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In reversal, Lamont now in favor of imposing tolls on carsHARTFORD (WFSB) - On Saturday, governor Ned Lamont widened his opinion on highway tolls. On the campaign trail, the governor said he’d only support tolls for tractor-trailers. Now, Lamont says he’s also opened to tolls for cars and trucks. The Governor clearly made his position clear on “Face The State” last October with tolls. He said he didn’t foresee them affecting passenger vehicles. But today in a video on Twitter, he reversed his vow, saying tolling on tractor-trailer trucks wouldn’t be enough to generate money to fix roads and bridges "So, I've also provided you with a second option which would be trucks as well as cars with maximum discounts for Connecticut residents and Connecticut drivers," Lamont said in the Twitter statement. The move caught drivers off guard. "One of the best things for us living in Connecticut in comparison to other parts of New England which has been we didn’t have toll roads. So, I’m not in favor of more tolls," Robin Watson of Glastonbury said. While some say they understand the tight spot the state is in financially. "I think I would be understanding of it. I know how hard it is to balance a budget," Kim O'Rourke of Cromwell said Saturday. Not taking this lightly are state Republicans. Senate republican leader Len Fasano released a statement opposing this idea. He writes in part quote: “Governor Lamont's announcement that he will be proposing tolls on all Connecticut residents is a a disappointing step backward...In addition, telling people not to worry because residents will only have to pay ‘discounted’ tolls is a disingenuous attempt to curtail criticism.” If this proposal generates support and passes from lawmakers, the governor said out-of-state drivers would provide about half of the state’s tolling revenue. A state report estimated the state would take in about $1 billion dollars a year in tolls. A group will hold a demonstration later this month protesting the idea of tolls. On Wednesday, Lamont is expected to share his two-year state proposal.
Bags of Love Charity dedicated to helping the homelessHARTFORD (WFSB) - Every night - more than 100 homeless people fill these beds at Hartford's South Park Inn shelter. Hartford Bags of Love is a charity committed to helping those who need it most. "I am homeless. I'm trying to get back on my feet and trying to do better myself and better in my life," Jorge Laureano said Saturday. "Our mission is to make the Ziploc bags filled with essentials for the homeless and the less fortunate that they might need," Tiernan Cabot said. The 'bags of love' have toiletries, snacks and inspirational messages. Cabot started the project with his family two years ago after a conversation with a homeless man touched his heart. "It just made me realize that there are people in this world who need it more than us," Cabot said. They need these things and we already have these things and we're privileged to have them." The Cabot family has been running the project out of their home and they say its not difficult. "We're not any better than them," Mark Cabot said. "Maybe our circumstances have put us in a better situation but we're all human and we just have to treat each other like that." Since the project started about two years ago, more than 2,000 bags have been given out. "You have young man here who is both kind and wise beyond his years because he knows that helping those who need help most strengthens all of us," Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said. Folks who work at the shelter say resources are often limited, so they depend on the donations. "It could lead to them to have a better life so it makes you really happy to know that," Tiernan Cabot said. For more information, please visit the <a href="https://hartfordbagsoflove.com" target="_blank">Bags of Love website</a>.
Early Warning Weather ForecastFrom Meteorologist Mike Cameron in the Channel 3 Early Warning Forecast Center… Tonight: Mainly clear and cold. Low: 15-25. Sunday: Mostly sunny and seasonably chilly. Increasing cloudiness toward evening. Light snow developing at night. High: 39 inland, 42 shore. Monday: Light snow tapering off during the afternoon. Accumulations of 1-4” possible. Low: 23. High: 34 inland, 37 shore. Tuesday: Mostly sunny and cold. Low: 18. High: 36 inland, 38 shore. Wednesday: Cloudy with snow or a wintry mix developing. Low: 17. High: 32 inland, 34 shore. Thursday: Snow or a wintry mix in the morning, then mostly cloudy in the afternoon. Low: 27. High: 38 inland, 40 shore. Friday: Partly sunny. Low: 20. High: 39 inland, 40 shore. Saturday: Increasingly cloudy. Low: 22. High: 48 inland, 50 shore.
