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Police Charge Suspect in 4 Armed Robberies in Newington


Police have arrested a man accused of four armed robberies in Newington.

Michael Kozak, 59, is suspected of robbing Walmart on Jan. 21 and the Family Dollar store on Feb. 7.

He is also suspected of robbing a local Target on Feb. 8 and again on Feb. 12.

Police arrested him shortly after the armed robbery at a Target store on Feb.12 and identified him as a suspect in the earlier robberies.

Kozak was in prison when police served the warrants for the three earlier crimes and appeared for and arraignment on the same day at New Britain Superior Court.

He has been charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree conspiracy/robbery, third-degree larceny and third-degree conspiracy/larceny for the Walmart robbery and was detained on a $100,000 bond.

He was charged with first-degree robbery and sixth-degree larceny for the Family Dollar robbery and detained on a $100,000 bond.

He was charged with first-degree robbery, fourth-degree larceny, first-degree conspiracy to commit robbery and fourth-degree conspiracy to commit larceny in connection with the Feb. 8 robbery at Target and detained on a $100,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Newintgon Police

BB Guns Could Look Real to Police: PD Says After Weapons Arrest


East Windsor police are warning people of the danger of carrying BB airsoft guns in public after a recent arrest because police could mistake them for real guns when making split-second decisions.

Their warning is in response to a motor vehicle stop during a suspicious vehicle call in which police seized a black BB pistol that looks like a real gun.

Nicole Barnard, 28, of Manchester, was arrested on a weapons charge.

On Wednesday at about 9 a.m., a citizen flagged down police to report a suspicious vehicle parked on Winkler Road in East Windsor near the train tracks.  The occupants of the car were throwing beer cans out the window, the citizen told police.

The car began to leave the area as officer arrived. Police stopped the car soon after that.

Police discovered a black BB pistol and crack pipe in the car and seized both.

East Windsor police charged Barnard with having weapon in a motor vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police said the BB pistol looks like a real firearm until police can closely examine it and pick it up. The East Windsor department released the photo of the BB pistol to "remind citizens that although not real, BB and airsoft guns pose a danger to the police because it is hard to identify them as not real when making split second (sic) decisions."

"Although children were not involved in this specific case, it is important for parents to monitor their children with these guns to explain to them the potential dangers," East Windsor police said.

Photo Credit: East Windsor Police Department

Students Design Evidence Tables for Police Department


Some high school students in Milford helped the police department through a class project and saved the department thousands of dollars in the process.

The Milford Police Department needed some new tables to photograph and examine evidence, but buying them would have cost around $6,000.

So, the department came up with another idea and approached Eli Whitney Technical School in Hamden about students building two tables as a school project.

The students took the challenge, built the tables and saved police more than $5,000 in the process.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Boy, 10, Bitten by Shark in Fla.


A 10-year-old boy was bitten by a shark at Daytona Beach Shores in Florida Wednesday afternoon, officials said.

The boy, who was visiting from Georgia, suffered minor lacerations after he was bitten on the calf just after 1 p.m., Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue spokeswoman Tamra Marris said.

He was treated and released at the scene.

The boy was in chest deep water when the incident occurred, Marris said. A lifeguard who was in the area responded.

Marris said the beaches would stay open.

It was the fourth reported shark bite in Volusia County this year, according to WESH.

Last week, a 10-year-old boy was bitten by a shark at Cocoa Beach in Brevard County.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Robert Harding Worl

Machete Found in Woodstock Academy Student's Car


A second Woodstock Academy student is facing charges after police found a machete in his car during a separate investigation into dead cow parts scattered across campus.

State police arrested Evert McKee, 18, of Woodstock, on a weapons charge. State police were examining parked cars on and near the Woodstock Academy campus when they saw a large machete in McKee's car.

McKee was not involved in the cow parts found across campus and this arrest is unrelated.

"This weapon is unrelated to today’s incident; it was left in the vehicle from a recent camping trip," Woodstock Academy officials said.

The academy "has a zero tolerance policy for animal cruelty and weapons, and both
incidences have been handled in accordance with said policies."

In addition, two students have been taken into custody by the State Police," Woodstock Acaemy officials said. "No students were in danger during today’s events."

However, police charged McKee with having a weapon in a motor vehicle and breach of peace.

State police released him on a $2,500 non-surety bond. He is scheduled to appear in Danielson Superior Court on June 25.

