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Route 82 in East Haddam Reopens to Marine Traffic Due After Bridge Issue


Route 82 has reopened to marine traffic in both directions after a bridge was stuck in the closed position, according to the Department of Transportation.

The bridge was briefly closed to marine traffic.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

One Person Burned in Burlington House Fire


One person suffered burns in a house fire on Saturday in Burlington.

The fire broke out at a single-family home at 22 Woodside Street and the fire department was called at about 7:20 p.m.

Firefighters discovered a house fully engulfed in flames when they arrived.

Everyone made it out of the home, but one person did suffer from first and second degree burns. They were transported to the hospital for treatment. The age and gender of the person hurt are uknown.

The house was deemed a total loss.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Unionville and Canton firefighters responded for mutual aid.

Photo Credit: James Swanson

Fire Damages Waterbury Home


A fire seriously damaged a Waterbury house on Saturday afternoon.

The blaze broke out at 34 Maynard Avenue and the fire department received the call at 12:02 p.m. The fire spread to the attic.

No injuries were reported.

There was significant damage to the house and the residents were most likely displaced.

This happened at a two-and-a-half-story house.

The cause remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: Rick Kulmann (@rickbryce)

One Person Hospitalized in Branford All-Terrain Vehicle Crash


One person was hospitalized after an all-terrain vehicle accident in Branford on Saturday night.

The accident was reported at 6:40 p.m.

One person was transported to the hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Branford fire officials said.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Metro-North Running on Sunday Schedule for Memorial Day


Metro-North trains will operate on a Sunday schedule for Memorial Day.

Grand Central North will be closed on Monday.

Many connecting trains won't be running on Monday, but the Tappan Zee Express will be running on a Saturday schedule.

More information is available on the Metropolitan Transit Authority's website or click here for the train schedules for the routes you are looking to take.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Memorial Day Weekend Drunken Driving Arrests Decrease Since 2014


State police have made 17 drunken driving arrests so far over Memorial Day weekend, marking a drop in comparison to last year.

In increased traffic enforcement that started at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22, state police have been targeting drunken driving, aggressive driving, distracted driving and speeding offenses. Sobriety checkpoints were set up across the state and the enforcement will run through 11:59 p.m. on Monday, May 25.

As of 7 a.m. on Saturday, state police issued 679 speeding tickets, 811 seatbelt violation tickets and 202 hazardous moving violation tickets for offenses like unsafe lane changes, following too closely, cell phone use and texting, Seventeen have been arrested on driving under the influence charges.

There have been 96 accidents, including 13 with injuries and one fatal crash.

By comparison, in 2014, police issued 1,248 speeding tickets, 954 tickets for seatbelt violations and 4,142 tickets for hazardous moving violations.

Fifty-four people were arrested for drunken driving Memorial Day weekend in 2014. There were 201 crashes investigated that year, including 54 with injuries, but none were fatal.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Family Makes It Out Safely After Fire at Home in Orange: Report


A house in Orange caught fire Saturday, but everyone got out safely, News 12 reported.

Firefighters responded and discovered a blaze at the back of the house that spread to the roof, News 12 reported. Crews put out the fire and checked for hot spots, the news station reported.

Neighbor Caroline DelVecchio told News 12 that the fire happened quickly and caused a lot of damage.

The homeowners and family dogs made it out of the home safely, neighbors told news 12.

Woodbridge, Derby and Milford firefighters responded for mutual aid, News 12 reported.

D.E.E.P. Reminds Boaters to Stay Safe


On this holiday weekend, many people are getting outside to enjoy the nice weather.

For many people, boating is the best way to spend Memorial Day Weekend. But state officials are urging people who head to the water to be careful.

“We had a great time. We went fishing. Didn’t do real well. But we enjoy the weather,” says Wayne Halvorson of Haddam.

But the waters can be like the roads and something can easily go wrong.

