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Expert explains the science behind the earthquakes taking place in Puerto RicoSTORRS, CT (WFSB) – Puerto Ricans make up more than half of Connecticut’s Latino population. As the island of Puerto Rico still gets jolted on a daily basis, everyone wants to know when the threat will be over. Channel 3 headed to Puerto Rico to see the damage the earthquakes have caused, and the tremors continue to happen. Experts say the tremors could last years and there’s science behind it. Above Puerto Rico is the North American plate and beneath it is the Caribbean plate. They’re shifting right now, and Puerto Rico is squeezed between the two, getting rubbed. Scientists say that’s triggering the earthquakes. Many remember Puerto Rico as beautiful sun-splashed beaches and rich history, and for much of island, these images still ring true. In the southern part of the island, it’s the complete opposite. After Hurricane Maria dismantled towns, January’s 6.4 magnitude earthquakes delivered an equally powerful blow, and the fear hasn’t subsided. <a href="" target="_blank">RELATED: Local cities helping those impacted by Puerto Rico earthquakes </a> “I’m scared because it shakes every day and it doesn’t stop,” said Abraham Nazario, earthquake victim. Many living through the natural disasters, and their loved ones watching them endure it from afar, want to know why this is happening with such force for the first time since 1918. <a href="" target="_blank">RELATED: Thousands living in tent communities after Puerto Rico earthquakes</a> “It’s kind of a random occurrence with time,” said Professor Vernon Cormier, UConn Geosciences. University of Connecticut Geosciences Professor Vernon Cormier says Puerto Rico has and always will be threatened by earthquakes, simply based on its location. “Mainly because it’s been on a boundary between two major tectonic plates,” Cormier said. Cormier says the North American and Caribbean plates are always shifting, slowly, but surely. There’s a reason why there’s robust activity now. “The plate gets stuck for a while and it’s moving by and there’s a sudden motion as the plate slips during an earthquake, so earthquakes will come and go almost randomly with time,” Cormier said. This year, the southern part of the island was destroyed, and Cormier says that too is random. “It’s hard to say, probably the shoreline itself is an expression of a fault,” Cormier said. Cormier says since Puerto Rico is sandwiched between the two plates, the next earthquake could be up north. “One is near the north coast, one is near the south coast, and earthquakes will kind of randomly alternate between the two,” Cormier said. While the entire island will always be at risk, many want to know about the immediate future. The US Geological Survey reports residents can expect daily tremors for months, then weekly ones for years. “After a large magnitude six, we could have significant aftershocks that last for months. Generally, they slowly decay with time,” Cormier said. That’s the answer the three million living on the island were hoping to hear, but they can’t rest easy because Cormier also says this 6.4 magnitude earthquake could foreshadow something bigger, but what that is, is unknown at this time. <a href="" target="_blank">RELATED: Local senator discusses lack of aid being sent to Puerto Rico following natural disasters</a> Cormier says residents of the island should be prepared because it’s a tumultuous time and will remain that way.
Man suffering from gunshot wound to the leg in HartfordHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Hartford police are investigating a shooting Thursday night. Emergency crews are treating a victim on Judson Street. The victim is suffering from a non-life-threatening injury to the leg. Police said the location of where the shooting took place is unknown at this time. There is no word on a suspect description.
Gusty winds bring cold air into the state overnight into FridayHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - A wind advisory for the state has expired, but cold air had now moved in. Winds are still blowing, with gusts reaching up to 40 miles per hour. Those wind gusts have brought in cold temperatures. Chief Meteorologist Bruce DePrest said wind chills and temperatures could dip into the teens and low 20s overnight into Friday. "The wind will ease up tonight, but it will remain quite brisk," DePrest said. A couple of flurries are possible in the northwest hills on Thursday evening. Friday will be partly sunny, windy, and cold with highs 35 to 40. A westerly wind will gust from 30 to 40 mph, and wind chill temperatures will be in the teens and 20s. It will feel more like winter, with highs between 35 and 40 degrees. The weekend appears to be dry on both days, but cold. "The mercury will dip into the teens and lower 20s by dawn Saturday, and wind chills will range from 5 to 15 above," DePrest said. Sunday will be mostly sunny, but high will only be in the mid to upper 20s. Sunday night will be clear, but there will be increasing cloudiness after midnight. "A couple of flurries or snow showers may develop as well," DePrest said. Read the complete technical discussion <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. For weather updates on smartphones and tablets, head <a href="" target="_blank">here</a> or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.
