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    When a runner went into cardiac arrest just steps from the finish line of a 5K, first responders running rushed to save his life.

    Mike Randall fell to the pavement just before the finish line when he had a heart attack and flatlined, according to Trish Buchanan, who organized the Believe 208 5K and founded the organization. Randall's girlfriend lost her husband, a former Massachusetts state trooper, so it was a scary moment for the widow, according to Buchanan.

    Luckily for him, there were already a lot of police, firefighters and EMS first responders on scene at the event, which was intended to raise awareness about the issue of police suicides due to factors like post-traumatic stress. When Randall collapsed near the finish line, a paramedic working the race and off-duty state trooper running both raced to his aid. When his heart stopped, they revived him with the paramedic's defibrillator.

    "I typically don't write much on FB, but I feel blessed that I am able to be writing this post as while participating in a 5K run charity event on Sunday morning in Hartford, CT I experienced a cardiac arrest a couple hundred yards from the finish line," Randall posted on Facebook. "The first to reach me was my love Janice who yelled for help. Fortunately, this event was in support of the brave and talented first responders, police officers and firefighters who were able to get to me within that 3 minute window and bring me back to life. God was surely watching over me."

    Randall was initially taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment and was transferred to a hospital in Boston Tuesday to get open heart surgery. Buchanan went with Randall's girlfriend to the hospital and said the doctor said what had happened was a miracle.

    "I am in a hospital in Boston and will be undergoing heart surgery in the next 26-36 hours, so would appreciate your thoughts and prays for me, my family, my Jan and her family," Randall posted on Facebook. "Always appreciate the difficult job our police, firefighters and first responders do in protecting & helping us and always hold them in the highest regards!!!"

    There was a three-minute window to save him and he survived thanks to the help of the first responders, according to Buchanan.



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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    Someone knocked over more than a dozen headstones at a 150-year-old cemetery in Storrs this week, cracking two of them and causing $3,000 in damage, according to the Storrs Cemetery Association.

    Officials from the UConn Division of Public Safety said a volunteer who works at Old Storrs Cemetery called them around 7 p.m. Monday to report the vandalism.

    Between 15 and 20 headstones were pushed over and two were cracked.

    Police have not identified any suspects and said they have no reason to believe UConn students are involved.

    They are stepping up patrols in the area in response to the vandalism.


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    Power has been restored in Torrington after an issue with an underground cable caused smoke to come out of a manhole Wednesday afternoon, leaving 1,500 people in the dark.

    The problem was first reported as an explosion in the area of Franklin Street and Franklin Drive, according to police, but a spokesperson for Eversource said no explosion occurred.

    Crews from Eversource rerouted and restored power to 1,500 residents affected by the issue.

    It's not clear what caused it.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.



    Photo Credit: necn

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    Halloween will be here soon, but before the witches, zombies, pirates and superheroes head to your neighborhood, you can learn about the history of vampires in Connecticut.

    Nicholas Bellantoni, the state archeologist, is hosting a presentation on the history and mythologies of vampires in the status, focusing mainly on remains found in the Jewett City area.

    Head to the Kellogg Environmental Center, at 500 Hawthorne Avenue, in Derby at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 20 and learn how research and the study of early colonial activities developed the belief of vampire behavior and the on-going fear of the undead.

    Bellantoni will tell stories of adults wasting away and dying for unexplained reasons.

    “Was it due to departed family members consuming their energy and blood? What else could be possible? And did these stories help build the image of Bram Stocker’s Dracula?,” the news release states.

    Admission is free, but the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is asking for donations to help support further educational programs.

    The Naugatuck Valley Audubon Society and the Kellogg Environmental Center are sponsoring the event.

    Call (203) 734-2513 to register because space is limited.


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    A New Haven woman scared off a burglar when she shouted goodbye to who she thought was her husband leaving for work.

    Police said the woman, a resident of Hobart Street, heard someone walking around downstairs early Wednesday morning and assumed it was her husband on his way out the door.

    She called out, "Goodbye, Rob!" and the burglar – not her husband – responded.

    It's not clear what he said or why he answered, but police think it may have been "a spontaneous and foolish reaction to hearing his name called," leading them to believe the burglar is also named Rob, according to New Haven police spokesman Officer David Hartman.

    Police said he broke through a first-floor window and got away with a PlayStation.

    Investigators haven't obtained a description of the suspect but said they think they're looking for someone named Rob.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Police are investigating after a burglar broke in through the window of a New Haven home early Wednesday morning, then ran off when a homeowner screamed.

