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UConn Runs Away From Notre Dame, 83-65


Geno Auriemma was right. It took a few months for everything to fall into place for freshman Breanna Stewart, but she really could be "as good as any recruit we've ever had at UConn." Never was that more obvious than Sunday night when she put the Huskies on her back on the way to a 83-65 win over Notre Dame.

By the time it was over, Stewart had 29 points, five rebounds and four blocks. To put that in perspective, not only was it a career high, the freshman from Syracuse outscored the Fighting Irish's two All-Americans, Kayla McBride (16 points) and Skylar Diggins (10 points).

So how did Stewart, whose season got off to searing start before a rough patch in the middle of the schedule left her struggling with her confidence, regain the form that made her the nation's best high school player a year ago?

"Coaching," Auriemma said laughing after the game.

Then he got serious. "You know, every player, especially young players, deal with things differently, the coach told ESPN's Rebecca Lobo, who knows something about playing for Auriemma.

"Stewie probably puts as much pressure on herself as any kid I've ever coached," he continued. "And when she wasn't playing well, she really took it hard, and couldn't let go of it. And then, I think when the (regular) season ended, it just kind of let the air out of the balloon and she said 'Now I just want to play basketball.' My gosh, she was amazing tonight."

The victory puts UConn back in the finals where they'll face Louisville for a chance at national title No. 8, but to get to that point that had to beat a Notre Dame team that had owned them recently. The Irish won all three matchups this season, and seven of the last eight. More than that, they were riding a 30-game winning streak and unlike most teams, weren't in awe of what the Huskies represented. Which meant that Auriemma's bunch had to outplay the Irish, which is exactly what happened.

"Once you get (go the Final Four), you're only going to beat great teams," Auriemma said. "And the reason Notre Dame's beaten us seven out of the last eight times is because they're really, really good.

"They're a great team -- because I know how good we are -- and for them to do what they did to us the last seven times, that says a lot about them," he continued. "But for one night -- and that's what's great about the NCAA Tournament -- for just this night, we just needed to be better than them. And we were."

It's an old sports cliche but it's certainly fitting here: It's not where you start, it's where you finish. And for the Huskies and Stewart, that certainly holds true. Next up: Louisville.

Photo Credit: AP

Car Hits Building in East Haven


Three people were taken to hospital for minor injuries and a dancing school is cleaning up after a car struck a building on East Main Street in East Haven on Monday morning. 

Four vehicles were involved in a crash that led police to close the intersection of Route 1 and Main Street in East Haven. One car sustained only minor damage. None of the injuries s

A pickup hit a building that houses a hair salon on the top floor and a dance studio on the bottom floor.

The building is repairable, officials said, and the investigation is ongoing.

This photo shows debris inside Happy Feet, which is located in East Haven.  


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Rubio, Congressmen Question Beyonce, Jay-Z's Cuba Trip


Beyonce and Jay-Z's trip to Cuba for their fifth wedding anniversary has a trio of GOP lawmakers asking questions of the White House.

Reuters reported that the pop music power couple had traveled to Cuba on a "cultural exchange" license from the Treasury — the only way Americans can legally travel there, in light of a 51-year-old trade embargo between the two countries.

During Monday's White House briefing, a spokesman declined to address the questions about the couple's trip, however. "That's not a White House matter, that's a Treasury matter, and I would refer you to Treasury," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

Sources in Cuba told NBC News, however, that during their four-day visit, the two stars had met with a number of Cuban artists and music producers and had visited a fine arts college, children's theater company and modern dance company there.

After photos of Beyonce and Jay-Z in Havana first surfaced, showing them posing with locals and Jay-Z holding a cigar, Sen. Marco Rubio and two Florida congressmen began questioning whether the pair were educating themselves.

