WFSB - Eyewitness News

SURPRISE SQUAD: Retired veteran gets a surprise ahead of Memorial DayThe Liberty Bank and Channel 3 Surprise Squad surprised an artist and retired veteran ahead of Memorial Day.
Connecticut Sun ready for new WNBA seasonUNCASVILLE, CT (WFSB) - It's been a busy off-season for the WNBA. The league tips off its 23rd season on Friday with many teams having championship aspirations. The Connecticut Sun have been gearing up for the season. The team plays the Washington Mystics this weekend at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The players said they're optimistic due to their chemistry this season. They claim it sets them apart from the rest of the league. Channel 3 spoke with returning player and former University of Connecticut star Morgan Truck, along with members of one of the dance teams. They said they're thrilled to be in Connecticut with a dedicated fan base. "We always get a lot of fans at our games," Truck said. "I think that's one thing that we love about playing in Connecticut." "My favorite part is seeing the crowd," said Morgan, one of the dancers. "They go crazy as soon as we get out of the tunnel. We see fans going crazy, seeing the team, seeing [the mascot] Blaze." The first 3,000 fans of the regular season opener will get an orange "we believe in women" t-shirt. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. For ticket information, head to Ticketmaster's website <a href="https://www.ticketmaster.com/Connecticut-Sun-tickets/artist/860172?brand=sun&amp;extcmp=gw002821&amp;wt.mc_id=WNBA_LEAGUE_TIX_PAGE_LINK_CON" target="_blank">here</a>.
THROWBACK THURSDAY: Pitch in"Pitch in to clean up America" is the Throwback Thursday commercial for May 23.
Gov. to discuss veto threat on paid family medical leave proposalHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Paid family medical leave <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/senate-passes-paid-family-medical-leave-bill-gov-says-he/article_6e8107a2-7ca9-11e9-aadf-2b6214ec96eb.html" target="_blank">cleared a hurdle on Wednesday</a>, but it does not have the support of the governor. Despite having support from fellow Democrats, Gov. Ned Lamont said he doesn't like some parts of the proposal. He vowed to veto it. Channel 3 is expecting to hear more from Lamont about it later in the day on Thursday. The plan for paid family medical leave involves it being funded by a payroll tax on every Connecticut employee. Each employee could take up to 12 weeks off from work to care for a relative or newborn. It would also create a quasi-public board. Lamont said he wants to see more of a private-public partnership with insurance companies also involved. The idea is something Republicans agree with, but their proposal would be optional for workers. Democrats and Lamont oppose that facet. However, both parties and Lamont want to see some form of paid family leave. Lawmakers just can't seem to agree on what it should look like. "I think he will veto this bill and maybe we’ll see a better bill," said Sen. Len Fasano, a Republican. "Paid family [and medical] leave is something we have to talk about, but putting a tax on the employees to pay for it is not what should happen." "Being out of work for a week or two can be very catastrophic for many families," said Sen. Martin Looney, a Democrat. "This will provide peace of mind at the cost of a half-of-a-percent of people’s income." The state House of Representatives still needs to vote on the measure.
EARLY WARNING WEATHER ALERT: Severe storms could brush the stateHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Following a round of morning showers, parts of the state could see a touch of severe weather later in the day. The story of the day is essentially a tale of two fronts. Meteorologist Scot Haney said a warm front approaches southern New England during the day and it will be followed by a cold front that passes through Thursday night. "Severe thunderstorms will fire up to the west of New England [Thursday] afternoon, and they will reach Connecticut later [Thursday] afternoon and early this evening," Haney said. "Storms will reach western Connecticut around 5 p.m. then they will move swiftly across the rest of the state." When they arrive, the storms can be tracked with Early Warning Pinpoint Doppler <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/pinpoint_doppler_livestream/" target="_blank">here</a>. "The storms will encounter stable air as they move across Connecticut, which means they will weaken," Haney said. "However, a few strong to severe storms can’t be ruled out especially in western Connecticut." The threats from any storms that fire up would be damaging winds, torrential rain and perhaps some hail. The Storm Prediction Center put western Connecticut in a "marginal risk" category for severe weather. High temperatures for the day should range from the 60s to 70 degrees. Haney said the stormy weather should largely be over by midnight. Overnight lows may be in the 50s. Friday looks dry but windy. "The sky will be partly to mostly sunny and there will be a strong northwesterly breeze," Haney said. "Gusts to over 30 mph are likely." Temps should reach the mid-70s during the day, but could dip into the 40s by Friday night. The Memorial Day weekend continues to look good. Saturday starts out sunny, but clouds will increase by the afternoon. Temps in the 70s can be expected. Showers may arrive by Saturday night, but are expected to end by dawn on Sunday. The weather warms into 80s on Sunday. For Memorial Day itself, temps may range from 80 to 85 degrees under partly-to-mostly sunny skies. Read the complete technical discussion <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/weather/technical_discussion/" target="_blank">here</a>. For weather updates on smartphones and tablets, head <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/site/station_info/apps" target="_blank">here</a> or text "WFSB" to 23765 to download the Channel 3 app.
