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Lockdown Over at Stafford High School


Stafford High School was on soft lockdown for a time on Thursday afternoon as a precaution due to some kind of note, according to the superintendent’s office.

School officials said they could not get into what the note said or if it was threatening.

The lockdown was lifted and students were released at the regular time.

No additional information was immediately available, but state police are investigating.

Fire That Sent Mom, Baby, Blind Man to Hospital Deemed Arson


The two-alarm Hartford apartment fire that sent a mother, infant and blind man to the hospital and displaced 40 residents Wednesday night has been deemed arson, according to the the fire department.

Officials said the fire marshal was called Wednesday night after flames broke out in the second- and third-floor stairwell of 196 Sigourney Street around 9:30 p.m. The department's Arson Investigation Unit is now following leads.

Firefighters used a ladder truck to rescue and mother baby from their third-floor window. Other crew members rescued a blind man and his service dog from the building, according to fire officials. All three were taken to St. Francis Hospital for treatment and have since been released.

"I couldn't see anything. It was pitch black," said Sasharna Roberts, the mom who was rescued.

With her little girl in her arms, still wrapped in a Red Cross blanket, Roberts thanked the firefighters who saved her.

"If it weren't for them, I don't know what would have happened to us," she told NBC Connecticut in an exclusive interview Thursday. "Maybe we wouldn't be alive today."

When she learned the fire was deliberate, Roberts called the perpetrator "cruel," especially, she said, given all the lives that were at risk.

The fire left 30 adults and 10 children homeless. The fire department's Special Services Unit and crews from the American Red Cross helped the families find temporary housing, according to fire officials.

Police Seek Mom Accused of Helping Son Commit Burglary


Police are asking for help to find a mother suspected of helping her son and another man steal thousands of dollars worth of manufacturing equipment from a South Windsor company.

Police are searching for Stacey Worthington, 46, whose last known address in at 2 Upper Hamden Road in Stafford.

In March, around $9,000 worth of carbide cutting heads used in manufacturing were stolen from a local business and investigators tracked some of the stolen items to a Massachusetts scrap yard.

They have arrested Stacey Worthington’s son, Travis Worthington, 27, of Enfield, as well as Matthew Veltung, 31, of Enfield.

Police said Stacey Worthington is wanted on an arrest warrant for conspiracy to commit burglary in the third degree and conspiracy to commit larceny in the third degree.

Anyone with information about Worthington’s location is asked to call Agent Jeremy Weiss at 860-644-2551.

Photo Credit: South Windsor Police

Triple Crown: Baffert's Tough Losses


Before Bob Baffert won the Kentucky Derby for the first time, he lost.

Oh brother did he lose. Cavonnier, 1996, remember?

Sure, he's won the world's great horse race three times. Only three other trainers have won more in 140 runnings. And, the Hall of Famer is pumped for a fourth with the two favorites for Saturday's Derby, unbeaten Dortmund and the sweet-striding American Pharoah.

Seize the moment is Baffert's mantra. Don't think about those glorious wins by Silver Charm in '97, Real Quiet in '98 and War Emblem in '02. And for sure, don't even mention the losses. Three of them with favorites, one by a nose, and another with the horse he calls the best he's ever trained. Of course, that tune could change by Saturday night.

Some of Baffert's coulda, woulda, shulda Derbys.

1. Cavonnier, 1996: Showing up at Churchill Downs with his first Derby starters (Semoran was the other), Baffert begins what has turned into an annual spring break at Barn 33. He's not the main attraction — that would be favorite Unbridled's Song and his trainer Jim Ryerson. But those who chat with the white-haired, former quarter-horse trainer from Arizona come away smiling from one-liners and with a good story. The race? Cavonnier has the lead, then D. Wayne Lukas' Grindstone pulls alongside and there's a duel to the finish. Too close to call. Photo. Baffert thinks he wins. Then he isn't sure. Then the official results: Grindstone takes it by a nose in the closest of calls. Even after three failed Triple Crown attempts in the Belmont Stakes, the trainer still calls this "the toughest beat of my career."