"According to recent news reports, Jay-Z and Beyonce's Cuba trip, which the regime seized on for propaganda purposes, was fully licensed by the Treasury Department. If true, the Obama administration should explain exactly how trips like these comply with U.S. law and regulations governing travel to Cuba," Rubio's office said in a statement Monday.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, who both represent large Cuban-American populations within their Florida districts, had earlier sent a letter to the Treasury, requesting information on the license the couple received to make the trip and who approved it.

"Cuba’s tourism industry is wholly state-controlled; therefore, U.S. dollars spent on Cuban tourism directly fund the machinery of oppression that brutally represses the Cuban people," Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart said in the letter.

"Despite the clear prohibition against tourism in Cuba, numerous press reports described the couple’s trip as tourism, and the Castro regime touted it as such in its propaganda."

If the couple did not have a license to take the trip, they could face a fine. A spokeswoman at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana told the UK Independent that she did not know if one had been obtained.

Photo Credit: AP

Westboro to Protest Roger Ebert's Funeral


Members of the Westboro Baptist Church said Monday they plan to protest film critic Roger Ebert's funeral in Chicago.

The Kansas-based group released a statement published by the Hollywood Reporter saying they will picket "in lawful proximity" to the funeral at Holy Name Cathedral. Ebert passed away last week at the age of 70 after a decade-long battle with cancer.

Why the protest? 

The church said in the statement Ebert used his Twitter account "to mock the faithful servants of God at Westboro Baptist Church," according to the Hollywood Reporter. The group also called Ebert a "f-g enabler" and "entertainment industry publicity leech."

Newser points out Ebert called the group “odious" in a past tweet and at one point tweeted a link to a Salon story featuring an excerpt from the book "Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America" in which the author spent a day at Westboro.

Ebert's funeral begins at 10 a.m. Hundreds are expected to mourn the influential critic whose work won him a Pulitzer Prize.


Photo Credit: AP

Police Dog Dies During Training


A New Canaan police dog died on Sunday afternoon when he choked on a training ball during training. 

Rocky joined the department in November, according to the New Canaan Advertiser.

Police said Officer Michael McFadden tried to dislodge the ball, but he could not and Rocky died.

“We are all mourning the loss of an exceptional police dog,” police said in a statement.

McFadden told the NC Advertiser in November that the department looked at 12 German Shepherds before choosing 3-year-old Rocky to succeed Zira, who was retired after suffering a spinal condition.


Photo Credit: Cristina Commendatore/New Canaan Advertiser

Politicians, Fans Remember Margaret Thatcher


Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's death Monday at the age of 87 triggered a wave of remembrances, from Hollywood to Capitol Hill, that paid homage to the powerful political figure.

Social media buzzed with the sort of polarizing sentiment she evoked during her more than decade-long tenure marked by sweeping, and sometimes painful economic changes. But she was also remembered as a pioneering figure that helped paved the way for other female leaders across the world.

Actress Meryl Streep, who won a Golden Globe and an Oscar for her portrayal of Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," called her "a figure of awe for her personal strength and grit" and marveled at her ability to withstand, what she called, unprecedented and "special hatred and ridicule."

Nancy Reagan called her late husband and Thatcher "political soul mates, committed to freedom and resolved to end communism."

Spice Girl Geri Halliwell tweeted that the former Prime Minister taught her that "any thing is possible," while politicians she worked with and those who succeeded her shared their impressions about the strong-willed woman from humble beginnings.

Photo Credit: AP

Friends, Family Remember Roger Ebert at Funeral


Legendary film critic Roger Ebert was remembered in a Chicago funeral service Monday that included several touching speeches from his friends and family.

Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and television personality who made famous the thumbs-up, thumbs-down reviewing style, died last week at 70 after a years-long battle with cancer.

"Roger was able to bring the spirit of American film alive," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during the service, which began at 10 a.m. at Holy Name Cathedral and was open to friends and fans. "Whether or not we knew Roger, we knew he loved Chicago and Chicago loved Roger."

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Ebert "had a servant's heart."

"We thank God for his purposeful life," Quinn said, ending his speech with "thumbs up!"

