and “robohands” for children.

In a study last year, he created a “Recyclebot” to create plastic filament — the material 3-D printers use to create structures from digital designs — from recycled milk jugs, and found that using recycled materials at home to create filament used one fortieth the amount of energy it would take to create it commercially.

Meanwhile, more companies are taking that same effort commercial. Traditionally, two types of filament are used for 3-D printing: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA). Generally, ABS, a petroleum-based polymer, is less environmentally friendly than PLA, a biodegradable corn-based plastic, but now, some new, greener kinds of ABS filament are being made.

Black Eyed Peas rapper will.i.am is behind one of those. The rapper turned tech guru said that after a concert in Costa Rica in 2007, he noticed a lot of waste left behind in the stands and was determined to do something about it. He's a strong believer in 3-D printing's potential. “Eventually 3D printing will print people," he told Dezeen Magazine.

He's now the chief creative officer of 3-D printing company 3D Systems Inc., and he partnered with Coca-Cola on a project called EKOCYCLE in 2012 to create branded products made of recycled plastic waste like Coke bottles. His new 3-D printer, the $1,199 EKOCYCLE Cube, takes after Pearce’s Recyclebot and transforms cartridges of filament, each containing at least three plastic Coke bottles, into whatever a consumer designs. 

Three-D printer reseller 3D Printlife presented the first environmentally friendly ABS filament in January. Its material breaks down into carbon dioxide and methane when consumed by bacteria in landfills, making it biodegradable like PLA filament, but just as durable as ABS plastic.

The company's vice-president of marketing Joel Rush said the company wanted to encourage companies to consider their carbon footprints. Every $59.99 spool it manufactures is made out of cardboard and comes with soil paper with seeds, so that consumers can sprout plants.

Another 3-D printing filament maker is sourcing its ABS recycled plastic mostly from landfills. Chicago-based Dimension Polymers, which raised more than $20,000 on Kickstarter, was launching its $30 spools at the New York 3-D design show from April 13 to 17. Co-founder Gerald Galazin says the products could reduce toxins from petroleum-based production by 66 percent.

But new 3-D printing technology might wipe out any need for recycled filament, especially if it succeeds.

Carbon3D's CEO Joseph DeSimone debuted his new technology at a TED conference in Vancouver in March, and told Re/code the company expects to be commercializing in a year.

His technology — known as CLIP, or Continuous Liquid Interface Production — is inspired by a scene in “Terminator 2": Like the T-1000 that comes up from metallic liquid in the movie, a 3-D printed object grows out of a pool of resin by using light and oxygen. The CLIP technology can work 25 to 100 times faster than traditional 3-D printers and can use a variety of materials. 

At the rate 3-D printing technology is growing, experts say its will become faster and greener. Siemens predicts that 3-D printing will be 50 percent cheaper and 400 percent faster in the next five years. And Pearce points out that even now, 3-D printing has a crucial advantage over traditional manufacturing techniques: its relative lack of waste.

In 2013 he conducted a life-cycle analysis that found 3-D printers used 41 to 64 percent less energy than traditional manufacturing machines — mostly, he said, because they created less waste than mass manufacturing. The more waste left over, the more energy is needed to melt it, he explained, whereas 3-D printing uses only the amount of material required to finish the product.

“Even though your 3-D printer will use more energy per product, you are making a better product with less material,” he said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Bristol Police Warn Snow Plow Owners of Thefts


Bristol police are warning residents with snow plows to protect them because of several snow plows thefts in the region.

The thieves steal the plows when they are disconnected from the vehicles by driving up to the plow, connecting to it their own vehicle and driving away, police said.

Bristol police received one report in December 2014 and want to get the word out so others don’t fall victim to the trend.

Photo Credit: NECN

Crash With Injuries Reported on Route 9 in Middletown


One lane of Route 9 South is closed in Middletown after a multi-vehicle crash and injuries are reported.

The crash is near exit 16 and two to three cars are involved.

An ambulance and firefighters are at the scene.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Called in Bomb Threat to Medical Lab: Police


A woman is facing charges after calling in a bomb threat to a lab in the hospital at the Bradley Memorial Medical Arts building in Southington last Friday, police said.

Michelle Cyr, 44, of Southington, called the medical arts lab at 1:05 p.m. on April 10 and told the person who answered the phone that she was going to come to the building and blow it up with a bomb, police said. The person who answered her call reported the conversation to police, who responded to the Hospital of Central Connecticut at the Bradley Memorial Medical Arts facility at about 1:10 p.m.

Police identified Cyr as the caller and charged her with first-degree threawtening and second-degree breach of peace.

She was released on a $5,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear in Bristol Superior Court on April 20.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

Man With Machete Accused of Choking Girlfriend in Hartford


Hartford police have arrested a man accused of attacking and choking his girlfriend and throwing her daughter to the ground early Thursday morning.

When police responded to Lincoln Street around 5 a.m. on Thursday to investigate a domestic complaint, they found William Rodriguez, 39, of Hartford, outside, hitting the door and yelling, and a machete leaning against the door in front of him, police said.

Rodriguez’s girlfriend said he had attacked her for an unknown reason, choked her and threw her daughter to the ground, police said.

When Rodriguez went outside to his car, the victim locked the door and called the police.