2. Point Given, 2001: Not only does Baffert now have two Derby wins, he's saddling the 9-5 favorite in a bid for No. 3. Point Given enters the race off a win in the Santa Anita Derby. Starting from the outside post on a hot, humid day, Point Given doesn't appear to like the hard racing surface, has to run hard to stay in contention early, gets as close as second but fades to fifth as Monarchos powers home to victory. Point Given goes on to win the Preakness, Belmont Stakes, Haskell Invitational and Travers and is voted Horse of the Year. Baffert has said if there ever was a horse that should have won the Triple Crown that didn't, it's Point Given.

3. Bodemeister, 2012: Five weeks after a heart attack in Dubai, the trainer is at Churchill Downs to watch his 4-1 favorite Bodemeister. The horse takes the lead early, opens up by three lengths and looks like a winner before 15-1 long shot I'll Have Another blows past him in the final sixteenth-of-a-mile and wins by 1 1/2 lengths.

It's the third time in four years owner Ahmed Zayat finishes second in the Derby. He also owned '09 and '11 runners-up, Pioneerof the Nile and Nehro. The owner sends out American Pharoah, El Kabeir and Mr. Z on Saturday.

4. Pioneerof the Nile, 2009: Enters with a four-race win streak. The 6-1 third-choice leaves from post 15 and moves into second, a half-length behind pace-setter Join in the Dance with a quarter-mile to go. But that's as close as he gets because 50-1 shot Mine That Bird is completing a remarkable run from 12th to first, leaving Pioneerof the Nile 6 3/4 lengths back in second. Baffert, like just about everyone else, has no idea what horse was zooming into the lead.

5. Lookin At Lucky, 2010: The chance to win is lost three days before the race, when the colt draws the inside post. Expected favorite Eskendereya had been withdrawn earlier in the week, and Lookin At Lucky is the lukewarm 6-1 top choice. However, the 2-year-old champion is roughed up at the start, gets bumped into the rail early on and it's over. Super Saver wins, Lookin At Lucky runs sixth.

"I quit watching him after the first bump," Baffert says after the race. "He was done."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Man Robbed, Shot at During Craigslist Deal in New Haven


Police are investigating after a man was shot at and robbed in New Haven while trying to sell his laptop over Craigslist on Tuesday night.

According to police, the man went to a home on Blue Cliff Terrace around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday hoping to sell his computer to a woman who had reached out to him on Craigslist.

While the woman was looking at the computer, a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt approached the victim and demanded his laptop. The victim swung at the robber and took off running. Police said he heard two gunshots behind him.

A police K-9 searched the area afterward and found a spent shell casing.

The victim told police he believes the deal may have been a setup.

Anyone with information is asked to call police.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Mom to Serve 3 Years Behind Bars for Infant's Death


A New Britain woman who fell asleep in the bathtub, causing her infant daughter to drown in 2013, will serve three years in prison, according to court records.

Erin Lujan was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter and sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison, suspended after she serves three years, followed by three years of probation.

Police said after the arrest in October 2013 that Lujan's 7-month-old daughter drowned when Lujan fell asleep with the water running at her apartment on High Street.

Medical examiners said the baby died from asphyxia due to drowning.

Lujan told investigators at the time that she was trying to soothe her fussy 7-month-old daughter by taking a bath with the baby.

One of Lujan's four other children noticed water on the floor and woke her up, police said.

Photo Credit: New Britain Police Department

Texas Lawmakers Move to Stop Local Fracking Bans


Just as new scientific reports are reinforcing links between fracking and earthquakes, Texas legislators are moving to limit cities’ control over oil and gas drilling in their communities.

The proposed law is worrying not only environmentalists but also some officials who say local control is the best way to protect people from earthquakes, polluted water and other possible effects of fracking.

A bill that passed overwhelmingly by the House of Representatives earlier this month and is now being considered by the Senate would permit only the state to regulate oil and gas operations. Republicans have a majority in both bodies.