Activist Jonathan Jackson said Ebert "respected the imagination of people," calling him "a soldier with a pen" because of how he respected the African-American community. Jackson read a comment from Spike Lee, who called Ebert "a champion of my work and other black filmmakers."

Ebert's wife, Chaz Hammelsmith, said she almost didn't speak but knew Ebert would want to thank everyone for coming. "He had a heart big enough to accept and love all," she said.

Ebert's death came two days after he marked his 46th anniversary of becoming the Chicago Sun-Times' movie reviewer with a note on his website in which he said he would have to scale back his work as a result of his battle with cancer.

Millions of fans devoured his newspaper reviews, watched his groundbreaking television show and followed his blog. To many of those fans, he'll be the guy who shared their love of movies and helped them understand how they could enrich their lives.

For years, millions had watched Ebert walk into the Chicago Theatre every week, thumb ready for his latest review.

"He had a great generosity of spirit. He was generous in size, generous in style, and he had a generous heart," said Thea Flaum, the producer who first paired Ebert and Gene Siskel. "He was kind and thoughtful, he was always eager to look at the work of young new filmmakers and support what they were doing."

Siskel and Ebert's show became the highest-rated show in public television, and as they say in the movies, a star was born. Ebert quickly became a household name and many were rooting for him as he battled cancer.

The battle may be over, but Chicagoans will never forget.

"I want to pay my respects to a man I never met but feel I've known a long time," mourner Edward Cooper said before Ebert's funeral.

In lieu of flowers, mourners who wish to show support are asked to send donations to The Ebert Foundation, a nonprofit that supports arts and education programs.

A memorial tribute is also planned for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Theatre.


Motorcyclist Injured Trying to Avoid Deer in Vernon


A motorcyclist sustained a serious head injury after crashing while trying to avoid a deer on Monday morning.

Lifestar medical helicopter has been requested and Rt. 83/Hartford Turnpike is closed at Route 30/Talcottville Road, a major intersection in Vernon.

Hartford Turnpike is also closed by Main Street.

Lifestar will be landing at the Connecticut Golf Land parking lot, officials said.

Photo Credit: Submitted

The Time is Right for a Fab Five Reunion


When Michigan's basketball team advanced to the title game by beating Syracuse in Atlanta on Saturday night, there wasn't much doubt that we'd be hearing about the Fab Five during the run up to the game. 

We should do one better: We should see them. With a new group of young Michigan basketball players vying for a national title, now is the time for the Fab Five to reunie.

The last time Michigan played in the final college basketball game of the year they were led by the five brash, young sophomores, making their second straight appearance in the title game: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King. A year earlier, the all-freshmen lineup earned the nickname Fab Five.

The Fab Five lost in the finals to Duke in 1992 and then lost again to North Carolina in 1993. But those losses couldn't change the fact that the Fab Five had a monumental impact on college basketball. 

Baggy uniforms and groups of freshmen playing outsize roles on title contenders were rare before the Fab Five, but they've become such an ingrained part of the game that it is hard to remember a time before they were taken for granted.

With time to kill before the game against Louisville starts on Monday night, it seemed like the perfect moment for the CBS cameras to find the erstwhile Fab Five as they root on the freshman stars that have helped propel this year's team. 

Alas, things aren't always so rosy. Webber, the most Fab of the Five, has had nothing to do with Michigan for a decade as a result of sanctions handed down after Webber was found to have lied about receiving improper benefits while he was in Ann Arbor. 

The Final Four banners came down at Crisler Arena, and Webber's records were stricken from the books, leaving Webber hurt and wanting nothing to do with the school. With the basketball team finally back in the spotlight, there's a push on to change that. 

Rose did a podcast with his ESPN counterpart Bill Simmons on Grantland.com on Sunday, calling for Webber to join his teammates in Atlanta (Webber's current residence) for the game on Monday night. The plea's been picked up on Twitter as fans of Michigan and basketball in general plead for a chance to see one of the game's most memorable teams together again after such a long time apart. 