Separately, police arrested another Woodstock Academy student, Avery Blair Rollins, 18, in connection to the dead cow investigation.

"Woodstock Academy has been working closely with the State Police to conduct a comprehensive investigation to identify any and all suspects involved in the incident," Woodstock Academy officials said in a written press release. "During the State Police investigation, it has been confirmed that the cow was already deceased as a result of a traffic accident approximately two days ago."

Wonderful Wednesday Weather


High pressure parked over New England will make for a great day with no humidity and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures will rise into the upper-70s and lower-80s.

A warm front gets hung up over Pennsylvania tomorrow, so there will be lots of clouds over Connecticut and there can be a sprinkle or spot shower with temperatures in the 70s.

An outside chance for a shower continues into Friday morning, but by and large, the workweek will end on a great note with lots of sun. Any morning clouds will move out before long and permit temperatures to rise into the 80s for all.

Father’s Day weekend is split.

Saturday is the pick of the weekend with mostly sunny conditions, temperatures in the 70s and little humidity. Overall, it will be a beach day!

Bill’s moisture arrives on Sunday and unfortunately makes for a wet end to the weekend. It could be a soaking rain with temperatures in the 70s and high levels of humidity.

An early look at next week shows dry conditions with sun and clouds and temperatures near 80 degrees.

Stay with the NBC Connecticut First Alert weather team for the very latest forecast on-air, online and on the app.

Suffield Teen Gets Lady Gaga’s Attention


Katie Dorman, a 17-year-old Suffield teen, dreams of meeting Lady Gaga and the superstar is getting attention from the singer thanks to some classmates who hoped that a social media campaign might end with the two meeting.

Katie has Down syndrome and is unable to communicate verbally, but she becomes “Katie Gaga” when she puts on her wig and takes the stage.

She is also a member of Suffield High School's “Unified Theater,” an organization that’s breaking down the barriers for people with disabilities and putting them on stage. Friends through that group started Tweeting with the hashtag #SendKatieToGaga with the hopes that the story would go viral.

It has.

Gaga Tweeted Katie Dorman’s story this morning after watching video of the 17-year-old performing one of the superstar’s songs.


Katie will be going to Gaga’s show on June 29 at the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford after someone who heard her story donated two front-row tickets so Katie could go to the concert with her older brother.



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

Zuckerberg Gives $5M to Scholarship


Mark Zuckerberg and his wife are giving $5 million to a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students. 

The Facebook CEO and his wife Priscilla Chan announced their donation to TheDream.Us in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

"America was founded as a nation of immigrants. We ought to welcome smart and hardworking young people from every nation, and to help everyone in our society achieve their full potential," he wrote. "If we help more young immigrants climb the ladder to new opportunities, then our country will make greater progress."

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

Cow Parts Left on School Campus, Student Arrested


State police have arrested a Woodstock Academy student after finding parts of a dead cow left throughout the campus on Wednesday morning.

School officials said someone found a severed calf's head in the student parking lot at the academy.

School security staff called state police just after 11 a.m. and police began investigating.

State police arrested Avery Blair Rollins, 18, of Brooklyn, and said he had a knife on school grounds.

"Woodstock Academy has been working closely with the State Police to conduct a comprehensive investigation to identify any and all suspects involved in the incident," Woodstock Academy officials said in a written statement. "During the State Police investigation, it has been confirmed that the cow was already deceased as a result of a traffic accident approximately two days ago."

Woodstock Academy is an independent secondary school with a student body that includes tuition-paying students, but also students from nearby towns through contracts with the towns. 

Rollins was charged with breach of peace and was released on a $1,000 non-surety bond. 

State police also made an unrelated arrest after finding a machete in another Woodstock Academy student's car while investigating the dead cow incident. Student Evert McKee, 18, faces charges of having a weapon in a motor vehicle and breach of peace, but state police said he was not involved in scattering the cow parts across campus.

"This weapon is unrelated to today’s incident; it was left in the vehicle from a recent camping trip," Woodstock Academy officials said.

The academy "has a zero tolerance policy for animal cruelty and weapons, and both
incidences have been handled in accordance with said policies."

In addition, two students have been taken into custody by the State Police," Woodstock Acaemy officials said. "No students were in danger during today’s events."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Hartford HealthCare Cutting Hundreds of Jobs


Hartford HealthCare is making staffing reduction that will affect 418 employees and eliminate the equivalent of about 335 full-time jobs, according to a news release.