Municipalities would be permitted a say over activity above ground, including fire protection and other emergency responses, noise, traffic and setbacks but only if restrictions are “commercially reasonable."

Supporters say the bill has been amended to reflect some concerns raised by municipalities, including ensuring that the commercially reasonable provision is determined objectively by specifying it is what a reasonably prudent operator would do. Critics say that standard remains unclear and is open to legal challenges.

A public hearing on the Senate bill was held by the Senate Natural Resources Committee Thursday in Austin. The committee approved the bill by a vote of 9-0.

Meanwhile, a University of Texas poll released on Wednesday found that the majority of Americans support allowing cities to ban franking within their borders. Fifty-eight percent say cities should be permitted to outlaw its use.

“At present, it appears a large majority of Americans think cities should have the right to decide if they want to ban fracking locally,” Sheril Kirshenbaum, the director of the University of Texas Energy Poll, said in a statement.

The new law was proposed after the passage of the state’s first fracking ban, approved in November in Denton when anti-fracking activists convinced a majority of the city’s voters to support it.

Legislators said they are spelling out the state’s authority so as to continue the efficient management of an industry that has brought prosperity to Texas. The Texas Railroad Commission, the regulatory agency over the oil and gas industry, would have the ability to preempt local rules.
The Texas Oil & Gas Association has argued that fracking bans represent a taking of property without compensation in violation of the Texas constitution.

“Inappropriate use of local ordinances to stop oil and gas production also threatens resources for public schools, universities, roads and essential services that are directly funded by production taxes paid by the oil and gas industry,” Todd Staples, the association’s president, said in a statement in March.

But others say local control is the only way to protect groundwater, public health and safety. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that he was concerned about the legislators’ efforts to curtail local control in light of studies showing fracking and its associated waste disposal wells significantly increase the risk of earthquakes.

By requiring that all local ordinances meet a "commercially reasonable" standard, "The bill puts local fracking ordinances in the hands of the lawyers and judges for the near future," he said.

“This is further evidence that local leaders ought to be the ones deciding what is best for the health and safety of their citizens,” he said.

His counterpart in San Angelo, Mayor Dwain Morrison, said that the bill that was passed by the House went too far. He said he was not convinced by the studies linking franking and earthquakes and did not want to stop oil and gas production. But he thought cities needed more control over where fracking was done.

“We’re walking a fine line," he said. "We want to give these companies the authority to drill for oil because it’s good for our economy. But on the other hand we have a quality of life responsibility to our citizens as well.”

Melinda Taylor, the executive director of Kay Bailey Hutchison Center of Energy Law and Business at the University of Texas, said that among states with significant tracking, Texas was the only one without a law to protect property owners from damage from drilling, whether a Fort Worth homeowner or a West Texas rancher.

The only recourse they have had until now has been whatever local restrictions are in place, she said.

“Local land-use issues have traditionally been within the purview of local jurisdictions in Texas and around the country for that matter,” she said. “It just seems like it’s really both unusual and it’s unnecessary to take that authority away from these local jurisdictions. They’re closest to problems.”

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a process used to maximize the extraction of oil and natural gas. A mixture of water and chemicals is pumped into wells at high pressure to fracture the rock so that oil or natural gas can flow, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Once the fracking is completed, the fluids may be injected into waste-disposal wells.

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said in a statement at the beginning of the year that 1.1 million jobs had been created since the recession, partly as a result of the oil industry.

“This was partly attributable to the recent shale oil boom in Texas which helped counterbalance a sluggish national recovery and weakness in other sectors of the economy," he said.

Oil production and regulation taxes are projected to generate $5.7 billion, a 14.3 percent decrease over the current two-year period; natural gas production tax revenue is expected to be $3.2 billion, an 8 percent decrease, he said.

Adam Briggle, a vice president of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group, said that the House vote was disappointing but predictable. His group is continuing to lobby against the bill.

“I think that really this is a situation where folks are voting on the basis of powerful special interests rather than making common-sense public policy,” he said. "We've had local regulations working on oil and gas and the industry has been quite successful for the past several decades."

