Entries in Connecticut (15)


Texas Gov. Rick Perry to Tour Conn. Gun Manufacturing Plants

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WEST HARTFORD, Conn.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry will tour gun manufacturing plants in Connecticut on Monday and extend an open invitation to manufactures to set up shop in Texas.

During the job tour, Perry will visit the Colt manufacturing plant in West Hartford, Conn., and Connecticut gun-maker Mossberg & Sons in North Haven, Conn., hoping to lure them and other firearm companies to Texas.

A number of gun-makers in Connecticut have said they're looking into leaving, after the state passed some of the toughest gun laws in the country in response to last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The legislation bans the sale of certain types of weapons but doesn't restrict manufacturing.

Colt's president says that Colt was proud to call Connecticut home for 175 years, but, now needs to consider all options.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Assault Weapons Ban Talk Sparks Rise in Gun Sales

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Rifle Association may still get its way and defeat the lawmakers calling for a ban on the sale of assault rifles, but some gun store owners say it seems their customers aren't taking any chances.

"We have never seen anything like this," said Larry Hyatt, who owns a gun shop in Charlotte, N.C.  "We have the Christmas business, the hunting season business, and now we have the political business."

"We have seen a lot of things, but we have never seen anything like this, this is probably four times bigger than the last time we saw a big rush," he said.

Some of the customers in his store said it is the talk of stricter gun control in the wake of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that is driving the rush.

"The way they are trying to approach it, they are just making people who have never thought about buying a gun, now they want to come in here and buy a gun," one customer said.

At NOVA Firearms in Falls Church, Va., there have been "skyrocketing" sales following the Newtown shooting, chief firearms instructor Chuck Nesby said.

"They've been off the charts.  Absolutely skyrocketing," Nesby said.  "If I could give an award to President Obama and Sen. Feinstein [it] would be sales persons of the year."

He was referring to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who said she will introduce an assault weapons ban in January.

Sales are up 400 percent, Nesby said.

"We're completely out of the so-called assault weapons, semi-automatic firearms that are rifles," he said.  "Forty percent of those sales went to women and senior citizens.  We can't get them now.  Everybody, nationwide is out of them -- the sales have just been off the charts nationwide."

The shooting on Dec. 14, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza broke in to the elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults with a semi-automatic rifle, has even some former NRA supporters saying it's time to change the rules on assault weapons.  

Those guns were banned from 1994 until 2004, when the ban expired and was not renewed.

Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas suggested Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation that new regulation should be considered.

"We ought to be looking at where the real danger is, like those large clips, I think that does need to be looked at," Hutchison said.  "It's the semi-automatics and those large magazines that can be fired off very quickly.  You do have to pull the trigger each time, but it's very quick."

Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat but a long-time opponent of gun control who like Hutchison has received an A rating from the NRA, has also come out in support of strengthening gun laws.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Websites Go Silent for Victims of Sandy Hook Shooting YORK) -- At 9:30 a.m. ET Friday morning, a moment of silence was observed in recognition of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., one week ago.  

But the silence wasn't just in the physical world: Many refrained from using Twitter, Facebook and other web services for the moment.  Additionally, a number of websites went silent or dark for the 20 children and six adults who were killed last week when Adam Lanza opened fire in the school.

The web-wide moment of silence was organized by and Nick Grossman, a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab, at  Hundreds of sites, including Digg, iVillage, Foursquare, E Online, Gilt and more used a banner provided by the group.

The banner read: "We are observing a National Moment of Silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy."  The rest of the site faded out with a gray skin.

On Twitter, many vowed to not Tweet for the moment and tweeted #momentforsandyhook.  Others on Twitter and Facebook extended the minute to five, vowing not to use the Internet and to reflect on the tragedy from 9:30 a.m. to 9:35 a.m.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Connecticut Shooting: Scammers Trying To Profit from Sandy Hook Tragedy

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Scammers may be looking to cash in on the public's generosity following the Sandy Hook massacre, the Better Business Bureau warned.

"It is a challenge to be on guard because public sympathy and emotions are running high," said Bennett Weiner, chief operating officer of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a group that helps charitable donors make informed decisions.

