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Newtown Action Alliance reacts to approval of Sandy Hook shooting lawsuitNEWTOWN, CT (WFSB) – Family members who lost loved ones during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting scored a big legal victory on Tuesday. <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/supreme-court-lets-sandy-hook-shooting-lawsuit-go-forward/article_21861a2b-9520-557f-93ce-e801bb54ac1d.html" target="_blank">The Supreme Court has decided</a> to allow the families to sue the gun company that produced the weapons used during the mass shooting. This decision may have an impact that extends far beyond Connecticut. There are many legal implications from the Supreme Court decision, but when Po Murray, the chair of Newtown Action Alliance heard the news, she immediately thought of the families. “I was very emotional, teared up because I was really happy for the families that have lost so much in our community,” Murray said. The court chose not to hear an appeal by the Remington Arms Company, which means victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting can sue the manufacturer of the gun used in the 2012 shooting. Murray calls the decision a game-changer. “I think this lawsuit has the potential to create significant change the way that big tobacco was toppled because of the lawsuits,” Murray said. Sandy Hook families say the rifle used in the murders should have never been sold to the public because it is a military-style weapon. The lawsuit argues Remington violated trade laws when it marketed the rifle. “I’m happy that they get to finally hold this industry accountable,” said Jackson Mittleman. Jackson Mittleman is NAA’s Federal Affairs Manager and was a middle school student in Newtown when the shooting happened. He believed the decision can help the community heal and serve as a wake-up call for gun manufacturers. “They need to accept, understand the responsibility and the accountability that they have because they are selling a very dangerous weapon,” Mittleman said. The share price of some gun manufacturers’ stocks dipped on Tuesday and the decision could also open other arms companies to similar lawsuits. Murray said it’s a victory for gun reform advocates, but it’s just one step in the journey. “We have to much work to do, including electing representatives that will pass the laws that we need,” Murray said. Murray and Mittleman say their next two goals include convincing Congress to pass an assault weapons ban and to repeal a federal law which currently protects gun manufacturers from most lawsuits. Eyewitness News reached out to Remington, but they did not respond.
Hartford city council, residents discuss concerns over homeless population in the frigid tempsHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – As temperatures keeps dropping, there is growing concern about the homeless finding somewhere warm to spend the night. The public made their concerns clear at a Hartford City Council meeting on Tuesday night. Many who spoke at the city council meeting feel there needs to be more permanent ways to help the homeless populations in Hartford. Logan Singerman is the director of outreach for the Center Church in Hartford. He wants the city to find more humane spaces for those who are homeless. “Instead of people being in chairs all night with the lights on, where if you have medical conditions your feet could swell, there could be space for people to lie down, get a night’s sleep,” Singerman said. In the past, Willie Ware Community Center in Hartford’s north end served as a warming center, but it had to be closed for repairs. <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/cities-towns-open-warming-shelters-amid-arctic-blast/article_d3c9f6ea-0594-11ea-be80-4fe47e68e3b7.html" target="_blank">List of Warming Centers Across the State </a> On Tuesday, the Arroyo Center opened as an overnight warming center. “Just on our church steps, we’ve gone from zero or one to 10 every night for the last two months,” Singerman said. As of January 2018, Connecticut had an estimated 3,976 people experiencing homelessness on any given day, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. More than 550 of those are from family households, 190 are veterans, 187 are young adults, and more than 340 are chronically homeless. One third of people who used warming centers last year came from outside of Hartford. That’s why the city council says surrounding suburban towns need to help out more. “Homelessness is part of any city, sad to say, and so the whole state needs to help. The wealthy towns and cities as well as a city like Hartford,” said Larry Deutsch, Hartford City Council member. With temperatures turning dangerously cold, many are hoping more long-term solutions can be worked out. The overnight warming center at Arroyo on Pope Park Drive will be open 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. until Saturday. A permanent warning center has not yet been announced. The city says that usually opens in December.
Meriden barber shop offers free haircuts to studentsFeel Fresh Barber Shop in Meriden offered free haircuts to students who made the honor roll.
Veteran calls on community for help after accidentally losing cash-filled envelopeMYSTIC, CT (WFSB) -- An Army veteran is putting out a call to the public after accidentally losing an envelope filled with cash. It happened on Monday as 34-year-old Ben Donovan was honoring Veterans Day by having lunch with some colleagues at <a href="https://www.facebook.com/angiespizzapier27/" target="_blank">Angie’s Pizza</a> in Mystic. He accidentally dropped a bank envelope that contained about $4,200. “Obviously it’s a lot of money. It’s a big blow. It would be nice if it was returned,” said Donovan, who was with his painting crew from All-Star Painting. The money was a deposit for a new painting contract. He checked the parking lot, retraced his steps, and Angie’s Pizza even posted about it on Facebook. “My goal and hope was people see my post on Facebook and just do the right thing,” Donovan said. Restaurant owner Harry Longinidis said customers lose things all the time, but this is a lot of money to lose. “It happens all the time people, leave stuff, find it, give it back to them. Looks like somebody just took it,” Longinidis said. Donovan said he didn’t realize the envelope was lost until they were down the road from the restaurant. “By the time I got back here, it wasn’t there,” he said. If anyone knows anything, they’re urged to contact Ben, no questions asked, by emailing Ben@ctallstarpainting.com.
