WFSB - Eyewitness News

Toll protests to be held around CT SaturdayThere will be a series of toll protests held around Connecticut on Saturday, March 23rd. The protests will be held by No Tolls CT. The locations are: • Southington, 10-11 a.m., Exit 32 I-84 Queen Street • Berlin, 12-1 p.m. Lower Lane at Stop and Shop and Veteran's Park • Cromwell, 2-3 p.m. Route 3 and 372, Stop and Shop parking lot More information can be found <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.
Early Warning Weather ForecastFrom Meteorologist Mike Cameron in the Channel 3 Early Warning Forecast Center… Saturday: Snow showers ending early in the morning, then becoming partly to mostly sunny, but continued windy and chilly. Final accumulations from early morning snow will be 1-4” in the hills of northern Connecticut. Elsewhere, accumulations will range from nothing to 1”. High: 45 inland, 48 shore. Tonight: Partly cloudy and breezy. Low: 24-30. Sunday: Mostly sunny, breezy, and milder. High: 60 inland, 57 shore. Monday: Mostly cloudy; there will be a chance for rain and wet snow showers. Low: 38. High: 48 inland, 50 shore. Tuesday: Sunny, breezy, and colder. Low: 22. High: 39 inland, 41 shore. Wednesday: Mostly sunny and chilly. Low: 17. High: 45 inland, 44 shore. Thursday: Partly sunny and milder during the afternoon. Low: 22. High: 56 inland, 52 shore. Friday: Partly to mostly cloudy and mild. Low: 36. High: 60 inland, 54 shore.
Snow could accumulate in northern CT Friday nightHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Rain and snow showers will continue to move across the state Friday night, with some seeing more snow than others. This is all thanks to a system of low pressure moving up the coast. "Rain and snow showers are likely from time to time through tonight, and some snow showers could be heavy," said Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest. The snow started ramping up in the northeastern part of the state, in places like Tolland late Friday morning and afternoon. Track the precipitation with the interactive radar on the Ch. 3 app <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. Viewers shared photos with Eyewitness News on Friday, showing snow coming down in several towns. See more pics <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. A winter weather advisory is in effect for northern Litchfield County until noon Saturday, and until 7 a.m. Saturday for Tolland County. A northwest wind has picked up, with gusts reaching 40 mph by Friday night. DePrest said 1-4 inches of snow could accumulate in the higher elevations of northern CT. Other spots could see just an inch, or no snow at all. The northwest will gust to 30-40 mph and it will be quite chilly. The first weekend of spring will start out chilly and windy, with highs only in the 40s on Saturday. A gusty wind will make it feel colder. There could also be some flurries or a lingering snow shower Saturday morning. The sky will then become mostly sunny during the afternoon. Sunday will be the better of the two weekend days, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 50s and lower 60s. A cold front moves through the state on Monday bringing some rain, but before that, temperatures should reach 50 to 55 degrees. To read the full Technical Discussion, <a href="" target="_blank">click here</a>. For weather updates on smartphones and tablets, <a href="" target="_blank">head here</a> or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.