Weiner said it's difficult for scams to be detected in the first week following every national tragedy, however he suspects unscrupulous people are already out there, eager to cash in on the massacre.

How to Help Newtown Families:

False websites or phone calls soliciting help for the victims' families are two of the easiest and most common scams Weiner said he sees.

"They're hard to identify because people don't know they've been taken and they're not going to know until down the road," he said.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, countless Facebook pages for the victims, listings on crowdfunding sites and community drives have been established to solicit donations.

While many of them may be legitimate, Weiner warns people to do their research.

"You really have to be watching out for newly created things. There may be some well-intended effort, but you have no way to look at their track record," he said. "I can tell you from experience there are some cautions associated with it."

Any fundraising effort that makes vague statements, such as "we're going to help the victims and families," is another red flag to watch out for, Weiner said.

Whether it's fundraising for the Aurora theater victims or a local terminally ill child, Weiner said the BBB sees these kinds of scams "time and time again" and actively investigates them.

"It is a challenge to be on guard after a tragedy," he said. "But you shouldn't give to any organization without checking them out first."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Bushmasters Disappearing from Shelves After Newtown Shooting

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(NEW YORK) -- Two reasons explain why the Bushmaster rifle -- the weapon implicated in the mass murder of children in Newtown, Conn. -- is disappearing fast from gun store shelves: It's been vilified and it remains hugely popular.

Customers are buying Bushmasters so fast that stores have trouble stocking it.

"We sold 14 yesterday," says Ross Meyer of Gunworld & Archery in Elko, Nev.  "That's way up.  All of our suppliers are out of them."

Andrew Molchan, director of the National Association of Federally Licensed Firearms Dealers (NAFLFD), says, "Naturally, when something's a lot in the news, it has increased sales.  I doubt there's much inventory left at this point.  There are no discounts, that's for sure."

Daniel, an assistant manager at Discount Shooters Supply in Roseville, Calif., tells ABC News, "We don't really have a lot in stock, because it's been so popular.  They've been selling faster than manufacturers can produce them."  His store, he says, has only one left on display.

The Bushmaster is only one version of a generic rifle called the AR-15, a civilian cousin of the M-16 developed for the U.S. Army in the 1960s.  Other manufacturers produce versions of their own, most at a lower price than the Bushmaster, which retails, says Molchan, for $700 to $900.

Smith & Wesson, Colt, Remington, Ruger, Olympic Arms and others make AR-15s.  "There probably are 30 to 40 different manufacturers," says Daniel of Discount Shooters.  

Prices for Bushmasters have risen by as much as 50 percent since Friday, the store reports.  The weapon's notoriety, though, cuts two ways.

Cerberus Capital, a New York City firm that owns Bushmaster, announced on Tuesday it would be selling the company and the subsidiary that includes it.

Calling the Connecticut shooting a "watershed event," Cerberus in a statement said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities impacted by this tragic event."

Major retail chains, including Dick's Sporting Goods, have announced they are suspending sales of Bushmasters or similar rifles, partly as a gesture of respect to those killed, but also to insulate themselves from public censure.

Dick's, in a statement posted on its website, says: "We are extremely saddened by the unspeakable tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, CT, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, and to the entire community.  Out of respect for the victims and their families, during this time of national mourning we have removed all guns from sale and from display in our store nearest to Newtown and [have] suspended the sale of modern sporting rifles in all of our stores chainwide."

Walmart, without making any public comment, has pulled Bushmasters from its website.

Molchan dismisses such gestures as commercial expediency.

"Dick's?  The AR-15 represents maybe 1/ 200th of their gross sales.  They'll suspend selling it, but they'll get $10 million in free publicity.  Even more so with Walmart.  [The gun is] maybe 1/10th of 1 percent of their gross sales.  I guess it's the right thing to do.  It's certainly the right P.R. thing to do," he says.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


JetBlue Delivers a Cousin’s Letter in Time for Newtown Funeral

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- JetBlue said it delivered a handwritten note from a woman in Washington state who couldn’t make the funeral of her nephew, who died in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.

