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Aug 102013

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(EAST HAVEN, Conn.) — The bodies of four people have been recovered from the remnants of two homes that burned after a small plane crashed into them yesterday in East Haven, Connecticut. 

Two children, who were in one of the homes at the time of the crash, were among those killed. The other two bodies found were those of the pilot and his teenage son. The two were traveling to look at colleges.

The small turbo prop plane took off from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and was on its way to New Haven, Conn., when it crashed into two houses in East Haven on approach to Tweed New Haven Regional Airport on Friday.

The children are believed to be a 1-year-old and a 13-year-old.

Investigators are still searching for any sign of what may have caused the crash.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

May 182013

Comstock/Thinkstock(FAIRFIELD, Conn.) — Federal transportation officials began their investigation Saturday to determine what caused two commuter trains to crash head-on in Connecticut during the Friday rush hour.

At least 70 people were injured Friday when a Metro-North train derailed and barreled straight into the path of another train headed in its direction just outside Bridgeport, Conn.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the scene Saturday morning to begin surveying the twisted rail cars that remained on the tracks.

“We’ll be looking at how the crew behaved and how the crew operated the train,” NTSB member Earl Weener said.

During the investigation, which is expected to last seven to 10 days, officials will also examine the braking performance of the trains and the conditions of the wheels, cars and track to see if they played a role in the crash, Weener said.

Gov. Dannel Malloy said three people remained in critical condition on Saturday, while six others also remained hospitalized for their injuries. Many of the injured suffered bruises, cuts and minor fractures and were able to be treated and released, according to officials at two area hospitals.

A Metro-North train was traveling east from New York City’s Grand Central Station to New Haven, Conn., when it derailed at 6:10 p.m., Weener said.

The jolt of the impact was so strong, passengers said it caused bodies to be flung around the cars.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., was among the elected officials who surveyed the damage and called the scene “absolutely staggering.”

He said the injuries could have been much worse and lauded the investment in infrastructure for saving lives.

“Investment in quality of transportation is probably one of the lessons we will learn from this accident,” he said.

While the wreckage remains on the tracks, transportation in the Northeast Corridor is expected to be crippled.

Two of the tracks on the line were already out of service for a project, and the remaining two tracks were damaged in the collision, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates the Metro-North Railroad.

Amtrak’s service between New York City and Boston, which operates on the tracks where the accident occurred, was also suspended indefinitely.

Commuting could be a challenge on Monday for those around Bridgeport who rely on Metro-North to get to and from work in New York City.

Malloy said a system was being set up to move people from Bridgeport to nearby train stations.

“This is going to be with us for a number of days,” he said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 032013

ABC News/ ( HAVEN, Conn.) — A five-time Connecticut state representative issued an apology and was stripped of his leadership post for what some people construed as a lewd remark to a teenage girl.

“If you’re bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here,” State Rep. Ernest Hewett can be heard telling a 17-year-old girl during a Feb. 20 committee meeting.

The teenager had just testified in support of more funding for the Connecticut Science Center’s ambassador program.

She had told lawmakers that by participating in the program, which included handling snakes and turtles, she had become more outgoing.

Hewett told ABC News’ New Haven affiliate WTNH-TV that he meant nothing sexual by the comment.

“I have apologized to her for what was taken out of context,” he said.

In a statement, Matt Fleury, the president and CEO of the Connecticut Science Center said he believed the apology was sincere and passed it on to the student, who also accepted it.

Since the incident, Hewett has been removed as deputy speaker of the House, but some Republicans are calling for even stronger action, calling Hewett’s comment a “disgrace and embarrassment.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 012013

ABC News(WESTON, Conn.) — A popular Connecticut high school basketball coach will be reinstated to his position this weekend after allegedly being forced out when a controversial, decade-old film he appeared in was emailed to his bosses.

The film in question is called Forbidden Fruit, and it was directed and produced by Steve Moramarco, who went on to act in the hit sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and produce the 2006 feature Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. Coach Mike Hvizdo was shocked when the film, which he had almost forgotten, resurfaced and cost him his job.