Local universities cancel trips amid coronavirus concerns(WFSB) -- Local colleges and universities are monitoring the coronavirus outbreak and taking precautions as needed, regarding school trips. Earlier in the week, the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system (CSCU) said all student trips to China and South Korea have been canceled indefinitely. Officials said they were consulting with Centers for Disease Control travel guidance in advance of other trips. On Thursday, CSCU provided an update to its community, saying all colleges and universities "must immediately suspend or cancel institutionally-sponsored travel to countries designated Level 3 (warning) and Level 2 (watch) by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)," including the countries of China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and Japan. That list of countries included in this could expand in the coming weeks and months. “It’s about planning, and hope is not a plan. Our plan is to be prepared, so when it does come, we have the tools in place so we can take care of our students, faculty and staff,” said Sal Centerino, interim chief facilities officer at Central Connecticut State University. He said he’s not trying to start a panic on campus, but just bring about awareness and an expectation of precautions that should be followed. “it’s about being prepared and taking great measures. We’ve tripled the sanitizers, having other supplies and being ready,” he said. Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Sacred Heart University said it recently made the decision to cancel a choir trip to Rome because of the spread of the virus in Italy. The group was set to travel there for spring break. “We hope to reschedule the trip, but for now, the health and safety of the choir and the entire SHU community is our priority,” school officials said in a statement. The University of Connecticut canceled this semester’s Hong Kong study abroad trip, and said it would be monitoring the situation at other locations over the coming months before the fall offerings. The university has been in touch with students abroad, advising them to take precautions.
VIDEO: New gym unveiled in HartfordThe Village for Families and Children unveiled their newly renovated facility on Thursday.
PD: 1 dead in Union after tractor-trailer hits DOT truckUNION, CT (WFSB) -- One person has died after a crash involving a tractor-trailer and a Dept. of Transportation truck on I-84 west in the town of Union. The crash happened between exits 73 and 72. As of about 2:40 p.m., the highway had been shut down. Dept. of Transportation officials said a preliminary investigation shows a tractor-trailer read-ended a DOT truck on the highway. The DOT truck was part of a lane closure for road work. Officials said the driver of the DOT truck is okay. Police did not release the identity of the person that died at this time. Follow traffic updates in the area <a href="" target="_blank">here</a>. Stay with Ch. 3 for further developments.
Health experts outline similarities between coronavirus and fluHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -- Newly-released flu numbers are showing a decrease in the number of people getting sick with the flu. This week, flu numbers are down almost one-and-a-half percent from last week, but nine more people have died, and 321 people have been hospitalized. <a href="" target="_blank">RELATED: 9 more people die from flu complications this season</a> Meanwhile, the coronavirus is ramping up around the country, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe more cases of the coronavirus are expected in the U.S. Right now there are 60 in the U.S., including those who were on a cruise ship that came from China. Doctors are explaining more about both the coronavirus and the flu, saying they are similar in some ways. “Both influenza and covid-19 are caused by virus, but they're caused by different viruses,” said Dr. Virginia Bielech, chief of Infectious Disease at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. Both viruses cause fever, cough, body or muscle aches, and fatigue. Both can be mild or severe and can result in pneumonia. Both can spread from person-to-person, by someone talking, coughing or sneezing. <a href="" target="_blank">RELATED: Spikes in coronavirus reports prompt warning from US and CT officials</a> Colleen Martinez was one of the millions of people who came down with the flu this year. “I was lucky to catch it early and get the Tamiflu, so the symptoms slowed down after the first few days,” she said. When it comes to coronavirus, doctors say there might be another way an infected person can spread it, but that’s still unknown. “Currently if you have fevers, muscle aches, cough, difficulty breathing, it’s more likely you have influenza than have covid-19,” Bielech said. Doctors do say if you haven't traveled to an area where the coronavirus is present, you have a low chance of getting it. While there is a flu vaccine, there isn't a vaccine for the coronavirus, and that could take time. “It takes a year to a year-and-a-half to develop a vaccine,” Bielech said. But with both viruses, good hygiene, like washing your hands, is key to prevention. Health experts say between 9 and 45 million people will get the flu in the United States every year. Doctors also say the coronavirus is not new. "There are four coronaviruses that have circulated for years and cause maybe 5-10 percent of upper respiratory infections or colds. These are not new viruses, the SARS-COVID-2 is a new strain of coronavirus," Bielech said. Doctors also believe the flu could continue until May of this year.