I-Team: Cities and towns work to protect data from cyber attacksNEW BRITAIN, CT (WFSB) -- When it comes to ransomware attacks, many cities and towns across the state have been targets. With those many areas being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, the I-Team looked into what’s being done to protect data from hackers. The nerve center for the city of New Britain, a city of 70,000, lives in a small closet inside city hall. “We do have data information on people, records, our city clerk has birth records and real estate, so it is our duty, and we take it very seriously. It's a very big deal,” said Paul Salina, New Britain’s director of Support Services. It's not the equipment that keeps Salina up at night, it's the users and their vulnerability to outside attacks. “We have approximately just under 800 people who have email access in the city, so we want them to be sure they understand about scams and phishing techniques and so forth,” Salina said. Phishing, or an attempt by a scammer to access a network by getting real credentials through fake emails, is one of the main ways hackers access systems like New Britain’s. Any access is a potential for a ransomware attack. “We have filters, we have protections that we're constantly updating, that scan all the attachments, and they look for things that are unusual,” Salina said. As recent headlines have shown, even sophisticated defenses can be vulnerable, and cities and towns across Connecticut have paid the price. In some cases, they literally paid the price, when hackers take down an entire system and demand a payment or ransom before they'll allow access to the data. It's happening more often and it's becoming increasingly well-timed to exact the biggest pain. “We've seen basically a doubling or ransomware attacks from 2018 to 2019, and it's continuing to increase and we're seeing the attackers getting smarter in when they launch attacks. For example, we saw 15 attacks against school systems in August and September of this year, designed specifically to either force districts to pay or to delay the start of school,” said Allan Liska, of Recorded Future. Liska tracks the attacks nationwide, and offered up some examples in Connecticut where attacks against municipalities have occurred in places like Plymouth, Colchester, Portland, Hamden, Middletown, Wallingford, Watertown and Wolcott. Wolcott is one that drew news coverage after back-to-back attacks on the school district. Liska said he always advises clients not to pay the ransom, but that's not always cheap either. In Atlanta, they refused to pay a ransom of $5,200, but ended up spending upwards of $2.8 million rebuilding their network. That big number shows why protection, like good off-site backups, are so important. “Security is constantly evolving to protect against the attacks, to the attackers have to evolve to stay one step ahead of the security measures put in place,” Liska said. In New Britain, they take many of those steps, including several different backups every day, and by what's called segmentation of the network to keep an attacker from being able to shut down the whole city at once by restricting who has access to what. “There is probably no one inside the building, except the it people, who have access to everything. I don't think even the mayor has access to everything,” Salina said. The threat keeps evolving and cities and towns must too. It's become so important that later this year the state is organizing a disaster drill, the kind they normally do to prepare for hurricanes or terrorist attacks, that will mock up a widespread cyber-attack to practice a response.
Experts remind folks to bundle up children, pets amid arctic blastROCKY HILL, CT (WFSB) -- The arctic blast the state is feeling is downright dangerous, especially when it comes to children and pets. “A child who is out for 20 or 30 minutes not appropriately dressed in those temperatures could potentially get hypothermia,” said Dr. John Brancato, of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. Parents are advised to make sure children are dressed warmly, with their ears and fingers protected, because those spots are the most prone to frost bite. “The best thing is to wear layers so that there not overheated in school,” Brancato said. When it comes to pets, those little dog sweaters aren’t just a fashion accessory. Doctors say people should protect their pets in the bitterly cold weather. “Clothing like dog coats and dog sweaters will really help keep them warm when they are outside,” said Veterinarian Kristian Haviar, of the Animal Hospital of Rocky Hill. She said even if a dog has a thick coat hair, don’t let them stay outside for prolonged periods of time. When the weather gets this frigid, at a certain point it’s just not safe. “If it’s too cold for us to be outside, it’s too cold for our pets to be outside for extended periods of time,” Haviar said. A reminder for drivers is to check under your car before you start it, because cats like to curl up by a car’s radiator when it’s really cold outside. So, before you start the ignition, honk your horn to make sure you don't have an unexpected traveler you need to let out.
AAA offers some winter driving tips(WFSB) - With a bit of snow in the forecast, drivers were warned on Tuesday that they could not only be dealing with experienced drivers on the roads, but new ones as well. AAA said there are always new drivers who have never been behind the wheel while it's snowing. While it's important to be winter-ready by having good snow tires and making sure a vehicle's fluids are topped off, a driver should also take steps to be safe. "Keep plenty of space around the car," advised Kim Grehm, AAA driving instructor. "You can do everything to protect you by steering, braking. But you can’t control what’s around you. So if you have lots of space around the car, it is going to make it easier and you will have more time to react if that happens.” AAA also recommends never using cruise control so a driver can be in control during bad weather and turning on headlights so the driver can see and be seen. If a driver does skid or lose control, always steer in the direction the vehicle is supposed to be headed. Any moves must be made gradually, including speeding up and braking. "Don’t use a phone at all or you will be at the side of the road, so you don’t want to be looking at it," Grehm said. "You want to be scanning the road. You want to be looking 20 to 30 seconds ahead in order to be determining what’s out ahead and in front of you." For the latest on the forecast, read <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/rain-snow-frigid-cold-on-the-way/article_93338098-0476-11ea-a2a8-e7416581cde4.html" target="_blank">here</a>.
Cities, towns open warming shelters amid arctic blast(WFSB) -- With temps plummeting and a wind chill near zero, cities and towns across the state are opening up shelters and warming centers for folks in need. Enfield Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 383 Hazard Ave., M-Sun: 9p-7a, Jan. 14 - March 30, 2019. Doors open at 9p and are locked after 11p Hartford Hartford Public Library, 500 Main St., and its branches. For locations and hours, <a href="https://www.hplct.org/locations-hours" target="_blank">click here</a>. South End Wellness Center, 830 Maple Ave., Wednesday - Thursday 8:30a - 4p, Friday 8:30a – 2p North End Senior Center, 80 Coventry St., Wednesday – Friday 9:30a – 3p Parkville Senior Center, 11 New Park Ave., Wednesday - Friday 8:30a - 3:30p Hispanic Health Council, 175 Main St., Wednesday - Friday 8:30a - 4:30p Hispanic Senior Center, 45 Wadsworth St., Wednesday - Friday 8:30a - 4:30p Samuel V. Arroyo Recreation Center, 30 Pope Park Dr., Tuesday, Nov. 12 – Saturday, Nov. 16, 7p – 7a daily. New Milford St. Francis: Open as a shelter starting Tuesday evening For more shelters, call 2-1-1 or <a href="https://uwc.211ct.org/get-help/warmingcenters/" target="_blank">click here</a>.
Questions surrounding the safety of gymnastics rises following death of SCSU studentHAMDEN, CT (WFSB) – A Southern Connecticut State University student died after an injury sustained during practice. Now, parents and athletes are questioning whether the student’s death is a sign that gymnastics is dangerous or if this was just a fluke accident. <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/scsu-student-dies-following-gymnastics-training-accident/article_2789bd74-04a5-11ea-a599-a3facbd062e0.html" target="_blank">SCSU said 20-year-old Melanie Coleman</a> died on Sunday during gymnastics practice. The university said she sustained a spinal injury while practicing at a gym in Hamden on Friday. Now, the CIAC executive director is saying gymnastics is just as safe as any other sport. “We see a lot of discussions around various sports regarding concussions and other injuries, and gymnastics is not one of those sports that jumps to the top of the list,” said Glenn Lungarini, CIAC Executive Director. Danielle Messier, a West Hartford physical therapist says young gymnasts likely won’t be doing the moves seen at collegiate and Olympic levels. “They’re working on strength, flexibility, endurance in a very controlled environment,” Messier said. According to the CDC, gymnasts are no more at risk for injury than any other sport. For children ages five to 14, gymnastics and cheerleading together have the fourth highest rate of injury for all sports. It drops to fifth for high schools and college-aged athletes. Gymnastics’ rate of 3.4 injuries per 1,000 athletes is less than half the rate of basketball or general exercise. While gymnasts have their fair share of injuries, spinal injuries, like the one Coleman suffered, are incredibly rare. According to the National Health Institute, wrist and hand injuries are the most common for male gymnasts, followed by knee and leg as well as shoulder injuries. For female athletes, ankle and foot injuries are most common, followed by knee and leg as well as hip, groin and thigh injuries. Neck and clavicle injuries are rare, occurring in less than 1 in every 1,000 gymnasts for both male and female athletes. While some parents are raising concern online, participation in gymnastics remains up. According to the CIAC, there were 419 high school gymnasts in 2014-2015. That jumped to 446 in 2016-12017, then 475 the following year before dropping back to 458 last year. “Our participation numbers across the state for gymnastics have been pretty steady over the last few years,” Lungarini said.
Connecticut healthcare group notifies patients of data security breachROCKY HILL, CT (WFSB) – Patients of a Connecticut-based healthcare groups could be potentially impacted by a data security incident. Starling Physicians P.C. notified their patients on Tuesday that they company was the target of a cyber-phishing attack back in February. An investigation was conducted and on September 12, it was determined that the affected email accounts contained certain patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth, passport numbers, Social Security numbers, medical information, and health insurance or billing information. Starling sent notification letters to impacted patients on Tuesday. The letters provided information on steps patients can take to protect themselves against potential fraud or identity theft. The company is encouraging patients to pay close attention to their accounts for the possibility of fraud. Anyone who has questions or concerns can contact 1-888-800-3306.