Hvizdo will be reinstated as head basketball coach for Weston High School in Weston, Conn., on Saturday.

“I couldn’t be happier to be reinstated as head coach of Weston High School boys’ basketball,” Hvizdo said in a joint statement with the school administration this afternoon. “This has been a tough few weeks for everyone and I want to thank all those involved – including players, parents, friends and family, and especially my wife Carissa, who has been my rock – for all of their love and support. ”

The school administration and Hvizdo “worked through the issues surrounding Mr. Hvzido’s resignation,” and, “clarified the district’s expectation concerning his performance,” according to the statement.

“We welcome Mr. Hvizdo back to our coaching staff, and we wish him and the boys basketball team every success in the future,” the statement said.

When the video was sent to his bosses, Hvizdo defended himself by saying it was not illegal or pornographic, and he was just an actor. The school superintendant disagreed, saying the film was sexually explicit and vulgar.

After meeting with Hvizdo, the school said he agreed to resign. The principal sent a letter to parents saying he quit because of “personal reasons” and that he “could not lead the program the way it needs to be led.”

Hvizdo said he was forced out, but the community rallied around him.

“It’s time to move forward and I am excited to get back on the sidelines with my team on Monday night for our first state playoff game,” he said.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 252013

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — A trio of lawmakers representing Newtown, Conn., where Sandy Hook Elementary School is located, wrote a letter to Facebook chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to complain on behalf of families and victims who say they may have been exploited for their loss by bad actors on the popular social media site.

Since the tragedy Dec. 14, Facebook users have created hundreds of unofficial tribute pages dedicated to the victims of Sandy Hook, including more than 100 tribute pages for first-grade teacher Victoria Soto, who is hailed as a hero for shielding her students as she was gunned down in the shooting in which Adam Lanza allegedly killed 26 students and teachers.

But not all of the people behind some of the tribute pages have good intentions.

The letter, which is signed by Democratic Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, asks Zuckerberg to remove Facebook pages cited in complaints submitted by Donna Soto, Victoria’s mother, and Kaitlin Roig, a Sandy Hook teacher who survived the shooting, “for violating the above terms of service.”

“Many give the appearance they were created by loved ones in the names of the victims. Unfortunately, many of these pages have become vehicles for harassment, intimidation and possibly financial fraud,” the trio wrote. “Pages providing platforms for people to violate the privacy of families as they grieve, or seek financial gain through soliciting donations under false pretenses, or generating Facebook ‘likes’ for marketing purposes, should not be given quarter in the Facebook community.”

The lawmakers note that shady tributes violate several of Facebook’s terms of service, such as providing false personal information on Facebook, creating an account for someone else without permission and bullying, intimidation and harassment.

“If you do not believe these pages violate your terms of service, please detail in a written response why,” the letter reads. “If Facebook is already looking into this matter, please detail what you have done thus far to address the take-down requests from Donna Soto and Kaitlin Roig.”

Esty’s office did not immediately provide a copy of the Soto/Roig take-down request, but the congressional offices pledged to work with Facebook to address their constituents’ grievances.

“We recognize that Facebook receives a large volume of reports and requests each day, but this issue deserves and needs priority enforcement of your own well-established policies,” the letter concludes. “We trust you will do the right thing.”

A Facebook spokesperson who asked not to be identified said the company “has been working closely” with families and a foundation representing Sandy Hook victims “to identify, review, and take action” on content posted to Facebook “in line with our terms.” The source said Facebook has also created a “dedicated staff” to address concerns related to the Sandy Hook shooting, and Facebook briefed Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen on its efforts.

“Hours after the tragedy, we reached out to law enforcement to provide assistance. We are continuing to work closely with the families and the foundation representing the victims of Sandy Hook to ensure that we respond as quickly as possible to concerns,” the Facebook spokesperson said. “For the past few months, our rapid response team has acted swiftly to remove inappropriate materials flagged by the foundation and the families. We will continue to be vigilant.”

The spokesperson did not comment directly on the Soto/Roig take-down request.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio