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Police Investigating Vandalism at Park


Windsor Locks Police are investigating vandalism at Pesci Park and trying to determine who is responsible.

Before children arrived for a daycamp at the park on Tuesday morning, counselors used posters to cover graffiti, including what appeared to be backward swastikas.

A happy face and other symbols were also sprayed on trees and parks were thrown into the pool. 

The park is located at 89 Center Street and police said they found spraycans in the area. 

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Sugary Drinks May Kill 184,000 People Each Year: Study


Consumption of soda, energy beverages, and other sugary drinks may be linked to 184,000 adult deaths each year worldwide, according to research published Tuesday in the journal Circulation.

“Many countries in the world have a significant number of deaths occurring from a single dietary factor, sugar-sweetened beverages," said study coauthor Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University. "It should be a global priority to substantially reduce or eliminate sugar-sweetened beverages from the diet."

The researchers looked at 62 dietary surveys conducted across 51 countries, along with data on national availability of sugar in 187 countries as well as other information. The surveys included data collected from 611,971 individuals between 1980 and 2010.

In the report, sugar sweetened beverages were defined as any sugar-sweetened sodas, fruit drinks, sports and energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, or homemade sugary drinks such as frescas, that contained at least 50 kcal per 8oz serving. Drinks that were 100 percent fruit juice was excluded.

According to the report, the researchers estimated that in 2010 sugary drinks may have been responsible for 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, and 6, 450 deaths from cancer.

Researchers found the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages varied widely between populations. In Japan, an estimated percentage of deaths linked to such beverages was less than 1 percent in people over 65 years old, but it stood at 30 percent in Mexican adults younger than 45.

Mexico had the highest death rate attributable to sugar-sweetened beverages with an estimated 405 deaths per million adults (24,000 total deaths) and the U.S. ranked second with an estimated 125 deaths per million adults (25,000 total deaths).

In a statement, the American Beverage Association, a trade group representing soft drink manufacturers, said “This study does not show that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages causes chronic diseases and the authors themselves acknowledge that they are at best estimating effects of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption."

“America’s beverage companies are doing their part to offer consumers the fact-based information and the beverage options they need to make the right choices for themselves and their families," the statement added.

Liz Ruder, a professor of nutrition and dietetics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told NBC News it's not certain it was the sugar-sweetened beverages that caused the deaths since the study is not a randomized controlled trial.
"But because the authors have employed sophisticated statistical techniques and they have rich food consumption data I believe that these data are likely to be accurate," Ruder said. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Police Investigating Home Burglaries in Orange


Police are investigating the second home burglary in Orange in recent weeks and they are urging residents to lock their homes and cars and keep valuables out view.

Between Monday night and Tuesday morning, a burglar entered a home in the Indian River neighborhood of Orange through an unlocked door overnight.

During the prior home burglary, the thieves cut a screen to get in through an unlocked window.

In both cases, they stole small electronics or a woman's handbag.

Police also said valuables were stolen from several unlocked cars and mail was stolen from mailboxes nearby. While canvassing the neighborhood, police recovered several items and they are asking residents who saw any suspicious activity overnight to call investigators at 203-891-2138.

Police are urging residents to remove valuables from cars and lock them overnight. Residents should also close and lock windows and doors, especially on the ground floor of homes.

They also offer the following tips to prevent burglaries:

Walk around your home with the eyes of a burglar. Look for weaknesses – sliding doors that could be jimmied off the track, glass that could be broken to gain entry, window unit air conditioners that could be easily removed, and so forth. Take a walk around the outside as well and note what pricey items are in view, tempting would-be burglars.

Lock the door. Install deadbolts on all doors. Double cylinders are best because they require a key on both sides of the door, and it prevents burglars from breaking a pane of glass, reaching around, and unlocking the door. Check your area’s fire code first because some places don’t allow double cylinder locks because they can trap inhabitants inside in the event of a fire.

Lock the door leading from the garage to the house, even if the garage door is down.

Don’t hide a key. Give a spare key to a neighbor instead. If your closest neighbor lives 10 miles away, and you absolutely must leave a spare key outside, put it in a combination lockbox.

Don’t label your keys or mailbox.

Secure windows and sliding doors. Many sliding doors can be popped off the frame, even when locked. Place a strong steel bar or two-by-four in the back groove, which prevents the door from sliding along the groove and opening. You can do the same with windows: Install a nail in the frame to prevent the window from opening more than a few inches.