“A moment’s distraction can lead to an accident or something worse,” says Mark Chanski, DEEP boating resource technician.

On Sunday, Chanski was out patrolling and reminding boaters about safety.

“It all comes down to keeping a proper lookout, going slow if you’re not sure about what somebody is going to do, just stop and wait for them to pass, give people plenty of space,” says Chanski.

Chanski says officials will be looking for issues including speed, safety, and people boating under the influence. He also has a reminder for people not in motor boats.

“Now between October 1st and May 31st anyone on a manually propelled vessel actually needs to be wearing their life jackets. All the other times during the year, they need to carry them,” says Chanski.

While the weather this weekend was good, things can quickly change.

“Always keep an eye on the weather, check it before you go, check it under way,” says Chanski.

Chanski suggests checking your smartphone for the weather.

The NBC Connecticut Weather app will give you all the warning you need of approaching bad weather.

Car Kills Girl Running to Ice Cream


A 5-year-old girl was killed in a hit-and-run accident Saturday afternoon in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood after she left her house to buy a treat from an ice cream truck.

Maria Gonzales was in her home in the 5900 block of South Mozart doing her homework at about 3:15 p.m. when she heard the sound of an ice cream truck, her father, Juan Gonzales, told NBC Chicago. Maria then asked her mother, who was inside the home with her, if she could get ice cream before running outside.

Maria's father, who was working outside in the yard, said he told his daughter to stop running, but the girl continued toward the truck.

On her way back to their home after stopping by the ice cream truck, a dark-colored four-door Honda or Acura sped by and struck Maria, Chicago Police said. Juan Gonzales, who heard the impact but did not see it, said the driver seemed to be driving more than 40 miles per hour.

Following the accident, the driver fled the scene.

Maria's family called an ambulance, but the girl died on the way to the hospital, her father said.

Police ask anyone with information regarding the accident to contact the Major Accident Investigation Unit at 312-745-4521.

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

Tour Bus Erupts in Flames


A tour bus caught fire along Interstate 395 on Saturday, creating a huge scene.

Video captured at the location showed the back of the bus fully engulfed by the fire. The driver was able to pull over near the Pentagon exit, and everyone inside escaped safely.

Investigators aren’t sure how the fire started. Smoke could be seen from locations in northwest D.C.

Stolen Phone Leads to Drug Bust


A woman's cellphone was stolen from an Orange County theme park in California but it kept updating its location, leading authorities to a significant drug bust and six arrests, officials said.

The phone was reported stolen on Friday from Knott's Berry Farm on Friday evening, according to a San Bernardino Sheriffs Department news release. Its owner gave deputies its location, in the 11200 block of 4th Avenue in Hesperia, San Bernardino County.

There, the deputies made a series of discoveries on Saturday morning at about 1 a.m.

The owner of the home, Stacey Shelton, allegedly admitted to taking the phone while at Knott's Berry Farm; a known parolee was found to be in possession of methamphetamine and hypodermic needles and deputies saw a THC extraction lab, the news release said.

THC, also known as butane honey oil, is a highly concentrated form of marijuana that's legal to use in California as medical marijuana but illegal to make -- 32 people died from explosions caused by the honey oil production process in California last year, according to the Drug Endangered Children Training and Advocacy Center.

The Sheriff's Marijuana Enforcement Team arrived with a search warrant and discovered the THC lab was allegedly operational. They also found marijuana, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, according to the news release.

Deputies found marijuana in the child's bedroom, and deputies allege that Stacey and Michael Shelton admitted to smoking the drug with the 13-year-old. Children and Family Services was called, the news release said.

The Sheltons were arrested along with four other people, ranging in age from 22 to 51, according to the news release. They were booked on various charges.

Deputies ask anyone with information about the lab to call 909-890-4840.

Body ID'ed as Kayaker


Authorities have identified a body discovered in the Hudson River a day ago as that of the 46-year-old missing kayaker allegedly killed last month by his fiancee, a source close to the case said Sunday.