Webber's offered no indication that he'll be at the game, but hasn't said anything about missing it either, so the watch will remain on until there's some kind of confirmation either way.

Here's hoping that he finds a way to get there for the game,

The first thing mentioned about the Fab Five now is the ugly way it wound up playing out - sanctions, forfeited wins, removed banners. That's part of the story -- as is the fateful timeout Webber called in the final seconds of the loss to Carolina when Michigan didn't have any left --  but it isn't the whole story. Not by a long shot. 

The real story was the way the five freshmen burst onto the scene like a supernova, unwilling to be patient and wait their turn to succeed like just about every other freshman in the history of basketball before them. It was their bravado and the way they backed it up with a free-flowing, highly entertaining brand of basketball that belied their limited years. 

We watch basketball to see players and teams like that. We remember them because they come around so rarely that they should be savored. A reunion while watching another generation of Wolverines trying to take that final step on the ladder -- the step that eluded the Fab Five 20 years ago -- would make it about the basketball again, and it would give the Fab Five one more moment to bask in the adulation they deserve. 

Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Waterbury Residents Flock to Avoid Car Booting Blitz


Waterbury residents have lines up at city hall to play overdue vehicle taxes and unpaid tickets to avoid getting booted.

The large crowd has gathered after Waterbury teamed up with a firm from Georgia that has begun roaming the streets of the Brass City in search of vehicles associated with overdue fines.

The crackdown began at midnight on Sunday.

"They have automated equipment that will be reading license plates and if they identify a delinquent motor vehicle with back taxes or parking tickets, the plate will be identified and they'll be booted where they find them," Deputy Tax Collector Karen Mulcahy said.

Initially, Waterbury is only booting vehicles with violations that are parked on public property, including city streets and government-owned parking lots.

In all, the city hopes to recoup millions of dollars in overdue car taxes and unpaid parking tickets, that tax records show Waterbury is owed.

"So probably a fair guess would be about $2 and half million uncollected per year and over the last two years. That's about $5 million," Mulcahy said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Animal Control Officer Charged With Cruelty to Animals


A Woodbridge animal control officer was arrested on Monday on a warrant charging her with animal cruelty.

Karen Lombardi, 59, voluntarily surrendered herself at the Woodbridge Police Department on Monday morning and was arrested on an outstanding arrest warrant charging her with one count of cruelty to animals, according to police.

The arrest stems from an investigation into an incident at the Woodbridge Animal Control facility in November 2012, according to police who said they are not releasing additional information now.

Lombardi was released on a promise to appear in New Haven Superior Court on April 19. 


Photo Credit: NBC Philadelphia

Man Used Boy to Commit Shoplifting Spree: Cops


A Waterbury man accused of using an 11-year-old boy to help him shoplift from several stores at Clinton Crossing outlets on Sunday was arrested over the weekend.

Police said Michael Savage, 45, of Waterbury brought a friend’s son to the outlets, with his mother’s permission, and then instructed him to shoplift items from several stores.

Police got involved when an officer noticed an argument between a man and Savage.

The victim told police he’d just bought a jacket and Savage stole it from his bag and gave it to a child, who ran off, police said.

When police found Savage’s car, they found the boy inside, as well as the stolen jacket and more than $1,200 dollars worth of items stolen from Clinton Crossing, police said.

When police spoke with the juvenile, he said he ran to the car and was alone after the shopper confronted them.

Police said Savage had a bag with several items that are believed to be stolen and a tool used to remove anti-theft devices from clothing, police said.

The boy was turned over to his mother.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police

Newtown Families: "For the Rest of Our Lives ..."


More than a dozen Newtown parents directly and tragically linked to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, candidly recalled the December day that changed their lives in an emotional "60 Minutes" segment that aired Sunday night.