Actor Paul Rudd posts video supporting 'Ethan's Law'GUILFORD, CT (WFSB) - Sometimes it takes the support of an Avenger. Actor Paul Rudd posted a video on Wednesday night supporting a Connecticut gun safety storage proposal known as Ethan's Law. The proposal was born after 15-year-old Ethan Song of Guilford accidentally <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/report-regarding-guilford-teen-s-death-released/article_8783566c-ed14-11e8-a76b-3fb4edc67c29.html" target="_blank">shot himself with a gun found at a friend's house</a> last year. Ethan's Law would strengthen laws around keeping firearms safely stored. It was recently <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/safe-gun-storage-laws-proposed-on-the-federal-level/article_fe0d8a0c-7bce-11e9-b983-ef5a1a24440c.html" target="_blank">introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro on the federal level</a>. "As a parent, I really worry when my kids go to somebody's house and they have guns and they're not stored safely," Rudd said. "Regardless of where you stand on the gun issue, I think we can all agree that guns should be stored safely and out of the reach of kids." Rudd said when he learned about what happened to Ethan, he was moved. He encouraged others to learn Ethan's story by checking out the website <a href="http://www.songstrong.org" target="_blank">songstrong.org</a>, run its upcoming 5k or make a donation. "It's such a worthy cause," Rudd said. "Check it out." Rudd, who recently starred in the record-breaking box office hit Avengers: Endgame as Ant-man, is known to support charities involving children. His philanthropic work includes the Stuttering Association for the Young, the American Cancer Society and Children's Mercy Hospital.
Violent tornado that hit Missouri's capital 'felt like an earthquake'A tornado hit the Missouri capital as people slept late Wednesday night -- <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2019/05/22/us/severe-weather-wednesday/index.html" target="_blank">part of a deadly spring storm system</a> that has ravaged the central United States over the past several days, unleashing twisters, drenching rain, flash flooding and hail. More than 150 miles southwest of Jefferson City, the storm killed at least three people earlier Wednesday in Golden City, Missouri. At least 29 tornadoes have been reported over the past 24 hours, mostly in Missouri and Oklahoma, the National Weather Service said. A total of 171 have been reported since Friday. In Jefferson City, the tornado's funnel was wider than its height, and hit shortly before midnight Wednesday, sending debris as high as 13,000 feet into the air, the weather service said. "When it hit... it felt like an earthquake," Cindy Sandoval-Jakobsen said. No deaths had been reported as of Thursday morning, Jefferson City police <a href="https://krcgtv.com/news/local/violent-tornado-leaves-behind-destruction-in-mid-missouri" target="_blank">Lt. David Williams said.</a> At least nine people were transported to area hospitals in the city, Missouri Department of Public Safety spokesperson Mike O'Connell said early Thursday. "Major tornadoes across state tonight, including Jeff City," Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons tweeted. "We're doing okay but praying for those that were caught in damage, some are still trapped -- local emergency crews are on site and assisting." The danger continues for the region Thursday. Tornadoes could pose threats today from Lubbock, Texas, to Kansas City and from Columbus, Ohio, to Philadelphia, according to CNN meteorologist Haley Brink. Witnesses describe harrowing scenes Trees and poles were snapped and tossed like toys. Cars were overturned at a local dealership. "Several structures have damage, roofs torn off houses, trees and power lines down. Basically a war zone," said Eric Cunningham, who took shelter in his basement. David Bell got a weather alert that a tornado was headed his way, forcing him to pull over his truck on the side of the highway. Around him, houses collapsed and transformers blew out in flashes. His windscreen shattered and part of a house was tossed underneath his trailer, he said. "I don't even know how to explain it," he said. "I watched a bunch of transformers blown. Houses next to me completely obliterated. A house halfway underneath my trailer." Tornadoes across the state Golden City launched search and rescue missions after a possible tornado. Another tornado hit near Joplin on the eighth anniversary of an EF5 tornado that killed 161 people in that city. According to radar images, the twister passed a few miles north of Joplin. In Missouri, a husband and wife were killed Tuesday when their SUV skidded across the center lines of US highway 160 and struck a semi. Flooding in Tulsa The storm was not limited to tornadoes. Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, asked neighborhoods near a dam to leave in case the area floods due to release of water meant to keep the structure from failing. The Army Corps of Engineers is releasing 215,000 cubic feet of water per second at the dam at Keystone Lake because the water is 29 feet above its normal level. Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum tweeted that 215,000 cfs is the minimum rate they can release to keep the water in the reservoir from topping the floodgates. If the floodgates don't work, the dam could fail, Bynum said. While that dam is about 20 miles from the city, Tulsa authorities told people to be ready to leave their homes quickly if the situation deteriorates. At least one person drowned in Oklahoma after driving around a barricade on a road in Perkins, the city's Emergency Management office announced. Flooding risks Storms have repeatedly hit the same areas recently, making the Plains and the Midwest more vulnerable to flooding. Serious river flooding -- including along the already swollen Mississippi River -- is expected in the central US as more rain falls over the region in the next few days. CNN's Joe Sutton, Dave Alsup, Derek Van Dam, Haley Brink, Dave Hennen, Jason Hanna and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.