Michael Archer, a forensic scientist, said the body has been "positively identified" as Vincent Viafore, who has been missing since April 19, when his kayak capsized in the Hudson, about 50 miles north of New York City.

Archer is working for attorneys representing Angelika Graswald, who is charged in Viafore's death.

"The members of Ms. Graswald's defense team, like everybody involved in this case, are relieved that Mr. Viafore has been recovered and identified," Archer said.

"It is our sincere hope that the recovery and identification of Mr. Viafore helps bring some consolation to his family and loved ones," he added.

Graswald, 35, who had been Viafore's fiancee, was charged last month with second-degree murder.

Viafore's body was found near the Cornwall Yacht Club, about a mile south of where Viafore's kayak capsized. The body was immediately taken to a medical examiner to determine the identity.

The medical examiner's office did not return phone messages requesting comment on Sunday.

Graswald, a Latvian expatriate, admitted to tampering with Viafore's kayak while the engaged couple paddled on the Hudson and later confessed "it felt good knowing he would die," a prosecutor said at Graswald's bail hearing.

Viafore, 46, was not wearing a life jacket.

Assistant District Attorney Julie Mohl said at a bail hearing that Graswald felt trapped and stood to benefit by $250,000 from life insurance policies.

Mohl did not detail how Graswald tampered with her fiance's kayak but said it filled with water and capsized. Viafore held onto his boat for 5 to 10 minutes in the cold, choppy water, but Graswald called 911 some 20 minutes after his kayak capsized. Witnesses say she intentionally capsized her own kayak, Mohl said.

Graswald was rescued by another boater and treated for hypothermia.

She later told investigators that she felt relief and "it felt good knowing he would die," Mohl said.

The judge set bail at $3 million cash.

After the hearing, defense attorney Richard Portale noted the language barrier between Graswald and investigators. He said he would look into whether her statements were voluntary.

"I'm skeptical of the statements," he said.  

Photo Credit: ALLYSE PULLIAM/For the Times Her

Jewish Home Cares for Aging Nuns


For 98-year-old Sister Angela Rooney, it was one of the most jarring moves of her life.

She always thought she would live out her days as she had for decades, in a convent under the time-honored Roman Catholic tradition of younger nuns dutifully caring for their older sisters.

But with few young women choosing religious life, her church superiors were forced to look elsewhere for care, and in the past year have sent Rooney and dozens of other nuns to Jewish Home Lifecare, a geriatric-care complex in the Bronx founded as a nursing home for elderly Jews.

"I wanted my convent, my great big chapel, my Stations of the Cross,'' Rooney said. "The very name `Jewish Home' turned me off. ... I don't think anyone came here with a heavier heart than me.''

Rooney and 57 other sisters, ages 73 to 98, have since adjusted nicely to their new accommodations and neighbors, becoming an active part of classes and continuing their ministry with good deeds like holding the hands of dying patients on the hospice floor.

"This is home now,'' said 83-year-old Sister Grace Henke. "When we first came, we were fish out of water.''

It's an unusual situation that reflects a reality of the nation's Catholic nuns in the 21st century: Fewer young women are devoting their lives to religious orders, and those who are already nuns are aging and facing escalating health care needs.

There are now more sisters over age 90 than under age 60, said Mary Gautier, a researcher at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. The center's 2009 study found that 80 percent of the nuns in the country were over 60.

"Their model of caring for their older sisters is no longer sustainable,'' said Robin Eggert, president of the Realm consulting group, which has worked with several nuns' orders to find solutions.

Eggert said a number of women's religious orders have partnered with outside organizations offering skilled nursing, assisted living and other levels of care, but `"We've never done Jewish before.''

The Sisters of Charity of New York has seen its numbers decline from a 1960s peak of 1,350 to 270 today, and no new sisters had joined in the U.S. in 20 years. It was the first order to put out a request for proposals that was answered by the nonprofit Jewish Home Lifecare. Two other orders based in Manhattan, the Franciscan Handmaids of the Most Pure Heart of Mary and the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, followed.