Luke Metzger, the director of Environment Texas, said that since the Denton vote the oil industry has been trying to wrest power from municipalities. City regulations have governed how close to homes and schools drilling can take place or kept waste injection wells outside city limits.

"Those kinds of protections really have been the one thing standing in the way from some of the worst impacts of dirty drilling," he said.

Other states have taken a different approach. New York's highest court for example ruled last year that municipalities have the authority to ban fracking.

The Texas lawmakers’ effort to tighten control comes amid new evidence that fracking is likely causing the swarms of earthquakes occurring in Texas and other states.

One study published last week concerned earthquakes around Azle from November 2013 to January 2014, that were monitored by scientists at Southern Methodist University, the University of Texas and the United States Geological Survey. They concluded that removing saltwater from the natural gas wells and injecting the waste water back underground represented the most likely cause of the 27 earthquakes, all magnitude 2 or above.

After its release, the Texas Railroad Commission's seismologist, Craig Pearson -- who in the past has resisted expanding studies into the causes of earthquakes -- questioned its methodology and conclusions.

Since then the Texas Railroad Commission has ordered the companies running two waste water disposal wells near Azle to show why they should remain open. The commission has had rules in place since last year allowing it to shut down a well if there is scientific data that it is likely to be or has been determined to be contributing to seismic activity.

Meanwhile in Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Geological Survey acknowledged that most of earthquakes shaking the state were very likely caused by the underground disposal of waste water from oil and gas wells. It is a turnabout for Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, who had been saying that more study was needed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Obama Library Will Go to Chicago


President Barack Obama's library will be built in Chicago, NBC News confirmed Thursday.

Both The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago placed bids. The final selection is expected to be connected to the University of Chicago, but the final site has not been settled upon.

An official announcement is expected in early May.

Columbia University in New York, and the University of Hawaii in Honolulu also offered bids. The University of Chicago had long been seen as the front-runner, and the foundation signaled its interest in the school's South Side proposal last month by commissioning a poll of area residents.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the project a "unique opportunity" for Chicago and advocated aggressively for the selection. While on the campaign trail for his second term, he said 

"It can be on the South Side. It can be on the West Side, but it cannot be on the Upper West Side of Manhattan," Emanuel, Obama's former White House Chief of Staff, said while campaigning for a second term at City Hall.

The site selection was expected to have been done earlier in the year but Obama delayed his decision in an effort to avoid politicizing his legacy project. He didn't want to inject the library announcement into Emanuel's challenge with Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia or be seen as giving Emanuel an unfair advantage, the Associated Press, citing sources, reported in early March.

After Obama's foundation divulged concerns that the University of Chicago couldn't assure access to the park land where it wants to build, Emanuel orchestrated a plan to have the Chicago Parks District board transfer 20 acres to the city for the library's use.

Democratic Sen. Kwame Raoul introduced a measure last week that would ensure the city has the legal authority to build on park land. His bill --  HB373 -- would clarify state law to expressly allow Chicago to construct museums on public park land or "formerly submerged lands."

The legislation follows a lawsuit filed by the organization Friends of the Park, which sought to bar construction of the Obama library and George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art on public land. The leader of that group, Cassandra Francis, stepped down from her position but said she plans to stay connected to the cause of protecting Chicago's public parks and open spaces.

10 Kittens Left in Cardboard Box in North Branford


Ten kittens were dumped in a parking lot in North Branford on Thursday morning.

According to the Branford Compassion Club, the kittens were left in a cardboard toy box outside the Lowe's store on Foxon Road.

The cats are now safe at the rescue center down the street.

It's not clear who abandoned the cats or why.

Branford Compassion Club is currently accepting applications for adoption of the abandoned kittens.

You can download an application online and email it to contact_us@branfordcompassionclub.org or stop by the rescue center at 2037 Foxon Road in North Branford from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Photo Credit: Branford Compassion Club

Stabbing Death of Insurance Executive Still a Mystery


Simsbury police have "nothing to report" on the investigation into the murder of insurance executive Melissa Millan last November.