Before Noah Pozner, 6, was buried Monday, his mother had requested the family write notes that could be buried with her son.

Pozner’s aunt Victoria couldn’t make the funeral and her husband was already in Newtown to be with his grieving sister.  Still, Victoria wanted her 6-year-old son’s letter to his cousin to be delivered in time for the funeral.

Victoria began tweeting under the Twitter handle @VDog, asking others for suggestions on how to get the letter there in time.  ABC News has been unable to determine her last name.

“I need to know if there’s a way to overnight an envelope to CT as my SIL (sister-in-law) wants notes from the whole family buried with Noah. Help?” she tweeted.

JetBlue responded minutes later, tweeting, “We’re sorry for your loss. Please DM us your best contact ph# and we’ll have someone reach out to you.”

JetBlue said it delivered the handwritten note to Pozner’s funeral on time.

Victoria on Monday tweeted that the note made it to the funeral on time.

“I need a favor: We need to love bomb @JetBlue crew that helped deliver Noah’s burial notes safe & sound. The notes are in CT,” she tweeted, using the hashtag #LoveForNoah.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pie-Makers, Scammers Line Up to Aid Newtown, Connecticut

The World Needs More Pie/Facebook(NEW YORK) -- Even as Americans by the thousands are reaching out to help survivors of Newtown, Conn.'s, mass shooting, a few malefactors appear to be perpetrating scams to try to profit from it.

Gestures of support include credit card donations to a special website created by the United Way of Western Connecticut, which went live Friday night.  Since then, Executive Vice President Isabel Almeida tells ABC News, online contributions have totaled more than $795,000.  The Newtown Savings Bank says it has collected another $55,000 in the form of checks.

Other gestures have been highly personal.

Pie-maker Beth Howard of Eldon, Iowa, announced Friday on her website that she was loading up her RV with baking supplies and heading east.  Her plan: to spend a week in Newtown, baking pies and giving them away to anyone who wants one.

Reached by ABC News in Flanders, N.J., which she is using as a staging area, Howard says she expects to arrive in Newton on Wednesday, after having filled her pie-bunkers to the brim.  She intends by the weekend to have given away 750.  

The United Way reports that other highly personal donations have included grief counseling itself -- offered by doctors and other professionals, some of whom have been able to bring with them trained therapy dogs.  United Way Director David Deschenes says the dogs are proving to be an enormous comfort to affected children.

"They're really good for the kids," says Deschenes of the dogs.  "Something soft and warm and friendly to hang onto."

Other offers of help have come from overseas -- from as far as Portugal and as close as Canada.

Back in the states, a lady in Upland, Calif., called to tell Deschenes she had instructed all her friends not to get her any gifts this Christmas, but instead to give her money so she could donate to Newton relief.  

And, according to The New York Times, an unidentified North Carolina donor, when he learned the Newton firehouse was raising money by selling Christmas trees, bought 26 -- one for each of the children and adults killed.

While the Red Cross, United Way and other high profile charities are happy to be contacted, Almeida says anyone who wants to help should start by calling the phone number for Connecticut's social services hotline, whose staff are serving as a clearing house for matching good intentions with established needs.  People within Connecticut should call 211.  Persons outside should call 800-203-1234.

As for the possible malefactors: Website reports that no sooner were the names of the first victims released, than Facebook and other web pages in their names began appearing, some soliciting donations.

Shea Wong, a columnist for the website Technorati, speculates that some fraction of these are illegit.  She says that even fraudulent sites that do not request donations can make money for their creators other ways: Simply by attracting clicks and Likes, a site can make its re-sale value climb, so that when the perpetrator eventually sells it, flipping it to someone else, he does so at a profit.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Homeowner Billed for Neighborhood Streetlights for 25 Years

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HARTFORD, Conn.) -- A Connecticut woman received a five figure check from Connecticut Light & Power after being incorrectly billed for two neighborhood streetlights for 25 years.

“CL&P said it was always on the bill and up to me to inform them of the mistake,” homeowner Grace Edwards told the Hartford Courant.  “I said, ‘How could I inform you of something I didn’t know about?’”

