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Sikorsky Cutting 1,400 Jobs, Closing Bridgeport Site


Sikorsky announced Tuesday that it will eliminating 1,400 jobs globally in its production workforce over the next year, including in Connecticut, where it will be closing its Bridgeport location.

About 180 of the 8,000 people Sikorsky currently employs in Connecticut will be impacted, he said. Workers at the Bridgeport location aren't losing their jobs and are being offered positions at the Stratford facility.

Sikorsky informed its employees of the news on Tuesday, stating that the workforce reductions will include "a mix of employees and contractors," according to Sikorsky spokesperson Paul Jackson.

"These actions affect Sikorsky’s facilities in Poland, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and will take place over the next twelve months starting immediately," Jackson said. "As part of this activity, the company will vacate smaller satellite facilities and consolidate remaining production volume into larger campuses in Poland, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut to include exiting its current facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and relocating employees to the Stratford, Connecticut facility. It is important to note that none of these announced layoffs are a result of the facility consolidation."

The layoffs come as the company says there are "sustained decreases in oil prices" that are causing "significant declines in capital investments by oil companies in offshore oil exploration projects impacting Sikorsky and resulting in reduced production levels," Jackson said. Also, there has been less of a demand for "certain international military products" at Sikorsky, he said.

Bridgeport employees manufacture parts for helicopters and will be transferred to the Stratford location.

“It’s a significant change. Sikorsky has been a part of the South End of Bridgeport for 60, 70 years," Paul Timpanelli, president and CEO of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council, said. “We frankly we’re not surprised. We’ve sort of suspected this for a while. We know the changes the company is going through, consolidation the company is going through.”

This is one of several consolidations the company announced.

The company said in a statement that it "will work closely with the impacted employees to ease the transition, and with all our employees, customers and suppliers to ensure continued delivery on all our business commitments."

As for Bridgeport, business leaders and the mayor are confident the facility can be filled quickly with another manufacturing business as part of the development of the city's Eco-Technology Park.

"One of the things this provides us is an opportunity that we currently don’t have which is clean, available, usable, ready to use factory space," Timpanelli said.

Bridgeport city officials and the business council are holding a meeting Wednesday night to brainstorm ways to attract new business to the city. Sikorsky still owns the building and will continue to pay taxes on it, according to the mayor's office.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

"Suspicious": 2 Kids Dead in Gas Leak: Police


Police found a 5-year-old boy and 7-year-old girl dead in an East Haven home during an active natural gas leak Tuesday afternoon that also sent their mother and three responding officers to the hospital. Police are investigating the childrens' deaths as "suspicious."

East Haven police and firefighters responded to a medical emergency at 541 Strong Street in East Haven at 2:41 p.m. Tuesday and found a 36-year-old mother despondent with apparent injuries. Upon further investigation, they discovered the gas was on in the home and found two children dead when they went inside to search for other occupants.

While the responding officers didn't report seeing any trauma on the kids' bodies and said that the position of the bodies didn't reveal anything suspicious, police are still currently classifying the deaths as "supicious," East Haven Police Chief Brent Larrabee said. Police didn't elaborate on why but said it will be up to the medical examiner to determine the causes of death.

Three responding officers exposed to the gas were treated by East Haven firefighters on scene and then transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. At least two of them have been released from the hospital. The mother was also taken there to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, including gas inhalation and injuries on her arms, police said. Police didn't elaborate on her arm injuries or say how they got there.

No one else was found in the home.

Police said it's unknown whether the gas was in the air because of a breakage or whether someone turned it on, but Larrabee said, "I would say from observation it was probably turned on."

Investigators haven't interviewed the mother yet because she's still being treated at the hospital. She was conscious when she left the scene, but was dazed and traumatized and had difficulty responding, police said.

The identities of the mother, children and three police officers will not be released until their families are notified. The father was on scene and was "devastated," police said.

"Our condolences go out to the family, friends and relatives of this family. It's a sad time for our town and our community," East Haven Mayor Joe Maturo said at a press conference Tuesday evening.

Neighbor Carolyn Parillo expressed devastation about two children who died at the home just across the street from hers and said that "we've seen those kids playing." She doesn't know what she can say to her neighbor that will help, but said that she is "just very sorry for their loss."