Hearing held on proposed bill to exempt breastfeeding supplies from sales taxHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Lawmakers have proposed a tax to exclude breastfeeding supplies from the sales tax. The legislature held a public hearing on the bill on Thursday. Baby formula is already exempt, and supporters of the bill say this is about fairness and consistency. Federal law requires companies to pay for certain breast pumps, but then other supplies in Connecticut are taxable. Supporters of the bill say it will also help residents with low or fixed-income feed their babies. The bill doesn’t say exactly what will be covered, but supporters say there are a lot of potential items. “They need breast milk storage bags, they need breast pads, they need replacement parts, all of these are being taxed,” said Jan Ferraro, Director of Education at Acelleron. “Long-term benefits of breastfeed, I mean babies are hospitalized less, they see the doctors less, also for moms, breastfeeding is great for mom,” said Jacqui Penda, Connecticut Breastfeeding Coalition Board of Directors. Lawmakers say they support the idea. “We all know the disproportionate impact that a tax on products like that, which are necessary, have on families,” said Rep. Jason Rojas. The question will be what impact this will have on the budge. No analysis was done for a similar bill last year and it’s not yet clear what would be covered with this exemption.
Gun owners, group of moms speak out at ammunition tax public hearingHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Gun owners are hoping to stop a proposed ammunition tax. On Thursday, lawmakers held a public hearing on the proposed tax and Moms Demand Action Against Gun Violence testified before the lawmakers against the tax. <a href="" target="_blank">RELATED: CT lawmaker proposes 35 percent sales tax on ammunition</a> A Congressional study recently found gun violence costs Connecticut $1.2 billion annually. Advocates for this new tax say the money can help reduce violence, but gun owners say it shouldn’t be their responsibility to pay for that. Gun rights advocates, however, called it an assault on their 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. “Does gun violence cost all taxpayers? It does, but why is that extra burden being placed on legally obtained ammunition,” said Walt Kupson, Middlebury CCDL member. Gun owners told lawmakers they shouldn't have to pay for services aimed at reducing gun violence. The group of mothers and lawmakers called shooting deaths in Connecticut's largest cities a growing problem. They said a way to help combat and reduce it may be taxing ammunition. "It is a creative mechanism to funding the creative work that community gun violence organization are doing to keep our communities safe," said Susan Vogel, Moms Demand Action for Fun Sense in America Connecticut Chapter. A recent proposal called for a 35 percent tax on ammo. The Connecticut Citizens Defense League argued that such a tax would put more people at risk. “Lower income individuals who typically live in more dangerous neighborhoods will likely be priced out," it said in a statement. “These residents will be disproportionately impacted by this tax.” State Representative Gillian Gilchrest of West Hartford sponsored the bill and says non-gun owners shouldn't be burdened with those costs. "That status quo is unfair to the 84 percent of Connecticut residents who choose not to own guns and ammunition," Gilchrest said. Gilchrest estimates that the bill will generate $7 million per year and that money would go toward community groups address gun violence, not advocacy groups. But opponents say it does nothing to address some of the most common problems associated with guns. Ammunition is subject to the sales tax and an 11 percent federal excise tax. No other state imposes its own excise tax on ammunition.
Local business owners worried about the impact of the coronavirusORANGE, CT (WFSB) – As the coronavirus continues to spread, not only is it impacting the health of thousands around the world, but also the economy. So many of the produce people use in their daily lives and items people buy, even many of the active ingredients in prescription medication, come from China. With the coronavirus impacting production, there’s a potential to impact businesses in Connecticut. The shelves are stocked and filled with fun at Jesse’s Toy Shoppe in Orange for more than 30 years. “We haven’t felt the impact yet, we’ve been told in the future, there’s a possibility there might be a delay with some of our product because there’s been a delay on the manufacturing end in Asia,” said Michael Hershman, Jesse’s Toy Shoppe. Michael Hershman, who owns three toy stores with his wife, says they’re all keeping an eye on the coronavirus since so many toys are made in China. “It’s a growing percentage, but there are more and more companies out there, doing their work in Europe, other parts in Asia. We’re seeing more in Korea, Vietnam, it’s spreading,” Hershman said. It’s the same story just down at the road at Lucille’s Bridal Shop. “Some of the vendors, they have their material in China, they have their factories in China, some others might have their material in house and they work with China,” said Antonietta Catania. Antonietta Catania says so far, they’ve been lucky. “We’re all aware of it, so we’re trying to make our brides also aware of it,” Catania said. Because of the coronavirus impacting China, she says rush orders are no longer an option, and when a bride-to-be spots a dress, Catania first needs to check with her vendor to see if it’s in stock. “With this happening right now, we’re like you love this gown, before you order it, let me go check. Let’s see what the delivery time is, do we have enough time because we don’t want anyone to be panicking. It’s a special day, we want everybody to be happy,” Catania said. Both business owners say they’ve recently heard from manufacturers that some workers in China are returning to the factories, so that could be good news for the businesses. Now, they just hope experts get a handle on the coronavirus before it really starts spreading the US.