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Pedestrian Killed in Preston


A pedestrian was struck and killed on Route 2 in Preston early Friday morning.

According to state police, shortly after 1:20 a.m. James Hubbard, 49, of Norwich was struck in the area of Maynard Hill Road.

Hubbard was pronounced dead at the scene.

The road was closed for hours while police investigated. It was reopened at 6 a.m.

Police are asking any witnesses to call Trooper Gardner at Troop E in Montville at 860-658-6500

JetBlue's First Flight to Cuba


JetBlue officially began direct flights to Cuba out of New York's Kennedy Airport Friday, becoming the first major carrier to make the trip after travel restrictions were eased by the White House earlier this year and making passengers who got to be on the virgin flight feel like part of history.

The Queens-based airline announced its plan to offer the weekly direct flights in May, but the first flight, on an Airbus 150-seat A320, was made Friday. It left JFK at noon en route to Havana's Jose Marti International Airport. 

Carlos Infante, a Cuba native who lives in Brooklyn and was aboard that first flight to Havana, said before he boarded the plane that he felt like he was a part of history.

"This is something we're gonna talk about for years and years and years; this is an opportunity for American people to go to Cuba," said a smiling Infante, holding his boarding pass in front of him.

Infante said he treasured the freedom to travel to his country of birth, direct from New York, for the first time in at least 50 years.

"I can't explain, it's something that's in your heart," Infante said. "I don't have words to say how I feel -- this is a beautiful day."

The weekly charter flights will leave JFK at noon each Friday, with a scheduled landing time in Havana at 3:30 p.m. Return flights leave Cuba at 4:30 p.m. and land in New York around 8 p.m.

While operated by JetBlue, the flight is being offered by Cuba Travel Services, and travelers should make arrangements directly with the carrier service provider at cubatravelservices.com.

A smaller airline, Sun Country, has been offering direct flights between JFK and Havana for several months. JetBlue is the first major carrier to do so. 

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Lake Waramaug Closed Due to Water Quality Issue

Rocky Neck at Full Capacity

Canton Police Searching for Person in Distress on Farmington River


Canton police are in the preliminary stages of looking for an individual in distress on the Farmington River.

The person is believed to be clinging to a tree branch below a parking area near Routes 44 and 179.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Police Identify Man Found Dead in Watertown Well


Police have identified a middle-aged man whose brother found him dead in a well at his home in Watertown on Thursday who they say may have been there for days.

Investigators said 58-year-old James McAdam's brother hadn't heard from him for several days and went to check on him at his house at 264 French Street. There he found the man face-down in a well.

The chief medical examiner's office has conducted an autopsy on the body, but police said the "cause and manner of death are pending further studies."

Police said the man apparently fell in and became lodged about 5 feet down into the well, which extends at least 25 feet into the ground. Investigators believe he was dead for at least a day or two before his brother discovered his body.

While the incident is still under investigation, police said it was likely an accident. The man apparently had a rope with him to retrieve water from his garden when he fell in. The well's wooden cap had been removed and police found tools nearby.

The medical examiner is working to determine the man's cause of death. Police speculate he may have drowned.

The case remains under investigation.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Crash on Route 2 West in East Hartford Stalls Traffic

Car Hits Pole in Rocky Hill

Double-Decker Bus Strikes, Pins Man Walking in NYC


A double-decker sightseeing bus struck a man walking in Greenwich Village Friday afternoon, dragging him several feet and pinning him beneath the vehicle, fire officials and witnesses said.

A witness told NBC 4 New York the bus was turning left onto West Fourth Street when it struck the man in the crosswalk near Sixth Avenue and dragged him several feet. The witness said the man was screaming as he was being dragged; photos showed blood streaking the pavement near the bus.

A woman who works nearby and ran to help said the man was conscious. She said she repeatedly asked his name, but he kept screaming "at the top of his lungs."

"He really couldn't say his name because it was so, so much excruciating pain," said Shante Service. "When I looked under the bus, his leg was dislocated. I could see flesh and bone." 

Another witness said emergency responders had to use blocks to lift the bus off the victim. Police said he was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition with severe injuries to his leg.

Images on social media showed a crowd of bystanders around the scene as police cars and emergency vehicles swarmed the area.

The bus driver remained at the scene. He has not been charged, according to police. 

In a statement, a spokesman for the Twin America bus company said, "We are aware of this the accident this afternoon and deeply regret this very unfortunate incident. We are fully cooperating with the authorities while this accident is being investigated."

Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York

Repairs Continue on Stuck Metro-North Bridge


The northern part of the Devon Bridge between Stratford and Milford is back in the closed position as crews work to repair it over the Fourth of July weekend to restore train service to all tracks.

Eastbound and westbound trains will use the southern side of the bridge on Metro-North tracks 2 and 4 for the time being. The bridge has "two drawbridge spans that open vertically to allow marine traffic to pass underneath."

A portion of the Devon Bridge became stuck in the upright position during routine testing at 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, choking rail traffic from four tracks to two and slowing train travel Wednesday into Thursday.

But now the northern part of the bridge is back in the closed position. Crews will keep checking it over the next few days and make any needed repairs to restore train service to all tracks in the area.

The bridge was built in 1904. New Haven line, Waterbury branch, Amtrak and Shore Line East trains use it to get over the Housatonic River to and from Stratford to Milford.

Metro-North advises travelers to listen to announcements at the stations, check news outlets for updates, sign up for e-mail and text message alerts at www.mymtaalerts.com and follow Metro-North on Twitter at @MetroNorth.

An unrelated electrical failure that affected service between New York City and Stamford early Thursday morning was repaired, according to Metro-North.

2016 Hopefuls Flood NH for July 4 Weekend


Presidential hopefuls are going on parade throughout the Granite State this July 4. 

At least seven 2016 candidates will spend Independence Day courting residents who will vote in the nation's first presidential primary contest next year, according to scheduled logged in necn's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker, making a combined 14 stops.

While parades are by far the most popular stops during the holiday tour — at least 11 such appearances are expected — candidates' Saturday calendars also include breakfasts, cookouts and grassroots events. Revelers along the routes in Amherst and Merrimack will watch no fewer than three candidates strut by. The resort town of Wolfeboro, where 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney owns a home, will be greeted by at least two GOP hopefuls.

For some candidates, one parade just isn't enough. Republicans Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry, as well as Democrat Lincoln Chafee, are marching in two apiece. Perry, the former Texas governor, appears to have the busiest public schedule on Saturday so far, stopping by parades in Amherst and Merrimack before greeting crowds at the Windham GOP July Fourth Cookout later in the day.

The holiday hand-shaking isn't limited to July 4 itself. Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, has been barnstorming the state since making his official entry into the race on Tuesday, including several events on Friday. Perry and Democrat Hillary Clinton are also getting their patriotic partying started early with Friday events, while former New York Gov. George Pataki and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both candidates for the GOP nomination, will join New Hampshire residents wishing America a belated birthday with Sunday celebrations.

Photo Credit: AP

Burglars Sneak Through Unlocked Windows in Hamden


Hamden police are warning residents of overnight burglaries happening in the southern region of town and urging them to lock windows and doors.

Police said three burglaries over the past month happened during the early morning hours, while the residents were sleeping. In most cases, burglars got in through unlocked kitchen windows and grabbed car keys and personal belongings left on kitchen counters.

Cars, jewelry, electronics and money are among the items stolen.

Police said similar burglaries have been reported in nearby towns.

The Hamden Police Department is reminding residents to:

  • Lock all doors and windows at night and when leaving home
  • Leave on external lights
  • Remove all valuables from the kitchen and car
  • Install and activate an alarm system
  • Have a fully charged phone at hand and call 911 to report suspicious activity
  • Develop a neighborhood watch of sorts

Anyone with information on the Hamden burglaries is asked to call police at 203-230-4040 or 203-230-4000.

Hazardous Materials Burn in Taftville Dumpster Fire


Firefighters in the Taftville section of Norwich doused a dumpster with 2,000 gallons of water Friday afternoon when it went up in flames, igniting hazardous and construction materials outside a condo complex.

Officials with the Taftville Fire Company said crews were called to the condos on Route 97 after the dumpster caught fire around 1 p.m. Friday.

Firefighters diverted runoff from storm drains to keep it out of the water supply.

It's not clear what caused the fire.

Photo Credit: Taftville Fire Co. No. 2

Quilts of Valor Helps Veteran Honor Wife's Memory


There are many memories in Stanley Dabrowski’s New Britain home: Memories of war, captured in the memorabilia, medals and photos that hang on his walls. They tell his personal story of surviving one of the bloodiest battles of World War II – the battle of Iwo Jima.

“Thirty days of brutal, unrelenting combat,” the corpsman recalls.

But there are also tender memories as well, particularly of his late wife of 62 years. Wanda Dabrowski was an avid quilter. After her death in 2013, Stanley didn’t want Wanda’s massive fabric collection to go waste.