Waterbury Police searching for 3 missing childrenWATERBURY (WFSB) - Police in the Waterbury are searching for three missing children Saturday afternoon. According to police, 7-year-old Maddison McGrath, 5-year-old Dylan McGrath and 2-year-old Maryah Matthew are missing and believed to be in the custody of their mother, Crystal McGrath. According to police, Crystal Mcgrath is allowed supervised visits with her children but violated the conditions when she left a McDonald's restaurant on Reidville Drive this afternoon. Maddison is described as a black female with brown eyes and black hair. She is about 4'0" and weighs about 40 Pounds. Dylan is described as a black male with green eyes and brown hair. He is about 4'0" and weighs about 50 pounds. Maryah Matthew is described as a black female with brown eyes and black hair. She is about 1'0" and weighs about 30 pounds. All three children are believed to be with Crystal McGrath who is operating a red or maroon sedan, believed to be either a Honda or Volvo with unknown tags. Crystal McGrath was last seen wearing a black shirt and black pants/tights. She is believed to be in the company of her boyfriend, Lester Joy. Anyone with information is asked to call Waterbury Police at 203-574-6911.
Archdiocese of Hartford continues Masses of ReparationThe Archdiocese of Hartford is offering Masses of Reparation as the sexual abuse scandal of the Catholic Church intensifies. The Archdiocese began offering these masses in January, after they released the names of clergy members accused of sexual abuse. On February 10th the Diocese of Norwich posted the names of 43 known clergy who have been accused of sexually abusing minors since the diocese began in 1953. One of the victims, Andrew Aspinwall, says the list doesn't tell the whole story. "It doesn't say how many they've abused, how many they raped. We're not talking sexual abuse. We're talking sexual rape here." Archbishop Leonard Blair called the crimes a betrayal. He says the Archdiocese is committed to doing everything possible to heal the wounds. "We can do better, we have to do better, and they have to stand up and take responsibility for what they did," said Aspinwall. Saturday's Mass of Reparation will be held at 11 a.m. at St. George Parish, 33 Whitfield Street, in Guilford. For more information on the Archdiocese of Hartford, click <a href="https://archdioceseofhartford.org/" target="_blank">here</a>.
Local police offer advice to avoid workplace shootingsSUFFIELD (WFSB) - It's understandable that people would try not to dwell on the horrific sights from aurora Illinois. But law enforcement agents say the truth is you shouldn't ignore this latest mass shooting. Learn from it. "The time to think about what you are going do in a crisis isn't when it's developing in front of you," Suffield Police Captain Christopher McKee said Friday. McKee says it's a good thing that children learn what to do during an active shooter situation through drills at school. But the truth is their parents are much more likely to be the victims of a mass shooting. "The majority of mass shooter incidents are at the workplace," McKee said. "And they involve work place violence. It is something that adults should think about and have awareness about." McKee says if you are ever encounter an active shooter try to run away. If you can't do that hide, and finally prepare to fight. He also said to call 911 right away because typically only police can bring these situations to a close. "Generally, what we see - individuals that are committing these heinous crimes, they're not going to stop," McKee said. The rise in mass shootings has also impacted police departments. Decades ago investigators would first secure the perimeter of an active shooter scene and wait for a swat team, now the 1st priority is taking out the shooter. "We are going in there because those seconds can save lives," McKee said. McKee hopes one day images like the ones coming from Aurora will become a rarity, but until and unless that happens remember the public and police can't ignore them. Hopefully we'll channel our grief and learn. "Things change and society changes and the law enforcement branch of government we have to respond to that," McKee said. For more information, please <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcSwejU2D0" target="_blank">take a look at this video</a>, produced by the Department of Homeland Security.
Police investigating after person struck by car seriously injuredFARMINGTON (WFSB) - Police are investigating a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian late Friday. According to officials, a vehicle struck a 57-year-old woman on 76 Main Street. Police say a vehicle was taking a left into the parking lot when it collided with the woman. According to Lieutenant Tim McKenzie the woman was transported to St. Francis Hospital for serious injuries. Police are still investigating the incident. Witnesses are asked to call Detective Jason Hughes at 860-675-2461.