The cuts are happening as the health care system faces cuts to state and federal reimbursements, according to Hartford HealthCare officials.

“Despite our best efforts to reduce costs and increase revenues this year, Hartford HealthCare faces additional Medicaid cuts, bringing our total Medicaid payment reductions from the State of Connecticut to more than $100 million over five years,” Jeffrey A. Flaks, executive vice president and chief operating officer, wrote in a letter sent to staff on Wednesday. “The magnitude of these cuts makes our model unsustainable going forward.”

Hartford HealthCare is also looking into consolidating and reducing "some programs and services to create additional efficiencies and lower costs," according to Rebecca Stewart, a spokesperson for Hartford HealthCare. The healthcare organization is also contacting its vendors to review other areas to save money and expects to spend about $40 million less on products and services next year.

“This is significant. Hartford HealthCare is a true economic engine for our regions and our entire state,” Flaks said. “Besides being the largest employers in many of our towns, our projects provide substantial private capital investments for many of our communities. The goods and services we purchase — many in our state — create a demonstrable positive economic impact. Our community benefits investments support vital efforts to improve the quality of life.”

Continued investment in jobs, technology and healthcare facilities is important, Flaks said.

"These include a large-scale initiative to launch the Epic electronic health record and create a strong platform for data analysis to help keep populations healthy," Hartford HealthCare officials said.

The new 40,000-square-foot Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute also recently opened at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.

Hartford HealthCare officials said the organization is also focusing on "development of patient-focused service lines for orthopedics, neurosciences, cancer and cardiac care; and development of new outpatient options, with convenient, cost-effective ambulatory care centers throughout the Hartford HealthCare service area."

“Contending with these additional cutbacks has led us to some of the most difficult and painful decisions we have to make,” Flaks said. “Yet, it is essential that we do everything we can to remain viable and strong for those who rely on us for care.”

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Man Admits Killing Ex-Scout Leader Who He Says Raped Him


A former Boy Scout pleaded guilty Wednesday to killing his troop leader, who he claimed had raped him over many years. 

In a tense and emotional courtroom in Newton, New Jersey, Clark Fredericks admitted to killing former Boy Scout leader and Sussex sheriff's officer Dennis Pegg three years ago. 

"From the time I was 8 years old until I was 12, I was sexually assaulted and raped by Dennis Pegg," said Fredericks. 

He said he never told anyone about the rapes even as, he claimed, Pegg also raped his best friend Jeff. Jeff committed suicide in 1983, Fredericks said. 

Fredericks graduated high school, still keeping the secret from his parents. 

"Dennis Pegg controlled me by torturing and killing animals in front of me, saying he would do the same to me if I told anyone about our secret," he said.

Fredericks said he felt that Pegg, as a cop, was untouchable.

But in 2012, he watched the sexual abuse trial of Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky and then his conviction on June 11. "The next day, June 12, my shell cracked," he said.

Fredericks said he got drunk, snorted cocaine, and with friend Bob Reynolds -- who police arrested as an accomplice -- went to Pegg's Stillwater home with a hunting knife Pegg had given him back in scouting. 

"I started stabbing Dennis," Fredericks said in court. "I said, 'How does it feel raping little kids now. It's not so fun raping little kids now, is it?' At the end I slit his throat." 

Family and friends of Fredericks wept almost nonstop as he spoke. And then as he got up to leave, applause broke out in the courtroom, something the prosecutor said he'd never seen before.

One of those crying and applauding was Rose Funari, who said her own brother was a victim of Pegg's.

"If someone was to hurt my child, I'll be honest with you, there would be no judge, no jury," she said.

Family and friends said past accusations by others against Pegg were ignored. Prosecutor Francis Koch said there was simply was not sufficient evidence. Either way, the prosecutor would not justify an eye for an eye. 

Despite the savage nature of the killing, even the prosecutor agreed to accept the claim of passion provocation, which means a maximum of 5 to 10 years when he is sentenced in August. 

"Passion provocation could not be disapproved beyond a reasonable doubt," said Koch. 

Tony Award-Winning Actor, Arts Patron Honored at Fairfield County Arts Benefit


Fairfield County resident and two-time Tony Award-winning actor and James Naughton and arts patron Elisabeth Morten were honored for their support of the arts in the region at the FCBuzz Gypsy JazzNight benefit June 5 for the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County.