Several of the nuns now living at Jewish Home, including retired teachers, social workers and nurses, said they were very happy after some original hesitation.

"We've almost all, 95 percent, accepted and acclimated. Those who were resistant have kind of calmed down,'' said 92-year-old Sister Rosemarie Bittermann.

"It certainly fit our needs,'' said Sister Loretta Theresa Richards, 86. "We can stay together, we have our own little chapel. They went out of their way to find a space for us to have Mass. I have to say it was so nice I was a little reluctant, because I took a vow of poverty.''

Some things are different, however. While Jewish Home Lifecare is now nondenominational _ most residents are Christian _ its Jewish heritage remains apparent, with a resident rabbi and kosher-style meals in the independent living residences.

"I miss the bacon,'' Richards said. Added Sister Maria Goretti Mannix, 83: "I notice that we never get ham or pork chops. The food is good, though.''

The nuns' care is funded through a combination of Medicaid, Medicare, the New York archdiocesan health plan, payments from the order itself and the individual sisters' scant assets.

Pastor Shot Outside Church


Hartford police are investigating two early morning shootings Sunday that happened minutes apart, sending two victims to the hospital, including a beloved pastor shot outside a church while putting out Memorial Day flags.

The pastor shot was identified as Rev. Dr. Augustus Sealy, 54, of Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. The victim of the second shooting was Robert Jones, 27.

Police responded to the first shooting at 932 Capitol Ave. near Newton Street around 6:30 a.m. Sunday after receiving multiple 911 calls. When they arrived, they discovered a male victim shot multiple on the road outside the First Church of the Nazarene. The man, Sealy, had two gunshot wounds to the right leg and one to the left shoulder.

Shortly afterwards, at about 6:41 a.m., police responded to 402 Garden St. for a report of a male victim who had been shot at least six times. He was initially listed in critical condition at St. Francis Hospital's emergency room after multiple gunshot wounds to the torso and arms, but now he was later listed in serious but stable condition. Police found him on Mather Street near Garden Street and confirmed a crime scene at the address given.

Witnesses saw a vehicle possibly connected fleeing the scene in the southbound direction on Garden Street from Mather Street.

According to church official Elton Adams, the pastor, Sealy, was outside the church placing flags from different countries in the yard as part of an annual tradition for the church's Memorial Day celebration when he was shot multiple times in the arms and legs. A special service had been planned for Sunday in honor of Sealy's fifth anniversary at the church.

Witnesses told police they saw a black car heading west on Capitol Avenue, slow down as it passed by the victim and that they heard five gunshots. Seven shells were found at the scene.

Police confirmed the car was a Nissan Altima last seen speeding in the eastbound direction on Capitol Avenue.

Sealy was transported to St. Francis Hospital where he underwent surgery and is listed in critical condition. He is expected to survive, Adams told NBC Connecticut. The pastor, also a licensed psychologist, counsels a lot of people, so Adams said he believes the shooting had to be random.

Members of the church learned about the shooting involving their pastor when they arrived for Sunday services.

"There’s so many mixed emotions right now. It’s hard," Myrna Springer, a secretary at the church, said. "People’s sprits are low. We just don’t know.”

She said that the pastor is a "very caring" and "comfortable person" who is "easy to get along with."

NBC Connecticut spoke to Sealy’s wife Sharon, who says he was in a lot of pain, but expected to recover.

“He hasn’t lost any hope,” she said. You know, this is something that happened that was really terrible and shouldn’t have happened and we’ve already prayed for that person who actually committed the crime.”

For now, the family is focused on Sealy’s recovery, which is expected to take at least six weeks.

“In spite of adversities, you know we look to God for strength and that’s what my family is doing right now,” Sharon said.