After her body was found on the jogging trail along Iron Horse Boulevard on Nov. 20, 2014, police called in detectives from the federal and state governments. They have pursued leads ever since, Chief Peter Ingvertsen told NBC Connecticut News.

Ingvertsen said police want answers much as anyone does in Simsbury. A small memorial still marks the spot along the trail where Millan, a 54-year-old mom and senior vice president at Mass Mutual Insurance, was found stabbed to death.

"It's terrible that it hasn't been solved yet," said Diane Conroy, as she paused by the flowers and pictures with her friend, Jill Prentiss.

"We worry that there could be someone capable of that around," said Prentiss. "It's very sad. Every time we walk – we walk here all the time – we think of her."

It's still not clear who killed Millan or why.

North Haven Horse Owners Head to Kentucky Derby


Connecticut racehorse owners Ralph Durante and John Buckley are heading to Kentucky this weekend to watch one of their own run for the roses.

Durante said he knows it's a long shot, but it's one he's been waiting for since he and Buckley started Durante-Buckley Stable in North Haven 17 years ago.

"For me, to even be in the race is great. To finish four, five, I'd be delighted," Durante said.

Keen Ice is the 3-year-old horse that's making the dream come true. He's number 20 of 20 selected to run in the Derby.

"He was 22 about two weeks ago. Last week he dropped down to 21 because somebody backed out, and then last Friday, was when we finally got somebody else to drop, so he's the 20th horse. He's the last one in," Durante said.

As of Thursday, Keen Ice is also the longest shot on the board.

"We're 50-1 right now," Durante said.

But it doesn't matter to Durante, who has box seats at Churchill Downs to watch Keen Ice run on Saturday.

"I just hope the horse runs good, and I hope we have a great time, and you know, I manage my expectations," he said. "I want him to run good. I want him to give it his best."

He's also keeping an eye on his filly Puca, who is competing in the Kentucky Oaks on Friday. The Kentucky Oaks is considered the Derby for mares.

You can watch the 141st running of the Kentucky Derby starting at 4 p.m. Saturday on NBC or streaming here

Photo Credit: Durante-Buckley Stable

Dad Accused of Abusing 3-Month-Old in Brooklyn


State police have arrested the man accused of abusing his 3-month-old child in Brooklyn, Connecticut, last December.

Shawn Siegrist, 26, was arrested Thursday morning at his home in Plainfield. He was charged with second-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor.

Police said Siegrist physically abused his 3-month-old baby at a home in Brooklyn in early December 2014. The baby was taken to Backus Hospital's emergency center, then transferred to Connecticut Children's Medical Center.

Investigators found "a history of unexplained injuries" to the baby. Police said Siegrist is responsible for harming the child.

State police said Thursday that the baby is safe.

He was held on $10,000 bond and is due in court May 1.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Drunken Driver Gets 4 Years for Crash That Killed Paramedic


A New Britain woman will serve four years in prison in connection with a crash that killed a paramedic in West Hartford last March.

Karen Torres was sentenced Thursday to four years behind bars followed by five years of probation.

Police said her blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit and she was driving at least 25 miles over the speed limit when she crashed head-on into the car driven by a 32-year-old paramedic from Avon.

Donovan Alden was on his way to work at AMR when Torres crossed over the center line under a railroad bridge on New Britain Avenue the evening of March 30. Alden was killed and Torres was seriously hurt.

"It's not just a 9-to-5 job. We dedicate our lives to helping others through these times, through these crises, and Donovan was very well respected within the community," said Chris Chaplin, a Alden's former colleague.

Online court records say Torres pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, and second-degree assault with a motor vehicle.

"The sentence, initially, was going to be much higher, but there was such a positive report about her," said defense attorney Bill Gerace. "She's been kind and compassionate all her life, and she got due credit for that."