State Sen. Bob Duff presented Naughton, who won Tonys for his roles in "City of Angels" and "Chicago" and Morten, a former Cultural Alliance president, with a legislative citation acknowledging their arts advocacy in Fairfield County.

 Duff said it was his privilege "to honor two great people I've come to know who give so much back to our area and present them with these legislative citations."

"It is with deep respect and appreciation that I give thanks to Elisabeth Morten and Jim Naughton for all of their work to support arts and culture in Fairfield County through the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County," Duff said.

Morten was moved to receive the award and said that supporting the arts is important and is a way to "stimulate the economy, attract businesses as well as creative, educated and skilled employees."

"They also improve academic performance of young people and enhance our quality of life," she said.

Naughton cited writer George Bernard Shaw in his remarks with a quote that said, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”

He said that the quote represents what keeps him interested in acting and supporting arts in Fairfield County.

Liz Fox hosted the event at her estate in Norwalk, which overlooks Long Island Sound, and cho-chaired the benefit with Ann Sheffer, of Westport. Corporate sponsors included Westport Resources, Cohen & Wolf, P.C., Berliner Law Offices, LLBH Private Wealth Management, The Tallman Building Company and Fairfeld County Bank.

Caravan of Thieves, a four-piece Gypsy-swing band that just toured nationally, performed for the guests.

The Cultural alliance supports more than 300 artists and cultural organizations that are members.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Suffield Police Chief, Captain Under Fire


Suffield's police union is asking town leaders to remove the police department's chief and captain, citing unethical behavior and misconduct.

Suffield Police Union President Det. Justin Fuller sent a letter to the town's police commission, first selectman and Board of Selectman on Wednesday notifying them of a majority vote of "no confidence" in Suffield Police Chief Michael Manzi and Police Capt. Craig Huntley.

Dozens of angry residents spoke out as well on the issue at a Suffield Police Commission meeting on Wednesday night and called for the resignation of the police chief and captain.

Residents say they're outraged over how the chief and captain handled a situation where a dispatcher allegedly showed up to work intoxicated multiple times. They called the internal investigations following it a failure. The dispatcher is now on administrative leave.

Joe Adams, of Suffield, said he's had enough.

"When they (police) have had enough how can the public not have enough?" Adams said. "I'm upset about how this investigation was handled from the start..... The commission isn't doing their job, the chief's not doing his job.... I would like to see their resignations... I would like to see them brought up on charges.... I fear that somebody's going to die waiting for police to show up at the right address."

The dispatcher placed on administrative leave didn't show up at two administrative hearings, according to the Suffield police commission chairman. There is another one scheduled for Thursday. Four additional internal investigation reports have been filed stemming from the initial complaint.

"We have no confidence. There's no leadership. There's no integrity. There's no professionalism from our top two," Fuller said.

All 17 police union members who participated voted "no confidence" in Manzi and 16 of them voted "no confidence" in Huntley. Two union members abstained from voting.

"This vote of 'no confidence' comes as no surprise after Chief Michael Manzi and Captain Huntley have and continue to demonstrate their inabilities to provide the appropriate leadership necessary to properly manager the Suffield Police Department," the union said in the letter. "The following instances are just a few situations where both Chief Michael Manzi and Captain Craig Huntley have demonstrated their lack of leadership, integrity, and professionalism."

However, Suffield First Selectman Edward G. McAnaney told NBC Connecticut he has full confidence in the police chief and captain. He said the letter of "no confidence" likely stems from a federal civil rights lawsuit a union member filed against the town and union negations the town is undergoing.

"This is offered in support of one of their members, you may know that, who is suing the town currently in federal court claiming that his federal civil rights were violated," McAnaney said.

Suffield's police union claims that Manzi inappropriately touched a subordinated "in a sexual manner while attending a promotional party" in January of last year and that he violated town and department ethics policies by trying to give police department employees free memberships to the Suffield Country Club last August, according to the letter of "no confidence."

The union also alleges that Manzi and Huntley didn't properly conduct an internal investigation involving a police department employee "reported to be 'unfit for duty'" and that Huntley offered immunity to a Suffield officer if he changed his statement in an internal investigation. It's unknown whether the police union is referring to more than one internal investigation and the circumstances are not disclosed in the letter.