They spoke of frantic phone calls and fraying nerves as the day wore on and parents gathered at the local firehouse had still not located their children.

"There were people everywhere ...  and you really had to push to get through," said Nicole Hockley, the mother of one of the first-graders in Victoria Soto's class, killed in the attack. "We were all just jostling because we were trying to find our kids."

The interview aired on the eve of a big lobbying day for gun control supporters, which brought President Barack Obama to the University of Hartford and will send 11 relatives of Sandy Hook victims, including Hockley, to Washington where they will push for federal gun control legislation. In the "60 Minutes" segment, parents and relatives made an emotional plea for more stringent background checks and limits to the size of ammunition magazines.

Check back for a livestream of Obama's remarks in Hartford at 5:45 p.m. ET.

"You can have a million bullets but if you have to put them in one at a time, the ability to do any kind of real damage is significantly reduced," said Bill Sherlock, the husband of Sandy Hook school psychologist Mary Sherlock, who died confronting shooter Adam Lanza. "It's simple arithmetic. If you have to change magazines 15 times instead of five times you have three more instances where something could jam," something could go wrong and potential victims can escape as 11 students did during a lull in Lanza's shooting rampage, he added.

While the gun control debate was certainly the backdrop of the interview and what called the victims' relatives to the studio, the focus, more than anything, remained fixed on the memory of their children and loved ones, and their experiences on and since Dec. 14.

Hockley remembered the relief of finding her son Jake, suddenly shattered by the uncomfortable reminder that her other son Dylan, who had not yet been found, may not have survived.

"A woman asked me, 'what classroom was your other child in?' And I said, Miss Soto's. And she said, 'I heard she got shot.' And I got really angry at her and I remember very clearly saying, 'don't you dare say that to me if you don't know it's true.'" Hockley said. Teacher Victoria Soto did in fact die in the attack.

"I just pushed by her but I couldn't find Dylan's classroom or anyone from his class anywhere," said Hockley.

It was Gov. Dannel Malloy who finally, hours after the last shots were fired, broke the news to parents gathered in a back room at the firehouse.

"[He] had the duty to stand in front of the room and tell us that if we were in that room then our child or adult wasn't coming back to us," Hockley recalled.

Jimmy Greene, the father of Ana Marquez-Greene, who also died in the shooting, spoke about finding his other child, who also attended Sandy Hook, safe and terrified.

"I saw my son's teacher in a living room area ... Isaiah popped up and I just went and grabbed him and held him and he was crying, 'Daddy, you know, there were so many gunshots. I saw this and I saw that,'" Greene recalled. "So I just took my son in my arms—he's a big kid, but I took him like he was two years old again and held him on my shoulder and was just running and running from room to room trying to locate Ana's class."

His wife, Nelba Marquez-Greene, who is also among the group flying to Washington Monday evening, was driving to Sandy Hook when she learned that their son was okay.

"I was texting [Jimmy] every ten or fifteen seconds," she said. "Ana, question mark. And then Ana, exclamation point. Because we had Isaiah. I didn't understand why we didn't have Ana."

When she arrived at the school and later the firehouse and was eventually told to head into a back room, she didn't want to go.

"I knew what the back room meant. In my heart, as a mother, I knew what the back room meant."

Some of the most touching testimony regarded how the parents are coping with the absence of the quirky kids who were at the center of their lives.

Francine Wheeler said she dreams of her son Benjamin all the time. "And we talk," she said. "And he and I talk when I take my walks. And I just feel him. If I ask him to be present he is. And I know he'll always be there."

Jackie Barden said she feels distance growing between her and her son Daniel, who died in the shooting. "Sometimes it's too painful to think about him. And then I feel guilty because I need to think about him and keep him alive, but it's so hard because we miss him so much."

Nicole Hockley said that she keeps Dylan's cremated remains next to his photo in her bedroom. "Every morning I kiss him good morning and say hi. And he's the last thing I kiss before I go to bed at night. And every night I beg for him to come to me in my dreams so I can see him again. And during the day, I just focus on what I can do to honor him and make change."