Reverend Henry Brown of Mothers United Against Violence was outraged by the news.

"This is sickening. This is ridiculous," he said. "A pastor? You've got to be kidding me. Who would want to shoot a pastor?"

Brown says a vigil has been planned for Sealy. The event will take place at the scene of the shooting, First Church of the Nazarene, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

The Major Crimes Division is investigating both shootings. Police say that it is an odd time for two shootings to come in and it is unknown if they are related at this point. No arrests have been made at this time.

As the number of homicides climbed to double digits in Hartford last week, there's growing concern about two shootings on one Sunday morning. Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley called it an "anomaly" and said that having two shootings in a small time frame "obviously sends up some red flags."

In regard to the recent wave of violence in Hartford in the past few weeks, Foley said the department is addressing any preventative measures, including necessary increases in patrols.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com/First Church of the Nazarene

Avon TD Bank Armed Robbery Suspect Arrested


Police have arrested a man suspected of robbing the TD Bank in Avon at gunpoint last Sunday and believe he may be tied to another bank robbery that happened in town days later.

Patryk Kornas, 40, is facing robbery and drug charges.

A man entered the 255 West Main Street bank along Route 44 at about 1:30 p.m. last Sunday and displayed a black handgun before taking off in a black SUV with an unknown amount of cash, police said.

Police suspect Kornas is that bank robber and said they anticipate additional charges.

Police believe he may also be connected to a second bank robbery that happened in town this weekend, but no charges have been filed yet in that case. Officers responded to Northwest Community Bank at 101 Simsbury Road (Route 10) on Saturday after a man displayed a black handgun and robbed an undetermined amount of cash from the bank. It's not confirmed at this time whether the two robberies are connected.

Police obtained a search and seizure warrant for an apartment in New Britain based on information received in a collaborative investigation involving Avon, Newington and Wallingford police as well as local FBI authorities. Avon, North Central Municipal Emergency Services Team  and New Britain Emergency Services Team officials and New Britain police searched the address and arrested Kornas on a possession of narcotics charge.

Then police applied for and obtained an arrest warrant tying him to the armed robbery at TD Bank in Avon, charging him with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery and third-degree larceny. He is being held on a $500,000 surety bond.

Police ask anyone with information on the Northwest Community Bank robbery to call Det. Jason Reid at 860-409-4232.

Photo Credit: Avon Police Department

Fire at O'Brien's Sports Pub in Danbury


There was a fire at O'Brien's Sports Pub in Danbury early Monday morning.

The pub is located at 83 Lake Avenue.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Police Arrest 3 Who Fled Old Saybrook Crash


State police have arrested three people who fled on foot from a crash on Route 9 in Old Saybrook Monday morning.

Old Saybrook and state police spent the morning searching for a man and two women. They ran from a crash that happened near the intersection of Middlesex Turnpike and Christy Heights near the exit 2 ramp on Route 9 south by the Department of Transportation garage, the Old Saybrook Fire Department posted on Facebook.

Police had asked residents and people in the area of Obed Heights, Christy Heights, Briarcliff Trail, Springbrook Road and Essex Road to keep an eye out for the possible suspects.

"If you see someone not in police uniform running in the neighborhoods (sic) please call 911," the Old Saybrook Fire Department posted earlier on its Facebook page.

No further information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Bounce House Airborne, Kids Hurt


Memorial Day fun turned into a holiday nightmare on Fort Lauderdale Beach when a waterspout turned tornado launched a bounce house into the air.

Several children were injured when the inflatable bounce house they were playing in at 801 Seabreeze Avenue was sent  flying across a parking lot and into a roadway, Fort Lauderdale police say.

Shamoya Ferguson was one of three kids inside. She was left with a huge bruise on her forehead that will keep her in the hospital overnight.

"I was in the bounce house and a tornado while I was in the bounce house and I flew up and dropped," the six-year-old said.