“It’s going to be on our minds for a very long time I’m sure," Parillo said.

Next door neighbor Lisa Criscuolo said that her family has been living on the street for 23 years and that they've "never seen anything like this." She said that she's seen the mother out in the yard as the children played and said "today is definitely a tragedy day for our town and four our street."

“It’s definitely going to be something that I’ll always remember," Criscuolo said. "I wish I didn’t have it embedded in my head but I will.”

Strong and View streets are shut down in East Haven due to the police investigation and the area is cordoned off with yellow tape as police investigate at the home.

State police major crimes detectives, the New Haven state's attorney's office and office of the chief medical examiner are assisting with the investigation.

It's too soon to tell whether the children had any traumatic injuries, but responding police officers did not notice any.

The police officers are doing okay, but seeing the two deceased children was difficult, so they will be provided with counseling as needed, Larrabee said.

The East Haven school system has also been notified in case any children in the area need support, Maturo said.

Police ask anyone with information to contact the East Haven Police Detective Division at 203-468-3827.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Woman Swindled Out of Savings


A man is on the run after he allegedly swindled a 92-year-old woman out of her life savings and an apartment building she owned after she helped raise him and put him through college, police said Tuesday.

Carlson A. Jackson, 58, allegedly got Mable Miles to sell an eight-unit apartment building — appraised for $850,000 to $1 million — to his company, CAJ Properties, LLC, for $250,000, police said.

Miles was best friends with Jackson's mother in Detroit. She had a hand in raising Jackson and helped put him through college, Miles and police said. Her entire life savings was in the building, a place she's lived in and owned for 40 years.

"There’s a special place in the netherworld for someone like this," LAPD Detective Carmine Sasso said.

The building was free of any mortgage debt and was Miles' only source of income.

"The way he took her property and then put the money in the bank and somehow transferred it out, she was left literally broke," niece Carol White said.

Jackson allegedly opened a joint bank account with his name and Miles' name and transferred the money for the building, located in the 1900 block of Palm Grove, to the account, police said.

Rental checks for the apartments were rerouted to a P.O. Box in Los Angeles, where Jackson has allegedly been collecting them, police said.

Miles told police she doesn’t remember signing anything but does remember the notary and loan officer coming to her home.

Police said Jackson lived on her couch and kept her secluded from everyone, including her family.

"I hope they catch you, and put you on into jail," Miles said of her message to Jackson.

Anyone with information to Jackson’s whereabouts should immediately call LAPD Wilshire Area Detective Veda Young at 213-922-8257. During nonbusiness hours or on weekends, call 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247).

To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or text to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S), with all text messages beginning with the letters “LAPD.”

Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

Photo Credit: Ernesto Torres/LAPD

3 Die in Pa. Bus, Big Rig Wreck


Three people, including a bus driver, died and at least 13 were hurt in a head-on crash between a bus carrying Italian tourists and a tractor-trailer in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountain region Wednesday morning that left part of the big rig sheared in half and a "chaotic" scene of screaming passengers.

Wednesday night police identified the bus driver who was killed in the accident as 54-year-old Alfredo Telemaco of New York, NY.

Telemaco was driving a 2013 Mercedes Benz Commercial Passenger Bus with the Academy Express company in the northbound lanes of Interstate 380 at mile post 4.4 in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.

At the same time Franklin Wyatt, 55, of Macomb, Oklahoma, was driving a 2007 Freightliner, Greatwide Dedicated transport tractor trailer south on I-380. Finally, Virginal Dockery, 35, of Augusta, Georgia, was driving a 2015 Freightliner, Swift Transportation Co. tractor trailer in the northbound lanes.

As he was driving, Wyatt suddenly entered the northbound lanes of I-380 and struck Dockery's vehicle, according to investigators. The impact caused Wyatt's tractor trailer to then strike Telemaco's bus in a head-on collision.

"I heard a big crash," said Johnny Walsh, who lives right behind the highway. "All of a sudden people were screaming."

"It split the trailer right in half," Walsh said.

The bus, which left New York City at 7:30 a.m. bound for Niagra Falls, came to rest in the middle of the split trailer owned by logistics company Xtra. The truck's cab was a good distance away on its side at the edge of a wooded area.