Hockley and 10 other members of the Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit pushing for federal gun control legislation, will fly aboard Air Force 1 with the president to Washington Monday night, where they will spend the week lobbying Congress for change. They represent nine victims killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.


Photo Credit: AP

Stew Leonard’s Voted Best Shopping Spot in New England


The readers of About.com have weighed in and voted Stew Leonard’s as the Best New England Shopping Spot in the 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards.

The store beat out other nominees, including The Yankee Candle Village, The L.L. Bean flagship store, Settlers’ Green Outlet Village, and Vermont Country Store.

“If you can't fathom how a grocery store could not only contend for but win the award for best shopping experience in New England, then you haven't been to a Stew Leonard's,” the review says.

Stew Leonard’s was founded in 1969 and started out as a small family-owned and operated dairy store.  It has since grown into a renowned fresh food store with four locations in Norwalk, Danbury, and Newington, Connecticut and Yonkers, New York. 

The store, with all of its interactive displays, is family friendly and well known for its excellent customer service and freshness and quality of products.

About.com recommends allowing plenty of time to visit, and you will know why if you have ever been.

“The stores are incredibly fun, with animatronic animals, seasonal events and delicious nibbles to sample throughout the store,” the review says.

Stew Leonard Jr., president and CEO, was very excited about the award and thanked the store’s customers for their loyalty. 

“Stew Leonard’s has the best, most loyal customers in the world, and we couldn’t be more excited that they’ve shared their passion for shopping at Stew’s on About.com,” he stated.

Learn more about Stew Leonard’s by visiting www.stewleonards.com.

To read about other winners of the About.com 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards, visit http://awards.about.com.

Stamford Police Investigate Suspicious Death


Police are investigating the suspicious death of a 45-year-old Stamford man.

Police responded to 329 Sylvan Knoll Road at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday for a report of a deceased man, who has been identified as Russell Pinto, a resident of the house.

Investigators found several areas of trauma to Pinto’s body.

An autopsy which will be conducted on Tuesday.

The states attorneys’ office was notified and a search warrant was issued for the residence.

Police said this is still an ongoing and active investigation.

We are asking if anyone has information on the whereabouts of Mr. Pinto on the night of 04/06/13 to call Stamford Police BCI unit at 203-977-4417

Gov. Malloy Places Friendly Wager on UConn Championship Game


Governor Dannel Malloy is confident that the UConn women will win the National Championship tomorrow night.
So confident, in fact, that he is already looking forward to reaping the delicious benefits.
The governor has placed a friendly wager with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear. Malloy has put up a basket of Connecticut grown products against a Kentucky country ham.
"Governor Beshear's Lady Cardinals have been playing impressively, but they are no match for the UConn women and Geno," said Governor Malloy. "I'll be cheering on the UConn Huskies, and soon thereafter I'll be enjoying another delicious Kentucky ham. Our women's team is tremendous, and the whole state is behind them for the win tomorrow night."
Though the Huskies defeated Louisville 72-58 in their only meeting this season in January, Beshear believes that motivation engineered by the team’s exceptional play of late will be enough to propel them past UConn.
"No one is playing better than the Lady Cardinals. They've already taken out the nation's number one team and defending national champion, Baylor, then perennial power Tennessee, and held off California to reach the championship game," said Governor Beshear. "These women are all heart, and when you combine their talent and drive with Coach Jeff Walz's game plan, I have no doubt they'll knock out UConn in the title game."
Malloy has proclaimed Tuesday as “Husky Day” in the state and is asking residents to show their Husky pride by wearing blue and white and cheering on the team.
Tip-off is set for Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m.

Photo Credit: AP

Lost Calif. Hikers Feared They Would Not "Make It to the Morning"


Emergency 911 calls from the night two hikers called to report they "wandered off" a Southern California trail indicate the teens feared they may not "make it to the morning" as search teams were grounded because of weather conditions.