Local non-profit helping startup companies in HartfordHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A local nonprofit called Reset is growing entrepreneurship and innovation in Hartford. The group just accepted 15 new companies into their accelerator program. Tucked inside a converted warehouse in Hartford, you’ll find local entrepreneurs like Eliana Cardeno. “This is Kiyomi Beauty,” said Cardeno. From sheet masks to eye cream, her business focuses on Korean beauty and skincare items delivered to your door in a convenient bi-monthly subscription box. “I was living in Korea and it started to learn more and more about Korean skincare products. I think it’s important to build a really good skincare routine and it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to do it,” said Cardeno. She’s just one of 15 entrepreneurs accepted into Reset’s accelerator program. The managing director says Reset focuses on impact driven business. “One core piece is an accelerator program which is a 4-month long intensive really try to help companies that are already operational figure out what they need to do to get to the next level,” said Sarah Bodley, Managing Director at Reset. During the 4-month accelerator program, companies also compete for $20,000. Back in 2016, Adam Lazar got first place with his product Asarasi. “We extract the sugar out of the maple sap and what you have is a pure maple sap byproduct which is sugar free pure plant-based water,” said Lazar. Now you can find Asarasi on store shelves across the country and he’s formed partnerships as far away as japan and Australia. Lazar says Reset helped shape his businesses’ identity. “There’s a community here that fosters innovation and it’s very rare to find that in other states,” said Lazar. For information on Asarasi, click <a href="http://Ireland's%20Great%20Hunger%20Museum%20is%20dedicated%20to%20Ireland's%20past" target="_blank">here</a>. As for Cardeno, she hopes Reset will help launch her business and social message on beauty. “I wanted to create an affordable product for people to not only get products but learn and educate themselves to feel more confident,” Cardeno said. For more information on Reset, click <a href="https://resetco.org/" target="_blank">here</a>. For information on Kiyomi Beauty, click <a href="http://www.kiyomibeauty.com/" target="_blank">here</a>.
Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz visits independent living center that helps people with disabilitiesHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - People with disabilities are urging state lawmakers to help them be independent. One non-profit says funding has been cut nearly $300,000, which is money that's needed to help people live on their own instead of nursing homes. Independent living centers help hundreds of disabled people. When you hear their stories, you can understand why this money is so important to them. "Not only do I get to be a productive member of society, but I get to give back,” said Jade Vail. Jade Vail had a special visitor, Susan Bysiewicz, Connecticut's Lieutenant Governor. The Hartford location is one of five independent living centers. Those with all kinds of disabilities learn how to shop, apply for benefits, and get job training. Vail went there to get help, she was homeless, but now she works here. "We want to live the same lives as everyone else. We want to be independent and productive,” said Vail. Getting though life with cerebral palsy has been challenging but not enough to keep Vail from what's most important, living on her own. State budget cuts have hurt some on their services. "These are exciting stories and I think it’s important to have public private partnerships,” said Bysiewicz. "Not only do we save the state money by providing services at the independent living centers, but we give people a sense of independence,” said Jaclyn Pinney, Independence Unlimited. The executive director for independence unlimited says it would cost much more to place people in nursing homes. That is not the way Melissa Thompson wants to live. She went blind in her 20s, she has a family and also work at the center. "It's helped me a lot. Instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself, just having these skills is very important,” said Thompson. People like Thompson help others who are disabled learn to pay bills, schedule rides and use public transportation. They're hoping the budget coming out next week restores their funding.
Lawmaker looking to ban artificial turf fields across the stateHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Cities and towns across the state use artificial turf fields and now one state lawmaker wants to ban them. There has been much controversy over these fields on whether they can cause health problems. There are some who want to ban these fields, especially those made with rubber from tires. But others say there are no studies that back up claims they are health hazards. The controversy over artificial turf is heating up across the state. Ellington voters rejected plans for an artificial turf last year because they were concerned about the cost and health effects. "I think a lot of people are concerned with this issue about plastic with the environment,” said Representative David Michel. State Representative David Michel, a newly elected Democrat, wants to ban artificial fields. He says lawmakers should know more about chemicals from pieces of recycled tires being used. "All the chemicals that go into crumb rubber fields are toxic,” Michel said. His bill sparked quite a debate as members on the Environmental Committee heard from both sides. Supporters of the fields say they may be costly, but they last longer and are cheaper to maintain. Unlike natural grass fields, which can flood and are expensive to maintain, turf fields can be used a lot more "There is evidence that grass fields have a higher rate of injury,” said Fred Balsamo. Fred Balsamo, from the CT Association of Athletic Directors supports artificial fields and says there is no proof these fields are harmful. "I am all about kids. I have grandchildren, a lot of children using these fields and the last thing we want to do is put them at risk,” said Balsamo. If there was a ban, the bill doesn't require current fields to be replaced.