Gerace said Torres remains wheelchair-bound as a result of the crash and will be imprisoned in Niantic. Family and friends of Torres declined to comment on the case Thursday.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Family Photo

Woman's Wheelchair Catches Fire


A Texas woman was burned over 90 percent of her body when her wheelchair caught fire Thursday morning, McKinney firefighters said.

The woman called 911 and told authorities her wheelchair was on fire in her home at the Saxon Woods Apartments.

Authorities said she was still on fire when they arrived.

Paramedics transported the woman by medical helicopter to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. She was responsive when she was transported, according to McKinney Fire Department spokeswoman Stacie Durham.

The woman, in her 60s, suffered burns to 90 percent of her body.

Firefighters administered oxygen to the victim's small dog, which authorities said they expect to be OK.

The cause if the fire, which was contained to the victim's apartment on the 4400 block of West Eldorado Parkway, is still under investigation, but authorities said it was not electrical.

Durham said the woman was a smoker and had an oxygen tank.

A spokesperson for the victim's apartment complex released the following statement: 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family during this incredibly difficult time. We are working diligently with the authorities as they investigate today’s tragic accident. At this time, the Fire Department believes the fire started due to a combination of cigarettes and an oxygen tank. The fire was contained within the victim’s unit, and we are thankful that no other residents were injured. -- Stephen Ursery, The Wilbert Group 

NBC 5's Josh Ault contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News
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Mom Smoked Flakka, Lost Baby: Cops


A South Florida woman is facing a child neglect charge after authorities say she smoked the street drug, flakka, and abandoned her 1-year-old daughter outside an office building.

Qushanna Doby, 20, was arrested early Thursday after her unattended baby was found crying and shivering just before 7 a.m., Boynton Beach Police said.

Doby was being held in the Palm Beach County Jail on $3,000 bond Thursday, records showed. It was unknown if she has an attorney.

According to an arrest report, the baby was found in the 500 block of Gulfstream Boulevard. She had a full diaper that appeared to not have been changed in a long time, the report said.

As officers were attending to the baby, Doby ran up crying and screaming "my baby," the report said.

Doby was unable to tell officers where she was but said she had smoked flakka the night before and wound up at a hotel, but left after a man wanted to have sex with her, the report said.

She walked to a nearby WalMart where she sat outside and fed the baby potato chips and put Sprite in her baby bottle, the report said.

The next thing Doby remembered was waking up in front of a Dunkin' Donuts without her daughter. She said she started running back to the WalMart and that's when she saw the police.

"Qushanna admitted to regularly smoking 'flakka,' which has caused hallucinations in the past," the report said.

The arrest is just one of several recent bizarre events with ties to flakka, an increasingly popular synthetic designer drug.

"This is the first time we've dealt with someone on Flakka, and like many law enforcement agencies in South Florida, we are working diligently to familiarize ourselves with it," Boynton Beach Police said in a statement.

Photo Credit: Palm Beach County Sheriff

Driver Dies After Hitting Building in Bloomfield


A woman died Thursday afternoon after her car collided with another vehicle, then spun out of control and hit a building in Bloomfield.

Police said the driver, who has not been publicly identified, turned onto Old Windsor Road/Route 305 from East Newberry Road around 3 p.m. Thursday, cutting off a car that had the right of way on Old Windsor Road.

The two collided, causing the woman's car to spin across the road and into a building at 81 Old Windsor Road, according to police.

Police said the female driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The other driver, a man, was not hurt and is cooperating with investigators.

An accident reconstruction team will investigate the crash. Traffic was diverted from the area in the wake of the collision.

Shoreline Pet Owners on Alert Over Coyote Sightings


After a difficult winter comes a warning for pet owners along the shoreline: Coyotes are hungry, more aggressive and they are on the prowl, according to wildlife experts.

Though coyote attacks on humans are rare, it is a different safety scenario for pets, and officials have issued a new round of warnings about coyote sightings in and around East Haven.

"Sometimes we go out at two or three in the morning, so I really never thought about it," said Michelle Benivegna, a dog owner who has lived in East Haven for more than three decades.

The East Haven Animal Shelter is warning residents like Benivegna to be on the lookout in light of multiple coyote sightings over the past few days.