Audio: Excerpt From 911 Call

On the 911 call from March 31, Nicolas Cendoya, 19 reported that he and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack were lost in the Trabuco Canyon area of Cleveland National Forest in the Santa Ana Mountains.

The disptacher can be heard asking whether they remembered passing several reference points and explaining that search crews were limited to a ground search during that night because of fog.

"We wandered off the trail," Cendoya said. "I don't even know if we're going to make it to the morning because we have no water."

Their cell phone died after the call, during which they can be heard calling for help. They told the dispatcher they could not hear search crews, who also were calling out to them.

The two, both inexperienced hikers, departed on what Jack told friends was an "adventure" — a day hike along popular Holy Jim Trail. During Sunday night's 911 call — before the two were separated — Cendoya told the dispatcher they were less than one mile from a trail. The dispatcher attempted to find out how far from the trailhead the two went off the trail.

"We went like a mile from my car," Cendoya said.

"You said you're at the top of a mountain?" the dispatcher asked.

"The very, very top," Cendoya answered.

Cendoya was found Wednesday night about 500 feet up a steep ridge off Trabuco Creek Road. Rescuers had to cut through brush to rescue him. He was released from the hospital Sunday.

Jack, rescued at mid-day Thursday, remained hospitalized Sunday. At an afternoon press conference outside the hospital, she said she felt lucky to be alive and thanked her rescuers.

She said she had no memory of the ordeal other than that she and Cendoya wanted to climb to the top of the canyon before nightfall.

"I thought I was in a big dream," she said. "We wanted to touch the clouds."

Both were severely dehydrated, disoriented and covered in scratches and bruises after a series of cold nights waiting for rescue.

Photo Credit: CA DMV

Obama in Conn.: "We Need a Vote"


President Barack Obama demanded Monday in a fierce address in West Hartford that Congress bring new gun control proposals to a vote, just as a top Republican on Capitol Hill vowed to block one.

Earlier Monday afternoon, Obama had met with family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre.

His speech at the University of Hartford was part of his national push to enact new, stricter gun control legislation, less than four months after 20 first-graders and six educators were gunned down in Newtown.

"Connecticut has shown the way, and now is the time for Congress to do the same — this week," Obama told his audience, before listing the key components of the Democratic-led gun control package.

"All of them are commonsense. All of them deserve a vote," he said. Afterward, he paused as his audience chanted, "we want a vote."

"Connecticut, this is not about me. This is not about politics. This is about doing the right things for all the families that are here," he said, his voice horses its pitch rose. "This is about these families and families all across the country who are saying, 'let's make it a little harder for our kids to get gunned down.'"

But even as the president urged Congress to allow an up-or-down vote in the Senate and warned the GOP not to filibuster, the Senate's top Republican said he would join a filibuster. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office said Monday evening, in a statement released during Obama's speech, that he "will oppose cloture on proceeding to that bill."

Just before his speech, Obama had met privately with 11 relatives of seven first-graders and one educator killed in the Newtown massacre. Afterward, they were flying back to Washington with the president on Air Force One to personally plead with senators reluctant to back gun legislation.

Monday afternoon, Air Force One had first touched down at the Air National Guard base at Bradley Airport around 4:30 p.m. President Obama shook hands with dignitaries and some members of the military before climbing in his limousine and heading for the University of Hartford.

Security was heightened on the campus, as well as surrounding towns.

Bloomfield police warned that there would be road closures on Monday.

"On Monday April 8, 2013, the University of Hartford is expecting the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to visit the campus. As a result of this visit, the Town of Bloomfield is anticipating local access to be restricted in some areas with numerous road closures and major traffic delays during the evening commute in the surrounding areas of the university. The road closures and traffic delays should be expected from 4 p.m. until approximately 7 p.m. All motorists are strongly encouraged to make their travel plans with these delays in mind," a news release from Bloomfield police states.