Telemaco as well as two passengers on the bus who have not yet been identified were pronounced dead at the scene. Telemaco had more than a decade of bus driving experience, according to an Academy Express spokesperson.

"People started jumping out of their cars, going to the bus (to help)," said Walsh.

Officials said many of the injured "were reported to be unconscious."

"One lady in particular was just gushing blood from her head, cut up everywhere, saying 'Help get me out,'" said witness Alex Duffield. "It was chaotic. It was a mess."

The 13 survivors on the bus were all taken to various hospitals, some being flown by helicopter. County dispatchers said the wreck left some people trapped on the bus.

Monroe County Coroner Robert Allen said all the passengers on the bus — Viaggidea was painted on the side — were Italian Nationals. The website for Viaggidea says its an Italian tour company. Academy Bus owns the vehicle, which was leased to Viaggidea.

The wreck left the both lanes of I-380 closed as emergency crews responded. Operations at nearby Mount Pocono Regional Airport were also put on hold so that medevacs could fly in and out, said airport manager Jack Asure.

Around 2 p.m., traffic began moving southbound as the investigation continued northbound. All lanes on I-380 were reopened Wednesday night.

The stretch of I-380 near Tobyhanna where Wednesday' deadly crash is near where a truck struck singer Gloria Estefan's tour bus more than 25 years ago. The wreck left the singer, her husband and their son hurt.

Reports Say Hilary Clinton Will Hold Fundraiser in CT


Hilary Clinton expected to hold fundraiser in Connecticut.

Man Dumps Chocolate to Deter Dogs


A man in San Diego’s North Park community has dumped chocolate chips in his yard in an effort to deter dogs, but the act is upsetting neighbors.

Frustrated with neighborhood dogs leaving waste on his lawn and dog owners not picking up after their pets, a man known as "John" recently scattered several pounds of chocolate chips in the grass in front of his home on Lincoln Avenue and in a nearby easement.

John said it was an experiment – and that it worked. Over the last several days pet owners have been steering clear of his property, with some neighbors afraid the candy will make their animals sick.

Some concerned residents have called San Diego County Animal Control and the San Diego Police Department to complain, saying this is threatening the lives of their pets.

Sarah Fisher is one of those worried residents, and she’s warning others in North Park not to walk near John’s home.

“[Residents] are scared of what he might do,” Fisher told NBC 7. “If he is doing this – which is like an animal genocide – pretty much, he's putting it out for animals to ingest and get sick.”

Through social media and a neighborhood phone app, Fisher has been alerting local pet owners of the chocolate chips left in John's yard.

Fisher has a two-year-old golden doodle named Lucy that she walks with regularly. She is now avoiding John’s property but fears unsuspecting animals will stumble upon the candy and get sick.

John agreed to an interview Tuesday with NBC 7, if his face wasn’t shown on camera. He said irresponsible dog owners are constantly not picking up after their pets and leaving piles of waste in his yard.

He said he has left signs in front of his home – including a note written on a yoga mat that suggests an animal could be electrocuted if it urinates on his tires.

However, those signs don’t seem to work, John said, so he came up with the chocolate chips idea.

“They can walk on the other side of the street,” he said. “I am tired of it. People disrespect my yard; I'm tired of the stuff.

John insists chocolate won't harm the animals. Still, there is a large school of thought that says it can be toxic to dogs and can lead to illness and even death, depending on what kind of chocolate it is and how much a dog ingests.

John said he plans to mow the grass in the next few days to get rid of the remaining chocolate morsels. However, his neighbors want something done about the situation immediately.

San Diego County Animal Control Deputy Director Dan DeSousa said animal services investigators were notified of this incident by North Park residents on Monday.

He said the investigation is ongoing, and no further details would be released at this time.

On Wednesday John said someone had broken the mirror on his car in what he believes is retaliation against him putting the chocolate chips in his yard.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

Hamden Firefighters Use Ingenuity to Rescue Trapped Bird


Hamden firefighters came to the rescue of a robin trapped in balloon string on Wednesday morning by showing some creativity and ingenuity.

Someone walked into the police station at 71 Circular Avenue at 11:17 a.m. to report a robin was entangled in balloon string, appeared to be in distress and had been trapped in the upper branches of a tree for more than a day, so Lt. Rob Madigosky sent his crew to Gorham Avenue to investigate.