The animals have been spotted not only in rural locations, but also close to the center of town and along South End Road, according to the shelter’s Facebook page.

"There was always wildlife but I think we didn’t notice it as much because they had more places to hide," said Benivegna.

She already knows how close wildlife can come to her and her dog Otto: Benivegna recently recorded cellphone video of her backyard showing a fox and her litter right outside the door.

The best way to prevent a coyote attack is to be proactive, according to animal experts. Cats should stay inside and no pets should be allowed outside alone. Dogs should always be on a lease, especially smaller dogs.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection reports that coyotes in Connecticut average between 30 and 50 pounds.

The warnings may have come to late back in March, when surveillance cameras caught two coyotes chasing and attacking a 5-year-old pit bull in Ansonia. The dog has since recovered.

Pet owners are also urged to make sure their animal’s rabies vaccines are up to date.

Fire, Smoke, Explosions Leave Waterbury Family Homeless


Thick smoke and violent explosions, possibly from ignited gasoline, forced two adults and a baby from their Waterbury home Thursday night, according to police and officials with the Red Cross.

"I noticed the smoke. I dialed 911, and shortly after that, we heard two, three explosions. And after that it just went up in flames," said Duwane Digsby, who lives next door to the burning three-family house at 69 Dikeman Street.

Digsby said emergency officials told him and his family to leave their home when explosions rang out, forcing firefighters to exit the building and fight flames from the outside.

"Blew out all the windows. We were lucky we didn't have guys up there," said Deputy Fire Chief Richard Paltauf. "There were some motorcycles on the third floor. Maybe it was the gasoline from that."

Firefighters believe flames broke out somewhere on the third floor's rear porches. The one family that lives in the home – a 19-year-old woman, her boyfriend and her 4-month-old child, according to relatives – was not there when the house ignited.

"I'm a big guy and it scared the heck out of me," said neighbor Ryan Mullen. "The smoke was black, and it was so black on the street that you couldn't really see in front of you."

None of the residents or three dozen firefighters on scene was injured. Fire officials said they're investigating the cause but that the fire does not appear to be suspicious.

Investigators are trying to figure out what cause a fire and explosions at a three-family home in Waterbury on Thursday night.

The home is a loss.

Photo Credit: Nicole Bramble

Dad Charged in Crash That Killed 14-Month-Old


Police have arrested the man who crashed into an armored truck in Granby in 2013, causing the death of his 14-month-old son.

Kevin Ayers, 24, of East Granby, turned himself in April 23 after learning police planned to arrest him. He was charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle.

Ayers was behind the wheel the morning of Oct. 9, 2013 when his car crossed the center line and collided head-on with an armored truck on West Granby Road/Route 20, police said.

Ayers was seriously hurt and was airlifted to Hartford Hospital for emergency surgery. His 14-month-old son, Landon, suffered critical injuries and died at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, according to police.

The armored truck's driver and passenger suffered minor injuries.

Police said Landon was buckled into a car seat, and no drugs, alcohol or electronic devices contributed to the crash.

Ayers was released on a promise to appear. He's due in court May 5.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/Granby Police Department

8 Connecticut Towns Among 100 Safest in Country: Report


Do you live in one of the safest towns in the country?

A new report by home security company SafeWise ranks eight Connecticut municipalities among the 100 safest in the nation.

Here are the Connecticut towns that made the cut, and where they fall on the list:

4. Ridgefield
10. Weston
13. Darien
23. Newtown
73. Wilton
81. Madison
84. New Canaan
95. Suffield

The rankings derive from recent FBI crime statistics.

SafeWise noted that "Newtown was unfortunately thrust into the national spotlight" in 2012 when a gunman shot and killed 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but considered the tragedy an exception to the rule.

According to SafeWise, FBI data from the 10 years prior to the shooting and from 2013 indicate "very little violent crime occurred in Newtown."

See the full list of safest cities and towns here.

Photo Credit: Jimmy Emerson/Flickr
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