West Hartford Police said they sent a message to residents of Portage Road, Sunny Reach Drive and Bloomfield Avenue to plan for possible traffic disruptions.

In the days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Obama visited Newtown, visited privately with the families of the 20 students and six educators killed and attended an interfaith vigil.

Then, he asked Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force to come up with ways to reduce gun violence.

During a news conference about gun control, he said he has a painting by one of the victims, Grace McDonnell, in his private study and it stands as a reminder of that tragic December day.

“I hung it in my private study, just out of the Oval Office. And every time I look at that painting, I think about Grace, and I think about the life that she lived, and the life that lay ahead of her, and most of all, I think about how, when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us, we must act now – for Grace, for the 25 other innocent children and devoted educators who had so much left to give,” Obama said in January.

State and federal gun control proposals have been met with mixed reaction. Families of the victims have asked for strict regulations, particularly for guns with large-capacity magazines, while guns rights groups have said law-abiding citizens’  will be penalized.

"The biggest obstacles going forward are some of the Sentate's obtuse procedural rules, like the 60-vote threshold," Sen. Richard Blumenthal said. "But also the stranglehold that the NRA and other special interest have succeeded in proposing in a generation or more."

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trooper Wounded in Shootout With Suspects


A state trooper from Troop F was shot on Monday afternoon in Westbrook while trying to apprehend two suspects in a robbery and one of the suspects is dead, according to state police.

Old Saybrook police were pursuing suspects in an armed robbery and and asked Troop F for help.

During the pursuit, a state trooper's cruiser and vehicle the suspected robbers were in collided on Route 153 in the area of Docs Hill on the Essex, Westbrook line, police said.

The trooper exchanged gunfire with the suspects and was shot while trying to take the two men into custody.

The chase began with Old Saybrook police near a Days Inn at 1430 Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook just before 3 p.m., according to a witness.  The suspects checked into a room at the Days Inn, the witness said.

The trooper suffered severe injuries, though the injuries were described as non-life threatening, according to state police.

Officials said he was alert and conscious and taken to the Shoreline Medical Center in Essex by another state trooper, officials said.

Route 153 was closed in the area for hours.

Two ambulances also arrived at the medical center. Whether they carried the suspects is not known.

Lifestar sent one aircraft to the medical center and left with one of the injured suspects onboard, according to state police.  The suspect was taken to Hartford Hospital, police said.


Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Yale Police Warn Students About Laptop Thefts



A man who stole laptops when no one was looking has been  arrested but it's a crime police that are still telling Yale students to be on the lookout for.
 Yale police say they have  arrested a man for grabbing two computers of the Blue State Coffee, a York Street shop.

" I think there's this false sense of security in being here for so long and not having anything stolen from me," said Courtney Kaplan, a senior at Yale, whose laptop was snatched the other day from another New Haven coffee shop. "You'd think that after four years in New Haven you'd know not to leave your stuff unattended. It's common sense especially in a public place."
Matt Trapani also fell victim.

"Keep it within your eyesight and if you don't trust the people around you you shouldn't be trusting them," Trapani said.
Helena Kranjc is the supervisor at Blue State and has worked with Yale and New Haven Police to track down the suspect. She says the man would come in when they were crowded and blend in.

"It's kind of hard to because we're so busy up here," Kranjc says. "Don't leave your laptops unattended. Even when I'm sitting here in my own shop I don't leave stuff laying around or make sure someone is watching it."
Yale police say recent incidents have included thefts of laptops in residential dorms and classrooms as well as local businesses. College police have added 20 police bikes to patrols while New Haven police have 40 new officers on foot downtown.

"It really behooves the person who owns the property to make sure they have it in their possession at all times," said David Hartman of the New Haven Police Department.
Yale police are investigating all these thefts and deployed undercover officers in several locations. They're also working with New Haven Police and businesses to prevent these crimes.


Photo Credit: Getty Images
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