More recently, the union complained that Manzi and Huntley didn't provide the necessary support to a 20-year military veteran returning from active duty to work as a police officer in Suffield this past May. The union filed two grievances on the police officer's half before he got the help he needed, according to the letter.

The union also said Manzi released three internal investigation reports in June that contained lies and information without sufficient evidence, according to the letter.

"They're saying some of the things in the report are inaccurate and I really think we do need an outside investigation," police commission member Linda Stevenson said.

Union officials claim that in May Huntley called Suffield residents letting them know he would be the next police chief and requested their acceptance and/or support.

"Furthermore, it is the Suffield Police Union's belief that without serious change and intervention regarding the positions of Chief and Captain within our department, the Suffield Police Department will continue to operate with questions of integrity and honesty under the unstable leadership of Chief Michael Manzi and Captain Craig Huntley," union officials said in the letter. "With that being said, the Suffield Police Union request (sic) that the Town of Suffield seek the removal of, and/or request that both Chief Michael Manzi and Captain Craig Huntley resign from their current positions immediately."

The claims made in the letter are just accusations at this point and are not confirmed to be true.

"But these claims are simply claims," McAnanaey said. "Anybody can put them on a piece of paper and make a statement."

Suffield resident Mary Robles wasn't taking sides, but alluded to troubles in the department.

"There’s two sides to every story and then there’s the truth somewhere in the middle," Robles said. "I don’t claim to know anything but I know what ive heard and I just know theres been a lot of issues with the police department for quite some time now."

Suffield resident Nancy Gegesky said "this train is out of control."

"We've all heard about the unresponsive 6-week-old puppy," Gegesky said. "I can't imagine
a dispatcher confused about a 6-week-old baby and a 6-week-old puppy."

She said, "I don't know where we go from here or what we do," but she called for the resignations of the two police officials, the police commission chairman and the first selectman because "we've gone to all of them multiple times and we've basically been told this is not your concern. You do not understand. Well clearly we did understand."

Suffield's police union consists of one lieutenant, three sergeants, one detective and 14 patrolmen.

Both Chief Manzi and Capt. Huntley declined to comment.

Fuller could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

The Suffield Police Commission met at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Suffield High School auditorium. They will meet again in 10 days in an executive session with the first selectman and plan on reviewing the internal investigation reports to discuss at the meeting. They also plan on looking for a third party to investigate it.

Click here to read the Suffield police commission's full letter of "no confidence."

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Boy, 5, Wanders Into Dunkin' Donuts, Plays "Sorry and Eats Doughnut


It was a big surprise for employees who work at a New Britain Dunkin Donuts when they saw a 5-year-old child wander inside the store by himself, but an even bigger surprise was what surveillance video showed.

The video, provided to NBC Connecticut, shows the child walking into the Dunkin Donuts with two New Britain paramedics after a firefighter pulled up to the corner of South Main and Whiting Street and saw the 5-year-old boy in the roadway without shoes on.

"And he was crossing the street and I noticed paramedics and the firefighters helping the kid out. I thought there was something wrong with him and he has a little board game," Jadira Soto, who works at that Dunkin Donuts, said.

But nothing was wrong. The boy had wandered from his grandmother’s home after waking up from a nap.

The little boy entered the Dunkin Donuts with a “Sorry” board game.

That's when Soto approached the boy, who introduced himself.

"'My name is Angel. I want a doughnut.' So we’re like, ok we give him a doughnut we gave him a few to take on the way he was just sitting here. He was so polite," Soto said.

The boy and the two paramedics played the game. They didn’t leave his side until police came to help him.

"They offered to play with him. They were told they can leave and the firefighters would stay here but they refused, they said they were going to stay with him until the cops came in," said Soto.

The boy was never hurt. 

"To see something like this is refereshing and it's so sweet to know there are still good people out there," said Soto.

Shortly after, police arrived and the boy was reunited with his family.

The grandmother is not facing any charges.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

A Woman Will Appear on the Redesigned $10 Bill


The Treasury Department is redesigning the $10 bill to feature a woman — just who has yet to be determined — for the first time in over a century.

The new note is expected to be unveiled later this year, but it will not go into circulation until 2020 — the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew told reporters on Wednesday that he will select a notable woman who had played a major role in American history and whose actions fit with the theme of democracy. The currency cannot feature a living person.