Lt. Vance reflects on days after Sandy Hook, donating toys to kids(WFSB) - Channel 3’s new law enforcement analyst Lieutenant J. Paul Vance brings all kinds of experience and knowledge to our team. While many of you know him as the face of the Connecticut State Police, his career spanned 43 years and had him filling many different roles, but he has a story he’s never shared publicly before. Channel 3 sat down with Lt. Vance to talk about the tragedy that made him a household name, and something he did right after. December 14th, 2012. One of the darkest days in the history of Connecticut, and the world. A gunman opened fired at Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 26 people, 20 of them children. In the hours and days that followed, despite being surrounded by sadness and grief, Lt. Vance remained the voice of calm. He got through those dark days with support from his wife. “See, I was very lucky. My wife was an ER nurse and a trauma nurse. She experienced a lot of things in her career, that I experienced in mine,” Lt. Vance said. He also got the support through his team. “A great team, quite frankly, and that was so important, and they don't get enough credit,” Lt. Vance said. While they spent long days in Sandy Hook, there was something else on Lt. Vance’s mind. Christmas was coming, and he had an annual tradition in jeopardy of not happening. Each holiday season, he and other troopers would deliver toys to the NICU at UConn. “I had a grandson born prematurely, he’s 12-years-old now, but when he was born hit fit in my hand. I can remember going there and visiting and I held him on Christmas and I remember seeing all these other babies in the NICU, and I was with another trooper and I can remember saying, ‘there's got to be other children, brothers and sisters of these babies and what do they have,’” Lt. Vance said. But that year, there was no time to collect toys. Channel 3’s Renee DiNino happened to call Lt. Vance to check in on him and his troopers. When he mentioned the situation, she knew she needed to help. DiNino had hundreds of leftover toys from a toy drive she had done for Sandy Hook, so on December 19th, they were loaded into an unmarked van and driven to UConn in Farmington. “That day was tremendous. We had all my nurse friends waiting for us to come, because we did it, year after year, after my grandson was born, it was something that was falling through the cracks because we couldn't get it done. And you made it happen for us, we took a little time, we snuck away, no press, we don't do for anything like that, it was to make sure those families of all those families were taken care of,” Lt. Vance said. It gave Lt. Vance and his troopers a moment of peace, in what had been an incredibly difficult few days. “We were proud of the fact we were able to get that done with your help, it made a difference, believe me it made a big difference, that we didn't interrupt that year because of the tragedy. Like I said we high fived each other, and alright, let’s go, let’s get back to work,” Lt. Vance said. Lt. Vance says his strength in those dark days came from his team, and from experience. He, like other first responders, has been at his share of tragedies, including the death of trooper and good friend of his. He said that was one of the toughest times for him to be a spokesman for the state police. Meantime, retirement doesn't mean rest for him. In addition to being Channel 3’s law enforcement analyst, he's been spending time with his family, including his wife of 47 years. He coaches boy’s basketball, and he golfs, or as he likes to say, "he hits the ball."