Be modest and tuck away expensive items. Keep both the car and the bike into the garage. After purchasing a new piece of expensive electronic equipment, dispose of the box directly instead of leaving it next to your trash can, which lets would-be burglars know you have something shiny and new that could bring in great cash on the black market.

Create the illusion you’re always home. The majority of burglaries take place when people aren’t home, particularly during the day, while the victims are at work. Deter burglars by creating the impression that you’re always home: Leave on lights, the radio, or the television. And if you’re going on vacation for a while, don’t advertise your absence. Arrange for someone to pick up the mail, newspapers, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, and set out trash cans regularly.

Secure the area surrounding your house. Trim bushes and trees to discourage burglars from using them as hiding places. Avoid planting low shrubs in front of windows. Consider planting thorny shrubs for an added deterrent. And be sure to add lighting outside your home.

Get to know the neighbors. Tight-knit communities suffer fewer burglaries because people look out for each other and strangers stick out.

Install an alarm system–or at least a sign. Alarm systems are available at a number of price points, but an effective one should include sensors at entry points, motion detectors inside the house, and a loud outdoor alarm that alerts the entire neighborhood when someone has forced entry.

See more tips online. http://criminaljusticephd.org/crime-prevention-tips-for-homeowners/

Photo Credit: clipart.com

Misty Copeland Named 1st Black Female Principal at ABT


Misty Copeland, the Missouri-born dancer who has become a forceful voice for diversity in ballet, was named a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre on Tuesday — the first African-American ballerina to achieve that status in the company's 75-year history.

The company announced the promotion six days after Copeland made her New York debut in the role of Odette/Odile in "Swan Lake," one of the most important roles in a ballerina's repertoire. The emotional performance ended with Copeland being greeted onstage by trailblazing black ballerinas of earlier generations.

Copeland, 32, has become a celebrity in the past several years, making the cover of Time magazine as one of the most influential figures of 2015, and writing a best-selling memoir, "Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina," in which she recounted the challenges she faced on the road to her hard-won perch in ballet — and which has been optioned for a movie. She also was the subject of a documentary at this year's Tribeca Film Festival.

Copeland also was featured in a popular ad for Under Armour sportswear that shows her leaping and spinning in a studio, while a narrator recounts some of the negative feedback she received as a youngster, when she was told she had the wrong body for ballet and had started too late — at 13.

The dancer also has appeared as a guest host on the Fox show "So You Think You Can Dance" and was a presenter at this year's Tony awards.

Copeland is the first black ballerina to be named principal at ABT, and the second black dancer overall. Desmond Richardson, a black male dancer, was a principal with the company in 1977-1978, and returned as a guest artist later.

Also named a principal dancer on Tuesday was longtime soloist Stella Abrera.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Heartbroken Family Mourns Girl, 10, Who Died on First Day of Summer Camp


The heartbroken family of a 10-year-old girl who died after collapsing on a soccer field Monday during her first day of summer camp in Queens remembered their child as a great friend and sister with a bright future as they struggled to cope with their unbearable loss.

Laura Palma, who was enrolled in the Queens College Summer Camp, was on the field at Queens College at about 3:10 p.m. when she complained of feeling sick and collapsed, according to authorities and sources familiar with the investigation. 911 was called at 3:14 p.m., the sources said.

Queens College staff administered CPR until emergency crews arrived about eight minutes later; the crews were already trying to save the girl's life by the time police arrived in response to the 911 call, the sources said.

Palma never regained consciousness; she was taken to New York Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Monday was her first day of camp

Palma's devastated family said she was a straight A student and rarely left the side of her brother, who has cerebral palsy.

"She was a great sister, a great friend -- she just finished fifth grade on Friday," her mother, Patricia Nolasco said, pounding her first on a table in frustration.

Nolasco said she would remember her daughter as "sunshine in a pink dress."

"She loved life, she loved people, she loved her family," the tearful mother said.

Overcome with emotion, the little girl's father shared the most recent photo he had of his daughter -- and remembered how much she enjoyed the sunshine.

"I said, 'My God, Laura, you look like such a young lady now,'" her father said. "She was gonna be so much."

In a statement, Queens College said it "mourns the tragic loss of this young life and extends its heartfelt sympathy and prayers to her family."

The medical examiner’s office will determine how Palma died. Her mother says she had no medical issues and had just received a clean bill of health in a pre-camp checkup with her doctor Sunday.