    According to police, a young man got into the home on Linden Street around 1:30 a.m. by pushing a fan out of the way and breaking the glass of a kitchen window.

    A startled homeowner screamed, scaring him off. Police said the crook left through the same window through which he entered.

    Investigators believe he may have picked up an iPad, then dropped it. Police said he didn't take anything.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    The New Haven Police Department Bomb Squad conducts training simulations to prepare for emergency situations and NBC Connecticut got an exclusive look Wednesday morning at how the bomb technicians evaluate threats and keep the public safe.

    “They are vital to what we do,” New Haven Police Officer Jason Salgado said. “We try to make the scenarios and the training scenarios as real as possible and a lot of them are actually based off of things we've done in the field."

    Before blowing up a suspicious backpack during the training scenario, the bomb squad showed us what wearing the “bomb suit” was like.

    "Distance with that suit, the probability of surviving a blast -- should it happen -- increases,” said Salgado, the officer in charge of the bomb squad. “The closer you are, that lessens."

    The helmet, pants and jacket cover the body from head to toe and the complete suit weighs about 85 to 90 pounds.

    “Don’t let the suit dictate your movement. You dictate the movement,” an officer said.

    The bomb technicians use X-rays to see what’s inside suspicious items before deciding whether detonating the device is the only way to render it safe, Salgado said.

    But Salgado would not reveal how the squad blows up explosives it encounters.

    "We don't want to give away too many of our secrets," Salgado said.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    A behind the scenes look at bomb squad training in New Haven.A behind the scenes look at bomb squad training in New Haven.

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    Another body has been found in a burned-out home in Northern California, bringing the death toll from a wildfire that at 76,067 acres ranks among California's most destructive to four.

    Sheriff's officials found the remains at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and believe they belong to 66-year-old Robert Taylor Fletcher, whose home was destroyed by the Valley Fire. He was last seen Sept. 16 but his family last heard from him on Sept. 10.

    “Based on the location and evidence found at the Cobb location, the remains are presumed to be those of Robert Taylor Fletcher,” Cal Fire said in a statement.

    Officials also said Wednesday that 61-year-old Robert Litchman of Lower Lake is still missing.

    A friend, who notified authorities of Litchman's disappearance last Thursday, said he did not have transportation and did not leave his home when told to by law enforcement, Lt. Steve Brooks said. 

    Sheriff's detectives went to Litchman's residence and found it had burned during the fire, Brooks said, adding that no human remains were found by detection dogs during a search of the man's property.

    Sheriff Brian Martin said Tuesday that his office had received reports of 15 people missing since the fire started. All have been accounted for except Litchman. "We are hopeful these people are located and returned and reunited with their loved ones,'' he said.

    The aggressive fire has claimed the lives of three other people. The body of 72-year-old Barbara McWilliams, who used a walker, was found in her burned-down home. The others who died in the Lake County fire are 69-year-old ex-newspaper reporter Leonard Neft and 65-year-old Bruce Beven Burns.

    President Barack Obama declared a major disaster on Tuesday for the communities hit by the Valley Fire, which has destroyed at least 1,230 homes. His move releases federal money for recovery and cleanup for the families whose lost their homes.

    Residents can apply for grants for home repairs and temporary housing as well as apply for low-cost loans for uninsured property.

    Jim Comisky, who spoke on behalf of the South Lake County Fire Protection District at a news conference Wednesday, acknowledged that residents have suffered “horrendous losses.” Nearly 20,000 people were evacuated as the Valley Fire spread and its flames have rendered nearly 3,000 homeless.

    He said that county, state and federal officials and representatives of Cal Fire, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services and Federal Emergency Management Agency will be on hand for a “long time.”

    “The relationships we’ve developed over the last four, five, six, seven, eight days are going to carry us through the next couple years in rebuilding our communities that have been lost and affected by the Valley Fire,” he said.

    The devastating wildfire that started Sept. 12 stands at 82 percent contained with 118 square miles scorched. Thousands of people fled their homes at the peak of the fire but 4,000-plus firefighters battled the flames round the clock, according to Senator Mike McGuire.

    "We are at ground zero of this deadly inferno," he said. "There were nine South County firefighters that lost their homes in the Valley Fire and stayed on the frontlines for the last several days."

    Meanwhile, PG&E sent over 1,000 crew members who have replaced roughly 800 poles that were destroyed by the fire, McGuire said, adding that California residents have donated millions to survivors.

    "It was devastating to see that it was an inferno of destruction," McGuire added. "If you talk to veterans of Cal Fire or local firefighters in this county, they’ll say they’ve never seen anything like it. The size and speed is unprecedented. In 12 hours, this fire grew to 40,000 acres."