"America's currency is a way for our nation to make a statement about who we are and what we stand for. Our paper bills-and the images of great American leaders and symbols they depict-have long been a way for us to honor our past and express our values," Lew said in a statement. "We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman."

The last women to appear on U.S. currency was Martha Washington, who was on the one dollar silver certificate from 1891-1896. Pocahontas was on the $20 national currency note from 1865-1869 but she was part of a group photo.

Advocates have been pushing to get a female face on a $20 bill by 2020 and the idea gained traction earlier this year thanks in part to Women On 20s, a grass-roots campaign advocating the redesign.

The group held two rounds of online voting to let the public choose from among 15 American women of historical significance. Abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who guided slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad, received the most votes, 118,328, and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt came in second place with 111,227. Rosa Parks received 64,173 votes while Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation, got 58,703 votes, the group said.

On May 12, the group presented a petition to President Barack Obama informing him of the results of the election and encouraging him to instruct Lew to make the change.

However, Lew said plans for a redesigned $10 bill have been in the works for some time as the Treasury aimed to upgrade security features on the note. He called the timing of the announcement, in relation to the Women On 20s campaign, a "happy coincidence."

The Treasury Department is asking for the public to share ideas, symbols and design for the new $10 bill on social media using the hashtag #TheNew10 or by visiting thenew10.treasury.gov. Over the summer, Lew and other administration officials will conduct roundtables, town halls, and other meetings to gather input.

The current $10 bills featuring Alexander Hamilton will remain in circulation for years to come and Hamilton won't be completely replaced by the new note, Lew said. The nation's first Treasury Secretary will be featured on some of the new bills.

The $10 note was selected for redesign based on a number of factors and with guidance from the Advanced Counterfeit Deterrence (ACD) Steering Committee, an interagency group established to monitor and communicate counterfeit deterrence issues and dedicated to maintaining and ensuring the integrity of U.S. currency. In addition to featuring a woman, the new note will include a touch feature that increases accessibility for the visually impaired.

Groton Naval Lieutenant Competes on "America Ninja Warrior"


A local woman is using every ounce of strength she has to compete for the title of American Ninja Warrior. She is a Groton US Navy officer and one of the only women in New England who made the first cut.

Push-ups, pulls ups,you name it and Lt. Natalie Schibell has tried it all to compete for $1 million prize and the coveted title of American Ninja Warrior.

“I was sitting on the couch with my good high school friend and we’re watching the show and he challenged me to be a contestant and I couldn’t turn a challenge down,” Schibell said.

The environmental health officer created an audition tape back in January and trained nonstop until she finally got the call in April that she was chosen to compete in an “All Service Member” cast in June.

“June 5th were the qualifiers. They take the top 30 finishers, the ones who finished the course. If they don’t have enough finishers they take the next up to 30 who had the fastest time,” she said.

Preparing herself was a challenge in itself because the contestants don’t know which obstacles they’d be faced with. The former track runner and competitive swimmer tried everything: pull ups, climbs, kettlebells and one handed push-ups all to work on her upper body strength.

“You have no hands on experience on the obstacles. You see a tester run through the course and then when it’s your time to step on the stage that’s your shot,” said Schibell.
So did she make it to the next round?

“That’s all under wraps until it airs,” she said.

A binding contract kept her quiet but she did hint that this won’t be her last audition. If you want to see how she did, watch the American Ninja Warriors San Pedro Regionals episode which airs on July 6 on NBC.

Photo Credit: Jett McGurk

Hartford Food Giveaway Seeks to "Feed the Children"


In Hartford, 800 families are filling their pantries with enough food to last a week.

In an effort to fight hunger, Feed the Children held a food giveaway event for families in need.

Cars filled with eager families, lined up outside the Xfinity Center, patiently waiting to fill up their trunks with food and toiletries. One woman arrived two hours early - just to ensure she had one of the first spots in line.

“You can have ten kids, it's still good to come and get extra. There's nothing wrong with getting free stuff from people willing to help,” said Quentasha Hutley of Hartford.

She may not have ten kids but with four mouths to feed, every little bit helps. She is one of 800 families in Hartford who received a voucher to take home boxes and bags of produce, snacks, non-perishables and drinks.

“We actually have more food and more product that we'll be giving away this year than we have in years past,” said Craig Dumas, Zone Sales Director for Frito Lay.