Police said she had marks on her neck and EMS was responded.

Rodriguez was charged with two counts of risk of injury to a minor, disorderly conduct, second-degree strangulation, third-degree criminal mischief, carrying a dangerous weapon, second-degree threatening, two counts of carrying a pistol without a permit, obliterated serial number, theft of firearm, high-capacity magazine and two counts of carrying a firearm under the influence.

Police said the victim and three children were in the apartment during the alleged assault and Rodriguez had two guns on him.

Photo Credit: Hartford Police

Chicago's Cardinal Francis George Dies at 78


Cardinal Francis George, the sixth cardinal to lead Chicago's 2.3 million Catholics, has died after years of battling cancer. He was 78.

"A man of peace, tenacity and courage has been called home to the Lord," Archbishop Blase Cupich said Friday, remembering the Cardinal as a respected leader and proud life-long Chicagoan.

George passed away at 10:45 a.m. at his residence, Cupich confirmed.

"He pursued an over-full schedule, always choosing the church over his own comfort and the people over his own needs," Cupich said. "Let us heed his example and be a little more brave, a little more steadfast and a lot more loving. This is the surest way to honor his life and celebrate his return to the presence of God."

A group of Chicago Catholic priests received a text message just after noon about his passing.

"Please add Cardinal George to your prayers today," St. Giles Parish in Oak Park wrote in a post online. "May he rest in eternal peace."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said George "led a remarkable life of faith and service."

“He lent his counsel to those in distress, his comfort to those in despair and he inspired us all with his courage in his final days," Emanuel said. "He could always be counted on to provide those granite qualities to the countless people who relied on them when it mattered the most."

A Chicago native, George was born on the city's West Side to parents Julia and Francis. He attended St. Pascal before leaving the city to attend seminary in high school and pursue his dream of becoming a priest.

"I'd like to think it was a call from God," George recalled to NBC 5. "I started to think about it when I received First Holy Communion."

He was known for his endurance. George contracted polio at age 13, and Chicago's Quigley Seminary rejected him. Instead he joined the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Despite a leg brace, he was determined to enjoy life.

With the Oblates, George rose through the ranks and was based in Rome for 12 years, traveling the world as their Vicar General.

He returned to Chicago by way of Portland, where he was archbishop, and Yakima, Washington, where he was bishop for five years.

A year after his Chicago appointment, Pope John Paul II elevated George to the College of Cardinals, and in 2007, he became the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"It's a symbolic post," George said in November 2007.

As a cardinal, he played a role in the selection of two popes, Benedict the 16th and Francis, and was known as the go-to American church leader.

"It was necessary to make some changes," he told NBC 5 in March 2013. "The style is the substance."

Difficult church finances forced George to close Catholic schools and lay off staffers. His handling of the priest sex abuse crisis, he told reporters, was a low point, and he admitted he did not fully accept how grave the situation was.

"Things came a little unraveled," he said. "Then you're not quite sure whom can you trust."

He didn't back away from social controversies, though. He opposed Obamacare, met privately with Catholic politicians like Gov. Pat Quinn and spoke out against same-sex marriage.

"Over the years he tangled with Father Michael Pfleger's outspoken style but eventually asked him to be the archdiocese's voice against violence.

"I always had a good relationship with Father Pfleger, but sometimes he says things I can't agree with," George said in 2012.

The cardinal's first bout with cancer came in 2006, in his bladder. The cancer then returned in his kidney and liver in 2012. In early March, he wrote to parishioners that he would begin a more aggressive round of chemotherapy and said, "it will probably eventually be the cause of my death."

Just weeks before celebrating his 50th anniversary as a priest, the cardinal spoke of one day meeting the next archbishop of Chicago.

"I would hope that I would meet my successor," George said at the time.

On Sept. 20, he did just that, meeting Spokane's Bishop Blase Cupich, Pope Francis' pick to succeed Cardinal George.

An apartment steps away from Holy Name was ready for the cardinal's retirement, but he never moved in. In his final months, George tried a new clinical trial to fight his cancer.

He will be remembered for enduring a rigorous schedule to the end. Chicago is known as the flagship American diocese, and the changes the Church has witnessed here have often shaped it worldwide.

"I love Chicago, I love being here, but sometimes I don't love everything that happens, nobody does," he said.

Bristol Water Department to Flush Hydrants


The Bristol Water Department is alerting residents that it will be flushing fire hydrants in some areas of town.

The hydrant flushing will happen on Wednesday, April 22 and Thursday, April 23 on the following streets and nearby areas:

  • Hawthorne Street
  • Jeannette Street
  • Hemlock Street
  • Birch Street
  • James Drew Lane
  • Drayla Drive
  • Rita Drive
  • Cronin Street
  • Sterling Way
  • Hadden Street
  • Yarde Street
  • Owsianko Lane
  • Metro Street
  • Hepworth Street
  • Perry Road
  • Donna Lane
  • Dino Road
  • Noel Lane
  • Violet Drive
  • Daisy Circle
  • Candlewood Drive

Residents in those areas could see low pressure and discolored water during and after the flushing, so the water department is advising people to avoid washing clothes during those times.

More information is available at bristolwaterdept.org and residents can also sign up for email notifications there.

Photo Credit: NBCSanDiego
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