Main findings of Mueller's Russia investigation to be released as soon as SaturdayWASHINGTON (AP/Meredith) — Special counsel Robert Mueller closed his long and contentious Russia investigation with no new charges, ending the probe that has cast a dark shadow over Donald Trump's presidency. The Justice Department is expected to release the main findings as soon as Saturday. Even with the details still under wraps, the end Friday of the 22-month probe without additional indictments by Mueller was welcome news to some in Trump's orbit who had feared a final round of charges could ensnare more Trump associates, including members of the president's family. For now, the report is accessible to only a handful of Justice Department officials while Attorney General William Barr prepared to release the "principal findings" soon. The Justice Department said the report was delivered by a security officer Friday afternoon to the office of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and then it went to Barr. Word of the delivery triggered reactions across Washington, including Democrats' demands that it be quickly released to the public and Republicans' contentions that it ended two years of wasted time and money. The next step is up to Barr, who is charged with writing his own account of Mueller's findings and sending it to Congress. In a letter to lawmakers, he declared he was committed to transparency and speed. He said he could provide details as soon as this weekend. The White House sought to keep some distance from the report, saying it had not seen or been briefed on the document. Trump, surrounded by advisers and political supporters at his resort in Florida, stayed uncharacteristically quiet on Twitter. With no details released at this point, it's not known whether Mueller's report answers the core questions of his investigation: Did Trump's campaign collude with the Kremlin to sway the 2016 presidential election in favor of the celebrity businessman? Also, did Trump take steps later, including by firing his FBI director, to obstruct the probe? But the delivery of the report does mean the investigation has concluded without any public charges of a criminal conspiracy between the campaign and Russia, or of obstruction by the president. A Justice Department official confirmed that Mueller was not recommending any further indictments. That person, who described the document as "comprehensive," was not authorized to discuss the probe and asked for anonymity. That's good news for a handful of Trump associates and family members dogged by speculation of possible wrongdoing. They include Donald Trump Jr., who had a role in arranging a Trump Tower meeting at the height of the 2016 election campaign with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, and Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was interviewed at least twice by Mueller's prosecutors. It wasn't immediately clear whether Mueller might have referred additional investigations to the Justice Department. All told, Mueller charged 34 people, including the president's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and three Russian companies. Twenty-five Russians were indicted on charges related to election interference, accused either of hacking Democratic email accounts during the campaign or of orchestrating a social media campaign that spread disinformation on the internet. Five Trump aides pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with Mueller and a sixth, longtime confidant Roger Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied to Congress and engaged in witness tampering. It's unclear what steps Mueller might take if he uncovered what he believes to be criminal wrongdoing by Trump, in light of Justice Department legal opinions that have held that sitting presidents may not be indicted. In his letter to lawmakers, Barr noted the Justice Department had not denied any request from the special counsel, something Barr would have been required to disclose to ensure there was no political inference. Trump was never interviewed in person, but submitted answers to questions in writing. The mere delivery of the confidential findings set off swift, full-throated demands from Democrats for full release of Mueller's report and the supporting evidence collected during the sweeping probe. As Mueller's probe has wound down, Democrats have increasingly shifted their focus to their own investigations, ensuring the special counsel's would not be the last word on the matter. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer declared it "imperative" to make the full report public, a call echoed by several Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020. "The American people have a right to the truth," Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement. Democrats also expressed concern that Trump would try to get a "sneak preview" of the findings. "The White House must not be allowed to interfere in decisions about what parts of those findings or evidence are made public," they said in a joint statement. It was not clear whether Trump would have early access to Mueller's findings. Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders suggested the White House would not interfere, saying "we look forward to the process taking its course." But Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told The Associated Press Friday that the legal team would seek to get "an early look" before they were made public. Giuliani said it was "appropriate" for the White House to be able "to review matters of executive privilege." He said had received no assurances from the Department of Justice on that front. He later softened his stance, saying the decision was "up to DOJ and we are confident it will be handled properly." The White House did receive a brief heads-up on the report's arrival Friday. Barr's chief of staff called White House Counsel Emmet Flood on Friday about 20 minutes before sending the letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and House Judiciary committees. The chairman of the Senate panel, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, was keynote speaker Friday night at a Palm Beach County GOP dinner at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. Early in the evening, the president appeared on a balcony to wave at the crowd of more than 600 enjoying cocktails and appetizers by the pool, according to party vice-chairwoman Tami Donnally, who attended the event. Barr has said he wants to make as much public as possible, but any efforts to withhold details is sure to prompt a tussle between the Justice Department and lawmakers who may subpoena Mueller and his investigators to testify before Congress. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., threatened a subpoena Friday. Such a move would likely be vigorously contested by the Trump administration. The conclusion of Mueller's investigation does not remove legal peril for the president. Trump faces a separate Justice Department investigation in New York into hush money payments during the campaign to two women who say they had sex with him years before the election. He's also been implicated in a potential campaign finance violation by his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who says Trump asked him to arrange the transactions. Federal prosecutors, also in New York, have been investigating foreign contributions made to the president's inaugural committee. No matter the findings in Mueller's report, the investigation has already illuminated Russia's assault on the American political system, painted the Trump campaign as eager to exploit the release of hacked Democratic emails and exposed lies by Trump aides aimed at covering up their Russia-related contacts. The special counsel brought a sweeping indictment accusing Russian military intelligence officers of hacking Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign and other Democratic groups during the 2016 campaign. He charged another group of Russians with carrying out a large-scale social media disinformation campaign against the American political process that also sought to help Trump and hurt Clinton. Mueller also initiated the investigation into Cohen, who pleaded guilty in New York to campaign finance violations arising from the hush money payments and in the Mueller probe to lying to Congress about a Moscow real estate deal. Another Trump confidant, Stone, is awaiting trial on charges that he lied about his pursuit of Russian-hacked emails ultimately released by WikiLeaks. Mueller has also been investigating whether the president tried to obstruct the investigation. Since the special counsel's appointment in May 2017, Trump has increasingly tried to undermine the probe by calling it a "witch hunt" and repeatedly proclaiming there was "NO COLLUSION" with Russia. But one week before Mueller's appointment, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, later saying he was thinking of "this Russia thing" at the time. ___ By ERIC TUCKER, MICHAEL BALSAMO and CHAD DAY Associated Press Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.
Lawmakers hear input about potentially legalizing recreational marijuanaHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- The debate among lawmakers continues regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana. Lawmakers heard more input on Friday at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford. Several bills under review would <a href="" target="_blank">allow anyone 21 or older to buy pot</a>. One proposal calls on erasing <a href="" target="_blank">some minor marijuana related offenses</a>. It’s not an easy decision for many lawmakers. While recreational marijuana is legal in several states, it does come with baggage. States like California and Colorado have had some problems, which could be potential problems in CT. "If you legalize it, there may be nothing wrong with it, but that's not true,” said Guilford student Elizabeth Abernathy. She and a group of other students from Guilford High School went to the hearing on Friday to tell lawmakers to say “no.” They are concerned about the impact marijuana will have on their communities. "I don't think anyone would want to bring their children to a park if teenagers were there smoking marijuana,” said Julia Rubbo, of Guilford. Businesses could make a lot of money if recreational marijuana is legalized, but there are risks. Some say CT should follow Colorado and use some of the revenue for drug addiction and education. The Department of Public Health regulates medical marijuana. "I think CT has a terrific medical marijuana program. There are over 30,000 patients, we have the expertise to have a good and responsible program,” said Dept. of Public Health Commissioner Michelle Seagull. "If there is a community that has an uptick in crime now, at least they have the money to go in there and help take care of that problem,” said Joe LaChance, of CT Norml. A report by the Colorado Dept. of Public Health shows since marijuana was legalized recreationally, traffic deaths have increased 151 percent, and urgent care facilities are treating more illnesses and injuries from cannabis abuse. "We need time, time to train our law enforcement officers. We need time for public education,” said Amy Parmenter, of CT’s AAA. Even if a law is passed requiring people to be 21 to buy marijuana, those young people say teens will get them just like cigarettes and alcohol, and legalizing it isn't worth the problems it can create. “It’s pretty hypocritical saying you're going to get money to let people hurt themselves and just help them again. There's nothing achieved or accomplished,” said Keira Stankewich, of Guilford. While most things seem to be on the table, the one thing that's not part of this discussion is allowing people to grow their own. The other part of the discussion is what to do with those who have criminal records or are serving time for marijuana crimes, asking if there should be amnesty for them. The deadline for a vote is April 12.