It all started with a waterspout. Sunbathers watched as it came ashore, turned into an EF-0 tornado and sent the bounce house spinning, then lifted it above the palm trees.

"I was thinking I was about to die," said five-year old Shadaja Bryant, who was left with a broken arm after the violent ride. "I was in the bounce house and then it flew while I was in there, then I fell in the dirt."

It was shear panic for Bryant's father, Ryan Howard who said he felt helpless.

"I was crying all the way there and from the time I saw the bounce house to the hospital I was crying, I was shaken real bad," Howard said. "I thought it was safe."

Witnesses described the frightening scene.

"Everyone was screaming, 'Oh my God, Oh my God.' And then everyone started to run," said Sophia Fuller. "It was coming from in the water and then it was coming to where we were sitting."

Then it made a hard turn and headed for a bounce house. Moments later children started to drop from the sky.

"It was like spinning around, broke the basketball goal, it broke the light poles. It kept spinning and that's when the little girl fell on the concrete," said Jammelia Wray.

A Memorial Day tradition for Sophia Fuller and Jammelia Wray ended with a family gathering at Broward Health Medical Center.

Two family members, 6-year-old Shamoya who goes by Sugar and her 11-year-old step brother AJ were seriously injured when they plummeted from the bounce house from 20 feet in the air.

"They just hit the sand, said Fuller, the children's aunt.

"She was in shock, she couldn't talk. She was just screaming. Her mouth was bloody," added Wray, who is their cousin. "My other little cousin's mouth was bloody. He was just laying there. He was shaking."

"Her neck, they had to put a neck brace on her and my nephew they had to wrap him up in plastic," Fuller said.

Witnesses say police cut through the bounce house when it stopped on the street to make sure no children were still inside.

"These bounce houses are permitted. It's an incident, an act of mother nature that couldn't be prevented," said Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Deanna Greenlaw.

The children were all transported to Broward Health Medical Center.

According to the National Weather Service, the water spout is being classified as an EF-0 tornado. 

Once a waterspout makes it to shore, it is classified as a tornado.

Three children were injured in a similar bounce house incident last May in upstate New York. Two boys fell about 20 feet when a strong wind swept their backyard bounce house into the air.

One of the children fell into the street, while a second child fell into an apartment building parking lot.

Experts generally advise against setting up bounce houses up on soft ground, and recommend that the spikes anchoring the bounce house should be made of durable material and be at least nine inches long. Bigger, more durable stakes are available at hardware stores.

Bounce houses can weigh anywhere from 200-600 pounds.

Man Dragged Pregnant Woman By Hair Down Stairs: PD


A Hamden man is facing charges after dragging a pregnant woman by her hair down a flight of stairs and hit her in West Haven, police said.

Police arrested Steven Gary, 20, of Hamden, on a warrant after receiving an anonymous tip about where he was located after he fled on the day of the incident.

On May 21, police received a 911 call from the woman reporting a domestic violence incident in West Haven.

The pregnant female victim told police Gary dragged her by her hair down some stairs, restrained her and struck her in the face several times.

Gary had fled by the time police got there.

The woman was trasnported to a nearby hospital to be treated for injuries.

Police charged Gary with third-degree assault, unlawful restraint and disorderly conduct.

He also had two outstanding warrants for charges of violation of probation and police held him in custody on a bond. Police did not release information on the amount of his bail or his court date.

Photo Credit: West Haven Police Department

New Haven Police Investigate Reported Shooting


A 15-year-old boy suffered a superficial gunshot wound to the forehead after a reported shooting in New Haven on Memorial Day, police said.

New Haven police responded to a report of shots fired in the area of Winchester Avenue and Bassett Street.

When they arrived, they found a victim with a "superficial" forehead gunshot wound, which they described as no more than a severe bump on the head.

The teenager was transported to an area hospital.

There was no additional information available on the victim due to his age.

New Haven police are investigating the shooting incident and no witnesses have come forward at this time.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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