There, they found the bird, hanging upside down and caught in the string.

When firefighters could not get to the bird by ladder, they put together a device using pike poles, which are normally used to pull down ceilings in a fire, and taped them to pruning shears, which allowed them to lower the bird and free it from the string.

After resting for a few minutes, the bird flew away and crews left the scene at 11:34 a.m.

Photo Credit: Hamden Fire Department

Sandberg Pens Tribute to Husband


Facebook COO and "Lean In" author Sheryl Sandberg penned a loving Facebook tribute Wednesday to her late husband, Silicon Valley entrepreneur David Goldberg, 30 days after he died after collapsing on a treadmill at a Mexican resort.

She began her post with a reference to their Jewish faith, and the fact that the sheloshim period, or monthlong bereavement, completes the “religious mourning for a spouse.”

"I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser," she wrote.

In two hours, the post had garnered nearly 60,000 likes, including ones from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his sister Randi Zuckerberg, and more than 17,000 shares.

Religion was important to Goldberg. The day he was buried, Sandberg had posted that it was her husband of 11 years who took her to temple for the Jewish holidays.

In her tribute Wednesday, Sandberg described spending moments “lost in the void” over the last 30 days and wrote that “many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well.” But she hopes it won’t always be that way.

Sandberg described how parents at school and co-workers have been trying to do and say the right thing, but many have avoided her eyes because they simply don’t know the proper protocol. To those who feel awkward, she said, she appreciates real, honest questions about her loss.

What really inspires her, Sandberg wrote, has been hearing stories like a colleague’s wife going back to school to get her degree to show her support. “Yes!” Sandberg wrote.

Sandberg wrote that she has come to some realizations, both philosophical and practical, in the month since her husband's death.

She said she has a “more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother," and she realizes “moving to the side of the road for ambulances is extremely important." She also realizes that saying it’s going to be OK is not the right thing to say when someone is grieving.

“Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not,” she wrote.

Here is the post in full:

Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.


A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.


I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well.


But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.


And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy.


I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.


I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.


I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not. When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth. Even a simple “How are you?”—almost always asked with the best of intentions—is better replaced with “How are you today?” When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.


I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.


I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last thirty days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.


I have learned to ask for help—and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children.


I have learned that resilience can be learned. Adam M. Grant taught me that three things are critical to resilience and that I can work on all three. Personalization—realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault. Permanence—remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better. Pervasiveness—this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy.


For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why—they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say? I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be. I told those I work with most closely that they could ask me their honest questions and I would answer. I also said it was okay for them to talk about how they felt. One colleague admitted she’d been driving by my house frequently, not sure if she should come in. Another said he was paralyzed when I was around, worried he might say the wrong thing. Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing. One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, “It’s the elephant.” Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.


At the same time, there are moments when I can’t let people in. I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind—tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood.


I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before—like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before.


I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men—from those I know well to those I will likely never know—are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families.


I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.


I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”


Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave. — with Dave Goldberg.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/FILE
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Splendid Weather Today


After days of gloom, and much-needed rain, the weather has turned nearly perfect!

Today will be downright gorgeous, with temperatures in the 70s inland and tons of sunshine.

Dew points will be in the 40s and 50s, meaning there won’t be any humidity whatsoever! It’s this time of year when oppressive heat and humidity can sneak in, but it remains absent from the forecast.

A high-pressure system moves off to the southeast of southern New England on Thursday and Friday, and that means a return flow from the south or southwest. Both days will be mostly cloudy with the chance for a shower and some sun. The better chance for showers appears to be Friday.

A cold front comes through early on Saturday, but the shower chance has been removed from the forecast! It should be gorgeous, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.

A big high-pressure system will build in to close the weekend on Sunday, providing sunshine and temperatures in the 70s. A few top-10 days could certainly be in the cards!

The pattern turns a bit unsettled early next week, with the chance for p.m. showers and storms on both Monday and Tuesday. The humidity also ramps up a bit, but no oppressive humidity is in sight.
Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on-air, online and on the app.