    Middletown residents are still returning to what's left of their houses and belongings. Emergency crews have set up places to shower and services for people that lost everything need to get by. The community of Anderson Springs will be able to return home Thursday but the town's water service has not resumed, Cal Fire said.

    Nearby in Cobb Mountain, crews still have a lot to do to make the area safe for residents to return. It's one of the last places still closed off to the public.

    Governor's Office of Emergency Services Director Mark Ghilarducci reminded Lake County residents whose homes were torched that there is "no silver bullet."

    Authorities will use a "patchwork of capability," including hotels, rental properties, trailers and even revitalizing an old resort, to provide housing, he said.

    According to administrator Matt Perry, Lake County has suffered a roughly $2.1 million loss in property taxes. That number may climb, officials said, as commercial, agricultural and recreational losses are tallied. 

    "The truth is that we are seeing what we expected -- actually more than what we expected initially," Ghilarducci said.

    California Gov. Jerry Brown requested disaster declarations for the Valley Fire in Lake County as well as another destructive wildfire in Calaveras and Amador counties, about 125 miles east of San Francisco. Federal officials are still working on the request for a disaster declaration for the communities hit by the so-called Butte Fire, said Kelly Huston, deputy director for the governor's Office of Emergency Services.

    According to FEMA administrator Craig Fugate, that both fires are "[symptoms] of the underlying drought," which is in its fourth year and shows no signs of abating. He also stressed that people who live in fire-prone areas must take necessary precautions and respond to evacuation orders in a timely fashion.

    "There was no indicator that morning when people got up that they would face the fire that came through their community," he said. "When it was time to act, many of them had little or no time to prepare. It's critical that people prepare, know what they’re going to do, but most importantly, do not hesitate when an evacuation order is given."

    Fugate added: "We can always rebuild. We never get a second chance when it’s too late."

    People who need assistance can call 1-800-621-3362, register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or by web-enabled mobile devices at m.fema.gov. Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585. Those who use 711 or Video Relay Service should call 1-800-621-3362.

    The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. Applicants should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves and their insurance coverage.

    NBC Bay Area's Gillian Edevane contributed to this report.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Firefighters put out a hot spot at the Valley Fire on September 15, 2015 in Middletown, California. The 104-square-mile fire destroyed 585 homes and hundreds of other structures.  (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)Firefighters put out a hot spot at the Valley Fire on September 15, 2015 in Middletown, California. The 104-square-mile fire destroyed 585 homes and hundreds of other structures. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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  • 09/23/15--18:19: Girl Delivers Shirt to Pope

  • A 5-year-old Los Angeles girl delivered a T-shirt with a message to Pope Francis Wednesday as his motorcade traveled in a parade from the White House to a midday prayer in Washington, D.C.

    Sofie Cruz was part of group from La Senora Reina de Los Angeles Church at Placita Olvera in Los Angeles that traveled to Washington, D.C. for Pope Francis' first U.S. visit. Sofie, wearing a brightly colored dressed, was scooped up by security personnel who carried her to Pope Francis as his vehicle passed on the street.

    She received a kiss and blessing.

    In an interview with NBC4 before the trip, Sofie said she wanted Pope Francis to speak personally to President Barack Obama about legalizing all immigrants. Her parents are immigrants from Oaxaca, Mexico, Sofie said.

    She didn't get a chance to say anything to the Pope, but told Telemundo that she was happy to meet him and give him the yellow shirt. The shirt included the message, "Papa Rescate DAPA" -- Pope Rescue DAPA, which stands for deferred action for parents of Americans.

    The program would extend deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, but is on hold after 26 states sued to block it. The Obama administration has repeatedly directed immigration agents to focus resources on serious criminal immigrants, people who pose a national security or public safety threat and those caught crossing the border illegally.

    Sofie's father told Telemundo that she also delivered a letter to Pope Francis about the immigration issue. Sofie and her father will appear at a rally and news conference Wednesday evening at the Capitol. Rep. Julia Brownley invited Sophie to listen to the pope's address to Congress on Thursday.

    The papal parade was along the Ellipse and a portion of the National Mall. Nearly 18,000 people were expected to line the route to St. Matthew's Cathedral, where Pope Francis was expected to deliver a midday prayer with 300 U.S. bishops.



    Photo Credit: NBC
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Sofi Cruz was part of group from La Senora Reina de Los Angeles Church at Placita Olvera in Los Angeles that traveled to Washington D.C. for Pope Francis' first U.S. visit Tuesday Sept. 23, 2015.Sofi Cruz was part of group from La Senora Reina de Los Angeles Church at Placita Olvera in Los Angeles that traveled to Washington D.C. for Pope Francis' first U.S. visit Tuesday Sept. 23, 2015.