What Grace Edwards did not know was that a previous homeowner agreed to pay for streetlights on the block.  When Edwards and her husband bought the property, the utility company continued billing the household for the 9500 Lumen HP Sodium and 300 Lumen HP Sodium lamps.

The story first appeared in the Hartford Courant.

Grace Edwards did not learn she was paying $20 a month for the street lamps that illuminated her neighborhood until a prospective buyer requested a history of utility costs, according to the paper.

Edwards was then forced to haggle with the electric company over the billing mistake before it issued a check for $10,491.  The company eventually issued an apology to Edwards.

“Mrs. Edwards received service that is below our standards and we have apologized to her for the error and the inconvenience,” Mitch Gross, a spokesman for Connecticut Light & Power wrote in a statement to ABC News.  “We have reimbursed her in the amount that she was incorrectly billed plus interest, and will be using this case as a learning experience to identify process and customer service improvements to be sure this doesn’t happen again in the future.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Mystic Pizza’ Restaurant Has IRS Trouble

Comstock/Thinkstock(MYSTIC, Conn.) -- The Connecticut restaurant Mystic Pizza made famous by the Julia Roberts movie of the same name is under investigation by the IRS.

The U.S. Treasury Department seized more than $60,000 from the bank account of restaurant owners John Zelepos, George Zelepos and Christos Zelepos. The seizure of the money was revealed this week in a legal notice published in The Day newspaper in Connecticut.

Members of the Zelepos family did not respond to requests for comment and a representative at the restaurant said they had “no comment” on the matter.

The family owns Mystic Pizza LLC, which encompasses Mystic Pizza in Mystic, Conn., Mystic Pizza II in North Stonington, Conn., and the Mystic Pizza Food Co.

The Mystic Pizza Food Co. sells frozen pizza with the motto “A slice of heaven,” the same slogan that was on the t-shirts of Roberts and other actresses who worked at the restaurant in the movie.

Federal authorities confiscated the money in January after a criminal investigation, according to The Day.

Lisa Kennedy, the IRS special agent in charge of the investigation, told ABC News she could not comment on the case.

The legal notice in the newspaper asked that anyone with a claim to the money seized from the account contact Kennedy.

The 1988 film helped launch Roberts’ megastar career and her portrayal of Daisy Arujo in the movie is often considered her breakout role.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CT Powerball Winners Make Good on Philanthropic Promise

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images(GREENWICH, Conn.) -- Three Connecticut wealth managers who won a $254 lottery million jackpot followed through on their promise to put the money toward philanthropy, announcing on Sunday donations to five charities that assist veterans.

The first recipients will each receive $200,000. They are: The Bob Woodruff Foundation, Building Homes for Heroes, Services for the Under Served, Operation First Response, and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

The Bob Woodruff Foundation, started by ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff -- who suffered a brain injury when a military vehicle in which he was traveling was struck by an IED in Iraq -- helps injured veterans reintegrate into everyday life following deployment.

Building Homes for Heroes constructs from the ground up and also modifies homes for wounded and disabled veterans.

Under Served supports, "individuals and families facing challenging life situations such as mental illness, developmental disability, physical disability, AIDS, homelessness, unemployment and poverty," according to its website, and also has a veteran's support group component.

Operation First Response helps the families of wounded soldiers deal with the domino of costs that can come from injury.  Peggy Baker, president of the charity, called the gift a "Christmas miracle."

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund supports the families of wounded soldiers and those killed in action.

The three trustees said they felt it was important to give back to a section of American society that is underserved.

"We are leveraging our professional experience and our collective success in money management to ensure these lottery dollars go far further than their face value," the three winners, who formed the Putnam Avenue Family Trust, said in a statement.

Money managers Greg Skidmore, Brandon Lacoff, and Tim Davidson came forward on Nov. 28 to claim the jackpot 27 days after the winning numbers were announcd.  All three work for wealth management firm Belpoint Capital in Greenwich, which manages $82 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Skidmore is the president and CEO of the company.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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