The school said grief counseling services are being made available to summer camp students and staff.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Burglar Kept $200K in Stolen Items in Storage Unit: Cops


A Bridgeport man suspected in several car break-ins in several towns has been arrested in Milford on similar charges. 

Milford police took Jimmie Bennett, 48, of Bridgeport, into custody on Monday on six outstanding warrants and said he stored up to $200,000 in stolen items in a storage unit in Bridgeport.

Bennett is suspected of breaking into cars in parking lots at hotels, motels and fitness centers and authorities identified him as a suspect through evidence at the scene.

Milford and Shelton police collaborated to monitor Bennett’s activity on May 27. He was seen committing a vehicle burglary in Stratford and surveillance units followed him to a storage facility in Bridgeport, where he was storing stolen items.

On May 28, police executed a search warrant on a storage unit in Bridgeport and found $175,000 to $200,000 worth of stolen merchandise, police said.

Most of the items were stolen from Milford, Shelton, Stratford, Orange, Branford, Norwalk, Wallingford, and North Haven, police said.

Bennett has been charged with five counts of third-degree burglary, second-degree larceny, five counts of third-degree larceny, four counts of third-degree criminal mischief and second-degree criminal mischief. 

He was held on a $150,000 bond and was arraigned at Milford Superior Court GA #22 on June 29, 2015.

Police in several towns are continuing to investigate and identify the owners of more than 100 items police recovered.

If you think you might be a victim, call your local police department.

Photo Credit: Shelton Police

Community to Discuss Future of Shuttered Homeless Shelter


Community members in Manchester will gather Tuesday night to discuss the future of the building that houses a soon-to-be-shuttered emergency homeless shelter on Main Street.

Officials with the Manchester Area of Conference of Churches, which manages the overnight shelter, said it plans to close its doors Wednesday, as scheduled. The move comes in objection to a state law requiring the shelter to admit drug and alcohol users.

"This mandate is not in line with MACC Charities' mission to help the residents of Manchester and Bolton who are serious about accepting help to get back on their feet. MACC is not a drug and alcohol or mental health institution," Beth Stafford, executive director and CEO of the Manchester Area of Conference of Churches, said in a statement in April.

A public discussion set for 7 p.m. Tuesday will focus on the future of the facility, which is located at 466 Main Street and will continue to provide community services, according to the MACC.

The Journal Inquirer reports nothing is certain, but "so far the spotlight is on literacy and job-seeking help."

The meeting will take place at St. Bartholomew Church at 45 Ludlow Road.

Photo Credit: NBC10.com

NY Amber Alert Canceled


The Amber Alert issued for a 3-year-old girl police said was abducted from a mental health clinic in Manhattan by a suicidal man Tuesday has been canceled, authorities say. 

There was no immediate update on the condition of the girl. The alert was canceled about 45 minutes after it was issued.

The NYPD had said the child, who may have Down syndrome, is possibly related to the suspect.

They identified the suspect as Patrick Giblin, saying he took the girl from a facility on East 102nd Street in Harlem around noon and was seen driving on the Brooklyn Bridge in a black SUV Dodge Durango. 

Authorities said Giblin suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and is considered suicidal. 

PURA Blocks Spanish Utility's Bid to Buy UI Parent Company


Connecticut regulators will denied the request of Spain's leading electricity and national gas utility to acquire the parent company of United Illuminating, saying the move could compromise UI’s ability to serve the public.

Regulators said in a draft ruling Tuesday the acquisition is not in the public’s best interest.

According to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, Spanish utility company Iberdorla does not “possess the requisite suitability and responsibility to acquire UIL Holdings Corporation” and is not guaranteed to “provide safe, adequate, and reliable service” in the northeastern U.S.

Iberdorla announced plans to purchase UIL Holdings Corp. in February. The deal was valued at about $3 billion.

Had the acquisition gone through, Iberdorla would have taken over operations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New York, where UIL currently serves 3.1 million electric and national gas customers.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

"Ghost Wheel" Bounces Through Restaurant Window


Surprised customers scrambled for cover and an employee climbed onto a table Sunday to avoid a fast-moving tire that bounced across at least two streets before slamming through the window of an Orange County restaurant.

A security camera inside Santa Ana's Tacos Sinaloa captured video of the tire, which can be seen through the front window on a collision course with the crowded restaurant. Employee Sayar Zarco was getting sodas for customers when she heard the sound of shattering glass.