“I decided that the best place for all that fabric would be the Quilts of Valor,” he explains.

The nonprofit Quilts of Valor is a worldwide network of volunteers on a mission to honor veterans and active duty military personnel by presenting them with handmade patriotic quilts. The organization was founded in 2003 by a Delaware “blue star” mother when her son deployed to Iraq as a Humvee gunner.

“So she turned to her sewing machine as many of us do in times of stress and she made a quilt,” explains Jane Dougherty, co-coordinator of the Connecticut chapter.

To date, more than 120,000 quilts have been crafted and presented to wounded warriors in military hospitals, to units coming home from overseas, and to individual veterans on the home front. But no matter how or where they’re given, the impact is always powerful.

“You wrap your veteran in the quilt,” says Dougherty, describing a typical quilt presentation ceremony. “You give them a hug. And particularly if it’s a Vietnam vet, the very first thing you say is ‘welcome home.’ And there are tears. And a lot of vets won’t let go.”

“When you give someone a quilt, you’re giving them a little piece of yourself because you’ve put all that time into it,” explains Cindy Guendert of Bristol, who turned to quilting as a creative outlet after retiring from her job. “If I can do something that’s going to bring some comfort and some healing to someone who’s been through something that I can’t imagine how awful it was… it gives it meaning, instead of just sewing pieces of fabric together.

It’s a comforting way to say “thank you.” And for Stanley –  who received a quilt of his own at a presentation at the Iwo Jima memorial in Newington – it’s a way for Wanda’s love to live on.

“I am positive that if and when one of these warriors receive a quilt, he realizes that it was something done just for them, by somebody by hand, with so much love,” says Dabrowski. “It really is a wonderful thing.”

Quilts of Valor’s Connecticut chapter holds Sew Days throughout the year for interested volunteers. For more information email jane.dougherty@QOVF.org or visit http://www.qovf.org/.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Girl, 17, Fatally Struck By Car in Danbury


A teenage girl is dead and another teen is in the hospital after a car struck them in Danbury Thursday night.

Rebecca Draper Townsend, 17, of Brookfield, was walking toward Stanziatos Wood Fired Pizza with Benjamin Arne, 17, of New Fairfield, when a 2007 Hyundai Elantra struck them as they were crossing Lake Avenue Extension from the Stop and Shop parking lot. A 23-year-old woman from Brookfield was driving the car in the crash that killed Townsend.

Police received a 911 call around 9:30 p.m reporting that a car had struck two pedestrians.

An ambulance transported both teens to Danbury Hospital. Townsend was pronounced dead there a short time later. Arne is still in the hospital being treated for injuries and is listed in serious but stable condition.

The accident is still under investigation. Danbury police are asking anyone with information or who may have witnessed the accident to please call Officer Lance Brevard or Officer Marcel Kruijs at 203-797-2156.

Officials Urge Safety on Lakes, Rivers Over Holiday


More than 1,000 boats took to New Milford's Candlewood Lake Friday, and authorities are reminding residents to stay safe on the water this holiday weekend.

Sgt. Keith Williams has been with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection's Environment and Conservation Police for seven years. He patrols the water each day during the busy season that starts in April and ends in October.

"A lot of the things we see as far as the violations are speeding within 100-200 feet of shoreline between a vessel or a jetski," Williams said. "A lot of people don’t really pay attention to that when they go through the class."

Even though boat operators receive training, much of it gets forgotten over many years.

WIlliams says people need to remember basics on the water like not operating a boat while under the influence of alcohol, make sure there is an observer watching someone behind a boat who is water skiing or on a raft, make sure everyone in the boat has a life preserver and assure that all children are wearing them.

"A lot of them are just unaware of them because they just don’t follow up on them and they’re out here just trying to enjoy themselves and maybe they’re in violation of one of the boating violations. It does happen a lot," Williams said.

Robbers Lead Cops on Wild Chase Through Neighboring Towns


Four people, including a 14-year-old, are facing charges after robbing a Hartford liquor store Thursday night and leading officers on a chase into Newington and West Hartford, according to police.

Police said Hartford community service officers spotted two of the suspects leaving the Franklin Avenue Package Store on Franklin Avenue around 11 p.m. Thursday. One was wearing a red hooded sweatshirt and black mask. The second, clad in a dark-colored sweatshirt, was carrying a duffel bag.

A store clerk ran out behind them and pointed to the robbers’ getaway car, a black Nissan Maxima. Officers jumped in their cruiser and turned on the siren, chasing the Nissan eastbound onto Bodwell Street, according to police.