Middlebury woman uses health scare to create dream animal sanctuaryMIDDLEBURY, CT (WFSB) - Growing up, a local woman loved animals and wanted to do anything to help them. It took a health scare to make her dream a reality, and now Lisa Miskella is quietly saving lives, one at a time. “This is Matilde. She was a baby at the auction in October,” Miskell said. Each of the beautiful animals on Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary were rescued, and each has a heartbreaking story to tell. From 4-week-old chicks just dropped at her doorstep, to baby goats she saved from being slaughtered. “So, this is Cardi. She was found in Maine. She has frostbite still on her comb,” Miskella said. In 2018, Miskella started the Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary in her home in Middlebury, turning it into a safe haven for abused or unwanted farm animals. Her inspiration derived from a setback. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2012, her life’s purpose changed. “After that I just felt I needed my life to be worth something. I needed to make a difference,” Miskella said. While she recovered, she helped these animals recover, all of them healing together and thriving at the farm. “This is Libby and her mom, Milly and they were at the slaughter auction. They used to be residents of a petting zoo and they were just considered not cute and cuddly anymore, so the owner discarded them to the slaughter auction,” Miskella said. While 35 animals are currently in Miskella’s care, she wants to be able to help many more. Her goal is to build a facility to care for more than 100 animals. A sketch showing what she hopes to create, everything from a number of barns and pastures to a pumpkin patch, Christmas tree farm, and education center. “You feel helpless at times. You try to get the word out there, but there’s just so many,” Miskella said. Despite some painful experiences along the way, the story for these animals ends with a happily ever after, thanks to Miskella. “I was always destined to do something with animals and this was it. I found my calling and I’m not going to stop,” Miskella said. Freedom Farm Animal Sanctuary runs entirely on donations and sponsorships. If you’d like to help Miskella continue her mission, click <a href="https://www.freedomfarmanimalsanctuary.org/#/" target="_blank">here</a>.
Senate passes paid family medical leave bill, gov. says he'd vetoHARTFORD, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut remains the only state in the region without paid family medical leave, but lawmakers continue to be hopeful that they can change that. On Wednesday evening, the Senate passed the paid family and medical leave bill. This bill would provide benefits to Connecticut residents in order to care nor a newborn baby or sick family member. However, Gov. Ned Lamont said he would veto their bill. "This is not a bill I will support," Lamont said on Wednesday afternoon. FMLA, or Family Medical Leave Act, would make all employees pay to cover those who need time off to take care of a relative. Employees could take up to 12 weeks, and the plan would run by quasi public board. "Being out of work for a week or two can be very catastrophic for many families. This will provide peace of mind at the cost of a half of a percent of people's incomes," Sen. Martin Looney said. The bill passed in the Senate 21 to 15. Lawmakers have said that several things need to happen before paid family medical leave can become a reality in the state. They said wages, what's considered 'a family,' and what percentage should be covered are among the items that need to be hashed out. A petition in favor of paid family medical leave was delivered to Lamont earlier this spring. It contained 5,000 signatures. Lamont's <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/news/lawmakers-consider-legislation-over-paid-family-leave/article_dc74e36e-614c-11e9-ae60-2f4e778593be.html" target="_blank">initial bill</a> allowed for up to 3 months, with compensation varying depending on salary. "We are starting up at $400 million company, a big new insurance program. The idea it will be lead by this top heavy bureaucracy, 13 or 15 people, you need to need a super majority to get anything passed," Lamont said on Wednesday. Lamont said the Democrats plan is not a recipe for success, but the Senate president is planning to run the bill anyway, saying they can work out the details later. "So we have some disagreements on how you get there, but I agree with Senator Looney and Senator Duff this is our top priority and we can get there," said Republican State Senator Julie Kushner. Republicans have unveiled their own plan, which includes insurance companies. Read it <a href="https://www.wfsb.com/republican-plan-for-paid-family-medical-leave/pdf_689819b2-7cc6-11e9-8fed-5b0ba0ce4402.html" target="_blank">here</a>. "The Democrats proposal that we have seen is a payroll tax, plain and simple. A payroll tax you can not opt out of, you have no choice, you may never use it," said Republican State Rep. Themis Klarides. However, the GOP plan is optional. Lamont and Democrats are against that. Lamont is also opposed to a quasi-public board. "I think [Lamont] will veto this bill and maybe we'll see a better bill. Paid Family Leave is something we have to talk about, but putting a tax on the employees to pay for it is not what should happen," said Sen. Len Fasano. In the meantime, those hoping paid family leave would pass are disappointed. "That means another delay and we will be behind our surrounding states, passing a policy we really need to retain young workers," said Carol Williams, who supports paid family leave. Lamont said he's been meeting with Democrats. Senate leaders say they can always add an amendment. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives to be debated.