First Alert Forecast

  • Today: Abundant sunshine, gorgeous! 70s inland, 60s shore.
  • Tonight: Increasing clouds. Lows near 50.
  • Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy, some sun. Slight chance for a shower. 70s inland, 60s shore.
  • Friday: Mostly cloudy, some sun. Better chance for a shower. 70s inland, 60s shore.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Coaster Dad Launching Nonprofit


An Orinda father who is the Bay Area’ s self-described “Roller Coaster Dad” has launched an online fundraising campaign to create a nonprofit center dedicated to 3D printing, robots, YouTube videos and of course, roller coasters.

Will Pemble is hoping his fundraising efforts, which he kicked off Tuesday, will garner anywhere between $15,000 to $35,000 to buy power tools, a slow motion camera, laser cutters, 3D printers and more. As of Wednesday, his Indiegogo site had raised almost $3,000.

He’d also like to use that money to renovate and rent a 4,300-square-foot warehouse in Concord, hopefully by the end of August, to put up a sign introducing the "CoasterDad MakerSpace."

Pay-as-you-go classes will be offered along with a $50-a-month membership to use the space to create math and science projects. The center will be nonprofit, and Pemble has vowed to visit underserved schools to offer his skills and instructions free to interested classrooms. Scholarships for those in need will also be granted, he said.

Pemble made headlines in May 2014 after he created a roller coaster for his kids in his backyard. He was inspired by his son, Lyle, who asked: "Wouldn't it be cool if we had a roller coaster in our backyard?"

Pemble said he now wants other kids to be able to have that cool experience, too.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Will Pemble
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Meeting on Bristol Development Plan Tonight


Chad Konopka hopes his 2-year-old son will see something built where the Bristol Centre mall used to be. In fact, he hopes he'll see it himself. Tonight, residents will have a chance to tell the planning commission what they think during a public meeting.

"We don't have enough jobs in Bristol, let alone the community," he said, as he pushed his son's stroller toward the site along North Main Street. "You know, the community's gone down a long time and it'd be nice for a turnaround."

Maybe a Renaissance. That's the name of the company Bristol officials brought in five years ago to end downtown's dark age, but the city council this week decided not to support Renaissance's latest effort.

Dale McCoon said he bought a home in Bristol because Renaissance had such bright plans.

"Company comes in, proposes something, takes five-plus years to get there, underperforms and then comes back with nothing," he said.
Things retail have been happening along Route 6 in Bristol, and the city planning commission is considering limiting new retail uses along dynamic Route 6 in favor of retail downtown.

Downtown diehards are all for such a limit.

"As a kid, this was the center of everything and Route 6 was built up and I'd love to see it come here," said Kathy Wilson. "It's better for me."

The planning commission's meeting to hear public comment on those policies begins tonight at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

See the full plan here. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

82-Year-Old Assaulted in Litchfield County


Police are investigating the assault of an 82-year-old person in Litchfield County.

Little information was immediately available, but dispatchers said the victim was assaulted on Wednesday afternoon and brought to the Sharon Health Center this afternoon.

State Police are also responding.

DC Murders: Phone Records Searched


Authorities investigating a brutal quadruple murder at a D.C. mansion last month are reviewing the cellphone records of a victim's assistant, a man who at one point lied to police about details involving the delivery of a package containing $40,000 cash on the day of the killings.

Investigators requested a search warrant for the cellphone records of Jordan Wallace, an employee of victim Savvas Savopoulos. Authorities want to determine where Wallace was and with whom he spoke and texted in the days surrounding the slayings. Wallace has allowed police to see his phone and view his text messages.

The bodies of Savvas and Amy Savopoulos and their 10-year-old son, Philip, were found in their burning home in an upscale D.C. neighborhood May 14. Their housekeeper, Veralicia "Vera" Figueroa, was also murdered.

One suspect, Daron Dylon Wint, has been arrested in the slayings, but investigators say they have reason to believe that more than one person was involved in carrying out the crime.

Savvas and Amy Savopolous' cellphones, as well as their housekeeper's cellphone, have been missing since the crime, according to other search warrants obtained by News4 on Wednesday. Police are seeking the phones, believing that call detail records and cell tower locations could lead authorities to the person who took the phones.

In addition to the cellphones, the data recorder for the home's surveillance cameras also was taken from the house.

News4 also learned Wednesday that a set of French doors at the family's home was apparently kicked in, leading authorities to believe that the killer or killers used forced entry to gain access.