Dumas and his team at Frito Lay have been partnering with Feed the Children to host this event for the past five years.

Startling statistics is what keeps them going and fighting to do more for those in need.

“There's 34 percent of the population in the Hartford community is at poverty level,” said Dumas.

For a while, mother of five Guillermima Ruiz, didn't know where their next meal would come from. She said they were living on the streets before the Community Renewal Team helped get them into a home and connected with opportunities like this one.

“We gotta come down here and get something to eat for our kids and it's perfect. This lasts us for like two weeks,” said Ruiz.

There was more than enough food which means whatever is left over will be distributed by the Community Renewal Team to local families who were unable to attend Wednesday's event.

Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murdering Bridgeport Clerk


A suspect has pleaded not guilty in the fatal shooting of a 57-year-old storeowner killed in front of his wife during an armed robbery at their Bridgeport grocery store.

Leighton Vanderberg, 22, of New Haven, pleaded not guilty on all three counts he is facing in the murder of Bridgeport storeowner Jose Salgado.

Vanderberg is charged with felony murder and being held in lock-up on a $1 million bond.

He is due back in court on July 8 for this case, but he will be in New Haven Superior Court on Thursday facing his murder charges in the murder of New Haven clerk Sanjay Patel.

At a previous court appearance, his family said he is an innocent man.

“It’s allegedly!," said a woman who identified herself as Vanderberg's sister, but did not want to provide her name. "Allegedly it’s not factual! Therefore it’s a theory. Ya’ll all went to school, ya’ll all know what it means. It’s a theory!”

Salgado, was killed in April while working at the store he owns with his wife, Sapiao's Grocery at 351 Lexington Avenue in Bridgeport.

Police said he had handed over the cash, but was shot anyway and they identified Vanderberg and Treizy Lopez, 18, of New Haven, as suspects in the murder.

While leaving the courthouse during a previous hearing, Vanderberg's wife, Jyne Vanderberg, said the allegations against Vanderberg are untrue.

“My husband, Leighton Vanderberg, is completely innocent! And justice will show that!,” she said.

Photo Credit: Bridgeport Police Department

Little League Official Charged With Embezzling $12,500


A former Little League official in Enfield is accused of embezzling $12,500 from the league and police have arrested her.

Police arrested Kristie Perez-Bonilla, of Suffield, on Tuesday after she confessed to police that she took the funds while treasurer of the league, police said.

Officials discovered $12,500 was missing from the Thomsonville league's account when Enfield and Thomsonville Little Leagues merged earlier in the year.

"The funds for the league are limited. It's not an unlimited supply of money. It's for the kids," Enfield Little League parent Bob Santy said.

Brian Delano, the current Enfield Little League's treasurer, said the league "got whatever financials that we could get our hands on, and then from there turned it over to the police department."

The money taken came from grassroots efforts, such as donations, concessions and tournaments to raise money, according to Joe Chaplin, Enfield Little League vice president.

The money stolen was crucial to league operation. The funds raised pays for things including equipment and field improvements.

"We are trying to hopefully talk the town into letting us put a sprinkler system here," Delano said.

Enfield Little League officials are hoping to get the money back and hope that the only thing stolen in the future is a perhaps a base or two on the field.

"That's all we really care about, you know, the money is for the kids, we wanted to get back to the kids, so whatever we have to do, we are willing to do," Delano said.

Enfield police said Perez-Bonilla is remorseful and might have fallen on hard financial times.

In the meantime, league officials said they have to plan for the future.

"We're going to move on. We're going to raise money, we're going to make sure the monies in the proper hands, and we're going to move forward," Chaplin said.

Police charged Perez-Bonilla with third-degree larceny. The department released her on a non-surety bond.

Photo Credit: Enfield Police

Part of Rubber Avenue Closed in Naugatuck


The lower part of Rubber Avenue in Naugatuck is closed as crews install a water line.

The road will be closed periodically to all through traffic between Meadow/Cherry streets and Arch Street on Thursday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. so crews can install a water line.

All east bound traffic headed toward downtown will be detoured onto Scott Street around the construction except for traffic going into the Farmers Market Plaza and Friendly’s Restaurant.

Westbound vehicles headed away from downtown will at times be directed in both directions to Scott Street to bypass the area of construction.

Police advise drivers to seek an alternate route.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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