Proposed bill would crack down on 'distracted walking'HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- There is a law for distracted driving, but what about distracted walking? Too many people are on their phones and not paying attention while crossing city streets, and some feel we should crack down. Many are guilty of doing it, and it’s almost a habit these days; we get a call, we answer it no matter where we are. Or we have a texting conversation while we are walking around, but the problem is we may not be paying attention to what’s happening around us. “People definitely do it, but not everybody. Nobody should do it, there are certain people that really shouldn’t do it,” said Emily Burman of West Hartford. A bill now before the legislature would allow police to give people a $20 ticket. “It kind of makes sense that people are really unaware when they walk down the streets on their phones and they’re just completely unaware of their surroundings,” said Selah Kwak, of West Hartford. Despite efforts to stop those from using cell phones while driving, some communities are seeing an increase. So, you have more distracted driving, add to that "distracted walking" and you have a bad situation. As for getting a ticket, folks have mixed feelings about that. “It’s dangerous for them, it’s dangerous for other people, but at the same time it also seems kind of harsh that you could be fined for just being on your phone, which is one of your possessions,” Kwak said. “I think it’s a good idea. If we’re going to hold drivers to a certain standard to not be on their phones while driving which is obviously a good idea, then we should also do that for pedestrians,” said Jessica Tagliarini, of West Hartford. The bill passed a hurdle this week and got approval from members on the Transportation Committee. It now goes to the Senate for a vote.
MGM: Potential Bridgeport casino isn't out of the questionBRIDGEPORT, CT (WFSB) -- The topic of casinos continues to be talked about in Connecticut. This comes after the joint venture between the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots <a href="" target="_blank">got federal approval on Thursday</a> to bring a third casino to CT. But what about a fourth? There were plans for MGM to enter Bridgeport. While MGM is still ready for that to happen, the state is noncommittal. They may be promising jobs, have beautiful renderings, and a dedicated webpage, but the reality of an MGM property in Bridgeport is still a long way away. Channel 3 reached out to MGM on Friday to see if those dreams can still come true after the federal ruling gave the East Windsor casino the green light. In a statement, MGM said “MGM remains steadfast in our view that Bridgeport is the best location in Connecticut for a commercial casino if the state is to maximize jobs, economic growth, tourism, and revenue - and a transparent, competitive process is in the state’s best interest.” But the joint venture between the Mohegans and Mashantucket Pequots isn’t the only snag here. While the announcement saturates the market even more, the biggest hurdle for MGM, or any non-tribal company, remains the state compact with the two tribes. That promises exclusivity in CT in exchange for 25 percent of slot revenue. Previously, MGM tried to sweeten the pot by promising 35 percent from all games. There are signs MGM could be making backup plans. Earlier this year, they acquired Empire City in Yonkers, which doesn’t offer table games, but it is a foot in the door in the lucrative New York market.
Fans missed tip-off of Villanova vs St. Mary's game Thursday in HartfordHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- March Madness was in full swing in Hartford for the first round of the NCAA tournament on Thursday, but there were some hiccups. Hartford hosted four games in two sessions on Thursday at the XL Center. Folks with tickets for the second session found themselves missing the start of the Villanova vs St. Mary’s game because of massive lines at the entrance. "Everyone was like, checking their phones, saying, ‘oh my God, the game is starting in 5 mins, we gotta get in here and no one was moving," said Brian Foley, who attended the games on Thursday. He was one of 16,000 fans wanting to get in on March Madness in Hartford. Foley said he was there to see the Villanova vs St. Mary's game but instead of seeing tip-off, he saw the back of the heads of hundreds of people who were still waiting in line to get in. "It was just like a mad rush to get into the building," Foley said. He traveled from out of state and ended up missing several minutes of the game. After looking at the schedule, he had a feeling this would happen. "They opened the gates about 7:30, for the second session. I saw they moved the tip to 7:45. So they were going to get everyone through in 15 minutes," Foley said. Other guests took to Twitter to post about their experiences, showing photos of empty stands as the third game tipped off. While some blamed the XL Center, others placed blame on the NCAA. Requests for info from both the XL Center and the NCAA have not yet been answered. Since there is only one session Saturday, don’t expect a repeat of what happened Thursday night in Hartford.