A bootprint found on the door was not consistent with the boots worn by D.C. firefighters, authorities said, and firefighters did not enter the home through that door, according to preliminary interviews.

Police believe the victims were kept bound and threatened overnight before they were killed and the multimillion-dollar home was set on fire.

The day of the murders, a delivery of $40,000 cash was dropped off outside the house. The cash was withdrawn from an account at American Iron Works, where Savvas Savopoulos served as CEO and where Wint once worked.

Wallace, called W-1 in previous police documents, initially told police that he received a text from Savvas Savopoulos the morning of May 14, instructing him to meet another employee that morning to pick up a package.

Later, when confronted by police, he said he received the request the evening of May 13.

Prosecutors say Wallace also lied about how he picked up and dropped off the money, telling police he was given an envelope with $40,000 in it and put that in a locked car. In fact, he was given four bundles of cash, and the car was unlocked. Wallace also took a picture of the cash and texted it to an unidentified witness, according to police.

Authorities are receiving Wallace's phone records.

Other search warrants filed in the case involve the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze in which Wint was a passenger just before his arrest, as well as a Ford box truck driven by companions of Wint and containing alleged evidence. A court document said U.S. marshals saw "a large stack" of what appeared to be $100 bills in the truck.

Investigators are searching both vehicles for money, money wrappers, cellphones and call logs, any bloody clothing or shoes, anything with an odor of gasoline, gloves, duct tape, forensic evidence and more.

New Milford High School Dismissed Early Over Possible Threat


New Milford High School dismissed students at 1 p.m. on Wednesday because of a possible threat.

All after school activities and adult education were also canceled, according to a Tweet from the New Milford superintendent’s Twitter account

New Milford Police and state police are investigating.

The boys state lacrosse playoff game was also moved to Brookfield High School and will start at 4:30 p.m.

New London Mayor Vetoes Proposed 2015-16 Budget


New London's mayor has vetoed the proposed $43,919,19 budget for next year that the City Council approved last Wednesday, arguing that it does not provide enough funding and that it will cause the city to go into a deficit.

New London Mayor Daryl Justin Finizio's office said Wednesday that the proposed fiscal year 2015-2016 budget "would reverse the financial gains the City has made over the past few years, including balancing the budget, maintaining the City's bond rating, and increasing the City's financial reserves."

He expressed concerns that the budget the City Council adopted set the city up for a deficit in the next fiscal year, threaten the city's bond rating and require staffing and service cuts midway through the year to overcome any possible shortfall, calling it "disastrous for the City."

New London Director of Finance Jeff Smith also took issue with the proposed budget, writing to the mayor it is "underfunded by approximately $1.0 million of which $725,000 are expenditures" that are mandatory. He said he is worried about having enough money to pay the city bills and also raised concerns about a possibly detrimental effect on the city's bond rating.

“Going back to the deficits of our past would erase all of this progress and could hinder our City’s ability to provide basic services, meet payroll and maintain our bond rating, thereby potentially jeopardizing the City’s ability to bond the significant sums necessary to convert our school district into the first all magnet regional school district in our State,” Finizio said in a notice announcing his decision to veto the budget.

The city's charter gives the mayor the authority to veto the budget ordinance by filing documentation to the city clerk, which he did on June 3.

Despite "several painful years of service cuts and significant staffing reductions," Finizio said in his budget message that the city has managed to balance its budget over the past couple years and that he expects to balance it this year as well.

"Our fund balance is growing, our bond rating has held, and our cash flows have been turned from a negative to a positive," Finizio said in his message.

Finizio is calling on the City Council to "pass a responsible budget that satisfies our mandates, avoids layoffs, and preserves our City's financial stability."

Click here to see Finizio's full budget veto message, Smith's letter about the budget and the proposed budget figures.

Atty Investigates Couple's Ordeal


A California woman who survived for two weeks after she and her husband got lost on Mother’s Day has hired a high-profile attorney for a number of legal issues and questions, the attorney said Tuesday.

Dianna Bedwell, 67, is undergoing rehabilitation for injuries she sustained when the car she was riding in went off the road near Warner Springs, northeast of San Diego.

She’s also planning funeral arrangements for her husband, Cecil "Paul" Knutson, 79, whose body was found near the vehicle.