"We all just heard a big crash," said Zarco. "There was just a wheel sitting there. No car, nothing. Just a ghost wheel."

Security camera video from outside the restaurant does not provide any answers regarding the source of the mystery tire, but police later determined it came from a vehicle involved in a nearby crash. At least two cameras outside the restaurant captured the tire as it bounded across a street, struck a hydrant and crossed another street before slamming into Tacos Sinaloa.

No injuries were reported.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

Drug Suspect Stabbed New Haven Police Officer: Police


A suspected drug dealer stabbed a New Haven police officer who was trying to arrest him on Monday night, according to police.

Officer Prusinski was on patrol at Church Street South and 89 Union Avenue at 4:45 p.m. on Monday when he came upon what he suspected was a drug deal.

The suspect, later identified as Havier Gonzalez, 32, resisted arrest, attacked the officer and
stabbed him several times in the right forearm, police said.

Officer Prusinski was transported to the Yale–New Haven Hospital’s emergency room and is now resting at home.

Gonzalez was also treated at the Yale–New Haven Hospital Emergency Room for injuries sustained during his arrest.

He was arrested on suspicion of several drug-related offenses and assault on a police officer.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

LifeStar Responding to Motorcycle Crash in Old Lyme


LifeStar is responding to a motorcycle crash in Old Lyme, according to the medical helicopter service.

Police said Route 156 is temporarily closed but will reopen shortly. The helicopter landed at Rocky Neck State Park and is transporting the motorcycle driver to the hospital, LifeStar dispatchers said.

State police said no other vehicles were involved in the crash.

The motorcyclist's condition is unknown.

No additional information was immediately available.

Route 12 Reopens on Ledyard-Preston Line


Route 12 has reopened from Preston into the Gales Ferry section of Ledyard, according to Ledyard police.

State police said both directions of the highway were shut down while authorities investigated a crash.

There has been no word on injuries.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Paula Morabito

4 Indicted Metro-North Workers Live in Connecticut


Four of the 13 current and former MTA staffers indicted Monday in connection with a 2014 cheating scandal the Metro-North Railroad hail from Connecticut, according to the Manhattan district attorney.

Anthony Carbone, of North Haven; Joseph Fowler, of West Haven; Sean Macauley, of Northford; and Coltyn Reindel, of North Haven, are among nine conductors and four engineers facing charges out of New York.

The workers have each been charged with impairing the integrity of a government licensing examination – a felony – for allegedly emailing photos of several different versions of Metro-North safety tests to other candidates, prosecutors said.

The candidates must pass the exams in order to become licensed locomotive engineers or train conductors with the railroad. The tests are designed to evaluate candidates’ knowledge of braking controls, emergency procedures, train traffic signals, speed limits and the physical characteristics of various Metro-North lines and stations, among other things.

Engineers are also required to pass several tests as part of a triennial re-certification process.

In one of the cheating instances, a suspect allegedly accessed the conductor exam and recorded a portion of it with his cellphone while an instructor was out of the room, then emailed the recorded test to several of his classmates, according to the indictment. In another case, an engineer candidate allegedly emailed photos of complete answer sheets to an engineer who had not yet completed the required three-year re-certification process tests, authorities said.

Ultimately, prosecutors say eight different tests administered at Grand Central Terminal were wrongfully obtained and distributed between November 2011 and May 2014. They have all since been replaced.

In a statement, the MTA said none of the 13 staffers charged Monday had been in passenger service since the agency was notified they would be arrested. No part of the alleged cheating hurt the safety of the railroad, the statement said.

"Safety is Metro-North Railroad’s highest priority, and the railroad is committed to rooting out any activities that fall short of the highest standards," the statement said.

The MTA said that when it first learned of the allegations a year ago, it brought in the MTA Police Department and the MTA Inspector General to investigate. While the agencies were probing the allegations, the MTA disbanded one class of conductor trainees and extended the training of other conductor and locomotive engineer trainees, the transit agency said. Metro-North also began overhauling its testing protocols.

"While these allegations are extremely disturbing, Metro-North is confident that the railroad is safe for its customers and employees, and that every engineer and conductor is competent and qualified to do their jobs," the statement from the MTA said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

State Bans Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics


Connecticut lawmakers have banned the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics, according to the office of State Rep. Terry Backer.

Non-biodegradable microbeads – found in soaps, cleansers, toothpaste, and other personal care items – can be hazardous to wildlife, particularly fish.