Man charged in New Britain murder found in South Carolina faces judge in CTNEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -- A man accused in a New Britain murder who was arrested in South Carolina earlier this month, faced a judge in CT on Friday. Benjamin Morales, 42, <a href="" target="_blank">was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Georgetown County</a>, South Carolina on March 12. He was brought back to CT Thursday night and appeared in court Friday morning, according to court officials. He's charged in the <a href="" target="_blank">murder of 28-year-old Alice Marie Figueroa</a> that happened on Feb. 4 in New Britain at a home on Elam Street. Morales and Figueroa have two small children together. He is also believed to have taken part in the disappearance of 31-year-old Virgen Maria Figueroa earlier that week. She was later found unharmed. Morales and Virgen had allegedly been dating when she went missing. New Britain Police had also <a href="" target="_blank">previously arrested two relatives of Morales</a>, Odalys Morales and Roman Morales, who are believed to have misled police or provided assistance to Benjamin. Morales is facing several charges, including murder, second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree breach of peace, second-degree harassment, and interfering with an officer/resisting. Stay with Channel 3 for updates on this story.
Parkland school shooting survivor takes her own life; mom says she suffered survivor's guilt, PTSD(WFOR/CNN/Meredith) -- The Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School community in south Florida is mourning another loss. Sydney Aiello, 19, was a recent MSD graduate who was at the school the day of the mass shooting when 17 people lost their lives. Aiello's mother said her daughter took her own life March 17, just more than a year after the deadly Feb. 14, 2018 school shooting. Aiello was close friends with Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack. Aiello's mother said that her daughter felt survivor's guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being on campus the day of the shooting last year. Aiello's mom said her daughter struggled to attend college classes because she was afraid of being in a classroom, and that she was sad but never asked for help before she killed herself. Her mom hopes Sydney’s story can help save others. Ryan Petty’s daughter Alaina died in the shooting. He said it breaks his heart that the community has now lost another MSD student. He's focused a lot of effort on suicide prevention since the Parkland tragedy, worried that traumatized students might take their own lives. Cindy Aronberg Seltzer is the president and CEO of the Children's Services Council of Broward County. She said there are many community resources like the 211 hotline and a new program called Eagles' Haven, opening next month in Coral Springs. Seltzer said the Parkland tragedy proved that we all need to work to get over the stigma associated with mental health problems and the inability to ask for help when we're struggling. She said it's important for parents to look for suicide warning signs like kids who hurt themselves or stop taking part in important activities. "Parents have to be a little more aggressive when they see those signs and not just wait for the child to ask for help but maybe to take them to those resources,” Seltzer said. Aiello loved yoga, and her mom said she wanted to dedicate her life toward helping others. Now, you can help her family by donating money to a <a href="" target="_blank">GoFundMe account</a> set up in her memory to help pay for funeral expenses. The GoFundMe page reads: Sydney Aiello was born on January 27th, 2000.She was welcomed into this world by her loving family: her parents Cara and Joe, and her brother Nick. Sydney spent 19 years writing her story as a beloved daughter, sister and friend to many. She lit up every room she entered. She filled her days cheerleading, doing yoga, and brightening up the days of others. Sydney aspired to work in the medical field helping others in need. On March 17th, 2019 Sydney became the guardian angel to many. It was a privilege to have you in our lives. Sydney, we will miss you and always love you. May you find peace in His arms.The funds will be given directly to the Aiello family to honor their daughter. Thank you. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit their website <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>.