The getaway car accelerated and led police through the south end of the city and into Newington and West Hartford, where officers managed to stop the vehicle and take four suspects into custody.

Nolan Evans, 22, of Hartford, was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, carrying weapons in a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment, possession of a sawed-off shotgun and criminal possession of a firearm

Traistyn George, 23, of Hartford; and Jose Montanez, 21, of Hartford; were each charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle and reckless endangerment.

A fourth suspect, a 14-year-old, was charged with first-degree robbery, conspiracy to commit first-degree robbery, carrying a weapon in a motor vehicle, reckless endangerment in the number of motor vehicle violations.

Police said the teen was taken to the Hartford Juvenile Detention Center on Broad Street.

Police Seek Driver Who Struck Officer After Naugatuck Fireworks


Naugatuck police are asking for the public's help in identifying a male driver who they say hit a police officer with a car after the town's fireworks show on Thursday.

The driver, traveling southbound on Church Street in Naugatuck, ignored a police officer signal ling for the motorist to stop at about 9:45 p.m., according to police. The car continued through the intersection with Maple Street and almost hit pedestrians crossing and a police officer, police said.

The vehicle got stuck in traffic on the eastbound side of Maple Street near the Maple Street Bridge by Nardelli's. Three more police officers confronted the driver and commanded him to stop, but he wouldn't obey police orders, police said. Instead the driver "aggressively maneuvered the car back and forward several times and jumped the sidewalk located on the bridge," police said.

"I was shocked and surprised when I heard what had happened, it's just so disrespectful to the police officers, and the community," Diane Nardelli said. "I can't believe someone would actually do something like that."

When the car traveled onto the sidewalk, the vehicle hit a police officer in the leg. The driver sped east on Maple Street in the direction of May Street, police said.

The Naugatuck police officer, whose name hasn't been released, was treated at the hospital for minor leg and ankle injuries and released from the hospital. He wasn't seriously injured.

Police described the vehicle as a grey or gold VW GTI or Golf with a partial CT registration of 5A. The driver is described as a man who is thin and probably about 18 to 23 years old. A woman about the same age range with blonde hair was in the car with him, police said.

Police seek information on the vehicle and identity of the driver.

Naugatuck police ask anyone with information to call the department at 203-729-7106.

Photo Credit: Naugatuck Police Department

Can You Help This Boy Genius Accomplish His Dream?


A Danielson boy needs your help to make his dream come true: to visit the Fermilab in Chicago.

Russell Farnsworth is your average 13-year-old boy with lots of hobbies, including playing the saxophone, solving a RUBIX cube, looking through his telescope and reading.

What the eighth grader is really interested in is the universe – and all the matter that makes it up.

His dream is to visit the Fermilab in Chicago, home of the nation’s premier particle physics laboratory. It’s where physicists are working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

Russell is one of three finalists in the nation to be one step closer to visiting the lab. In order to do that, he and his mentor, Tom Arabia, created a video to show why he deserves to go to the Fermilab.

"For the video, you have to talk about why you think the LHC rocks," said Russell.

To win the contest, he has to receive the most votes on rockthelhc.com. Russell said winning would be a dream come true.

"I love science and I really want to pursue my dream of becoming an astrophysicist," he said.

Russell wants to make a difference in the world of science.

"So if he gets to see real people doing that and how they do it and get to meet them, it can make it even more tangible to him. Maybe he can see himself in that place in the future," said Arabia.

Voting ends July 19.

Waterbury Postpones 4th of July Fireworks Due to Rain


Waterbury has postponed its 4th of July fireworks due to impending rain.

The fireworks were supposed to be Saturday night at Holy Land USA, but possible rain in the forecast has stalled those plans. The city has rescheduled the fireworks to Sunday at 9:20 p.m. at the same location.

The decision was made this spring to move the fireworks show to the cross of Holy Land, just up the hill from dozens of homes on Ridge Street.

"I think it's awesome," Adrianna Solla said. "We have such a great view. The only thing I'm worried about is the congestion of the road cuz it's a one way street."

There will still be people coming to her neighborhood from out of town Saturday even though the fireworks aren't until Sunday.

"One of my daughters called me and said, 'oh I guess our picnic is off for tomorrow cuz I guess they canceled the fireworks,' but we still are gonna have our picnic, that's what we had planned," Norberto Rodriguez said.

A neighbor who said he spent $100 on meat is worried about what he'll do if his friends in Providence decide to pass up a now fireworks-free cookout Saturday. "Sunday's a work night," he said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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