Police from the Los Coyotes Reservation said it appeared the couple survived on rainwater and pies during the two weeks they were stranded off the road.

Los Angeles-based attorney Gloria Allred said Bedwell was in the Palm Springs area while she recovers from the ordeal.

When asked why she was hired, Allred said she was contacted by a family member.

"There's quite a bit that needs to be investigated," Allred told KMIR-TV without offering specifics. 

"One day the facts will be known," she said. 

The Fullerton, California, residents were last seen leaving Valley View Casino May 10 in their white 2014 Hyundai Sonata.

For several days, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department along with volunteers and family members scoured the roads and desert area between Valley Center and La Quinta.

Knutson and Bedwell were expected to arrive for a family dinner at their son’s home in La Quinta. When they didn’t arrive, family members called local law enforcement.

On May 24, the couple's car was found by a man four wheeling in a remote and rocky area near Warner Springs along State Route 79, approximately 47 miles from the casino.

Knutson survived for part of the time the couple was in the remote desert area but Allred wouldn’t go into specifics.

“The truth is something she’ll share when it’s time for her, when she’s ready to speak,” Allred said referring to her client. “I’m hoping one day everyone will know what a hero she is.”

Photo Credit: Family photo
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Police Investigating Bridgeport Shooting


Police are investigating a Wednesday afternoon shooting on Taft Avenue in Bridgeport.

The victim, a male, was shot in the arm and does not have life-threatening injuries, according to police.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Halogen Light Sparked Fire That Killed Woman, 78


Investigators have ruled an April condo fire that killed a 78-year-old Ridgefield woman as accidental, according to the fire marshal's office.

Sandra Reyes was trapped in the top floor of her two-story condo at 15 Cook Close, part of Casagmo Condominiums, when an "energized electrical appliance" sparked a fire on the afternoon of Thursday, April 23. A hologen light was clipped to a wooden table resting against her upholstered sofa in her first floor bedroom, not far from her bed, at the time. Both the couch and bed had bedding material and clothes on them.

Her two sons tried to rescue her before emergency crews arrived.

Reyes and her son 55-year-old, Joseph Reyes, were taken to Danbury Hospital to be treated for injuries, then transferred to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit, but Reyes died the following Monday morning. The fire was ruled her cause of death.

Joseph Reyes's condition is unknown at this time.

Ridgefield's fire marshal's office and the state's Department of Emergency Services Fire and Explosive Investigation Unit investigated.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Allergy Concerns Prompt Flower Ban at 8th Grade Dance


Students heading to an eighth-grade dance at one Connecticut middle school on Friday night will have to leave the corsages and boutonnieres at home.

Flowers will not allowed in the Shelton Intermediate School Cotillion because of fears that they may trigger allergy attacks, school administrators said Wednesday.

"Due to medical concerns associated with servere allergies to certain flowers, students with flowers will not be permitted into the school," Shelton Intermediate School Headmaster Kenneth D. Saranich said in a statement to the school community. "The exchanging of flowers for the cotillion is not a function of the cotillion, nor endorsed by the school.

"For all students to have a safe and enjoyable evening we require that everyone involved comply with this request."

The cotillion is the eighth-grade dance, according to articles in the school newspaper.

The flower ban isn't the school district's first formal dance crackdown: Shelton High School was in the national spotlight earlier this month when, days before its prom, school headmaster Dr. Beth Smith announced over the intercom that backless dresses and those with slits or cutouts wouldn't be allowed at prom.

That prompted students and parents to complain because some girls would not be able to wear the dresses they had already purchased.

Superintendant Freeman Burr responded, saying the student handbook, which all students receive at the beginning of the school year, outlined the guidelines for appropriate dress.

A committee made up of seven female staff members reviewed more than 150 prom dresses and utimately determined that six were inappropriate.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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North Stonington Man Killed in Ledyard Crash


A 37-year-old North Stonington man was killed in a crash in Ledyard early Wednesday morning. 

Police said Norman L. Carr, 37, of North Stonington, was alone in a 2001 Chevy Monte Carlo when he lost control of the vehicle near 220 Lambtown Road around 4:30 a.m., went off the road and hit a tree.

The road was closed between Colonel Ledyard Highway and Pumpkin Hill for several hours.

Police are investigating.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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