“Plastic microbeads are showing up in fish in our food chain. They absorb toxins and pose a risk to human health,” Rep. Backer said in a statement Tuesday. “Tons of plastic beads are currently being flooded into our water courses, resulting in millions of unnecessary particles.”

The ban has been incorporated into the 2016-2017 budget bill Gov. Dannel Malloy signed today. Manufacturers will have three years to phase out the use of microbeads from products sold in Connecticut, according to Backer's office.

“Were giving the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering the responsibility to test any microbead the industry puts forth as potentially biodegradable, that could potentially circumvent this ban,” Backer stated.

Alternatives to microbeads used in the past include crushed nut shells, Backer's office said.

Bomb Threat Reported at Home in Old Saybrook


Part of School House Road was closed in old Saybrook on while authorities investigated a bomb threat at a home Tuesday evening, according to police.

State police investigators swept the area. Police said shortly after 7 p.m. the road had reopened.

No additional information was immediately available.

Photo Credit: Old Saybrook Police

14-Year-Old on Bicycle Struck by Car in Meriden


A 14-year-old boy is recovering in the hospital after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in Meriden on Tuesday, according to police.

Police said the teen was riding westbound on Springdale Avenue when he collided with the driver’s side door of a Lexus traveling south on Lewis Avenue. The collision happened around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday at a four-way intersection.

The teen suffered injuries to his head and right arm. He was taken to Hartford Hospital Children's Medical Center, where he's listed in stable condition, according to police.

The driver of the Lexus was not hurt.

Meriden Police Accident Reconstruction Unit is investigating the crash.

Police are asking witnesses and anyone with information to call Officer Chris Rodriguez at 203-630-6299 or Lt. Thomas Cossette at 203-630-6256.

Ignition Interlock Devices Becoming Mandatory After DUI Arrests


Starting tomorrow, drivers who are arrested and charged with operating under the influence will need to install an ignition interlock device in their cars in order to get their licenses back, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

DMV officials said the length of time drivers are required to use the device depends on whether they are over the age of 21, whether they are a repeat offender and whether they failed or refused a blood alcohol test.

Ignition interlocking devices (IIDs) are already mandatory following DUI convictions. They require drivers to take and pass a breath test in order to turn on the car and administer additional tests at random while the car is in use.

More information about the new requirements is available online.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Off-Duty Officer Charged in Domestic Violence Incident


An off-duty police officer was arrested in connection with a domestic violence incident in Hartford early Tuesday morning.

Police said they responded to Lincoln Street at 12:29 a.m. to investigate reports of a domestic violence incident involving an off-duty police officer.

The victim reported that Israel Zea, 49, of Hartford, forced his way into her apartment and assaulted her, police said.

The 47-year-old woman sustained facial trauma and was treated at Hartford Hospital, according tp police.

When officers went into the apartment, two witnesses were detaining Zea, a 17-year-veteran of the department.

He sustained facial injuries while the witnesses subdued him, but he refused medical treatment.

Internal affairs investigators also responded and took over the investigation.

Zea was arrested and charged with second-degree burglary, third-degree assault, second-degree criminal mischief and first-degree criminal trespass.

Bond was set at $50,000.

A separate administrative investigation is underway and Zea he has been placed on unpaid suspension.

Obama Overtime Proposal Could Impact 40,000 CT Workers


President Barack Obama's announcement that he wants the Department of Labor to change the rules for who could demand overtime pay was met wit trepidation from some in the business community but joy from labor unions.

"It's about time," said Lori Pelletier, chief elected officer of the Connecticut AFL-CIO. "It's something that hasn't been done since 1975."

The president wants the Department of Labor to adopt a rule that would increase the salary threshold for someone to earn overtime from about $23,000 per year to $50,000.

Obama has argued that the threshold hasn't been changed and it hasn't evolved with inflation.

In Connecticut, about 40,000 people could become eligible to earn overtime, according to the Connecticut Department of Labor.

Pelletier said the employees who would be eligible hold positions like assistant store manager and shift manager in retail stores.

"If they’re going to have people come in Saturdays or Sundays and stay extra, you need to understand that it’s impacting family life, so it should cost a little bit more," Pelletier said.

The National Restaurant Association released a statement saying the group had concerns about what the decision would mean for labor costs.

"It seems as if these proposed rules have the potential to radically change industry standards and negatively impact our workforce," the statement says, in part.

The Department of Labor won't have a final decision on the overtime proposal until next year.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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