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    A Bristol woman will be among thousands of Connecticut residents heading to Philadelphia this weekend to see Pope Francis celebrate mass on Sunday.

    Debbie Sousa, of Bristol, will board a bus Friday as part of a group from the Archdiocese of Hartford.

    "I'm hoping to just hear his message and get re-energized and rejuvenated in the work that I do with my youth and just be able to come back and have the energy to continue what I'm doing on this journey, this path in my life," said Sousa.

    Sousa works as a physical therapist and also serves as the Director of Youth Ministry for her parish, St. Stanislaus Church in Bristol.

    She says she's excited to share her experience with others when she returns.

    "Four hours from home, that doesn't happen very often and I'm so excited," said Sousa.

    Sousa's group plans to return to Connecticut late Sunday night or early Monday morning.


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    A refrigerator and a mattress were among the items police removed from Rachelle Bond's home Wednesday as they investigated the murder of her daughter, Bella Bond, a police source said.

    "I just saw four detectives carry the refrigerator out and put it on the gray truck," echoed local maintenance man Melvin Smith. "They had to tie it down. They had gloves on."

    State police would only officially confirm they executed a new search warrant at the home of the 2-year-old long known as "Baby Doe" on Maxwell Street in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood.

    Smith described the refrigerator as "white, about 22 cubic inches, kind of large." He said he felt "sad" that the child's body was allegedly stored in it.

    Prosecutors allege that Bella was punched to death in her bedroom by her mother's 40-year-old boyfriend, Michael McCarthy, who had said he would go in to calm down the young girl. Bond told police Bella was fussy and did not want to go to bed.

    According to prosecutors, Bond said McCarthy "was a demon anyway," and that "it was her time to die."

    Bella's lifeless body, prosecutors say, was put in a plastic bag and stuffed in a refrigerator, where it was left until McCarthy put it in a duffel bag and dumped it into Boston Harbor.

    Her body was found on the shore of Deer Island in June.

    McCarthy is charged with the murder. He was denied bail Monday. Bond, charged as an accessory after the fact, was held on $1 million cash bail.

    The arrests were made after the child was identified on Friday.

    Neighbor Anthony Lovell says he only saw Bella outside playing once with McCarthy nearby, and says he became upset when a ball rolled in his direction.

    "She had a stick in the grass and she was playing and the ball rolled over to him, and he kind of yelled at her, and that's all I can say about that," Lovell said.



    Photo Credit: necn

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    A housekeeper who has worked for a Westport home for 18 years been arrested, accused of stealing almost $400,000 worth of jewelry from her client, according to police.

    Police started investigating on May 25, when a resident of Judy Point reported that a large amount of jewelry had been stolen from her home, as well as from two of her safes.

    Westport detectives, as well as an insurance investigator from AIG, started looking into the case and determined that 35 pieces of jewelry, estimated to be worth a combined $384,330, had been stolen within the last year.

    As police investigated further, they were able to determine that the codes to the safes had been taken from the victim’s day planner.

    A detective contacted Connecticut Gold and Silver of Wilton and learned that the victim’s housekeeper, Martha Lopez, 57, of Norwalk, had pawned at least 20 pieces of jewelry between July 2012 and December 2014, according to a news release from police.

    However, Connecticut Gold and Silver of Wilton provided photographs of the jewelry Lopez pawned and there were more than 20 items, according to police.

    The victim identified 31 of the items as jewelry stolen from her home and at least 13 items were stolen from the safes, police said.

    On Tuesday night, Westport police arrested Lopez at her home on an outstanding arrest warrant charging her with first-degree larceny.

    Lopez was unable to post a $150,000 court set bond and is due in Norwalk Court on Oct. 5.

    It's not clear if she has an attorney.



    Photo Credit: Westport Police

    A housekeeper has been arrested, accused of stealing almost $400,000 worth of jewelry from her client.A housekeeper has been arrested, accused of stealing almost $400,000 worth of jewelry from her client.

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    A suspended Wolcott volunteer firefighter has been arrested, accused of embezzling thousands of dollars from the cadet program for youths interested in becoming volunteer firefighters.

    Jason Kordys, a 33-year-old plumber from Waterbury, turned himself in at the Wolcott Police Department on Wednesday after learning there was a warrant charging him with first-degree larceny.

    Kordys, who was a Wolcott volunteer fireman, had been in charge of the Wolcott Volunteer Fire Department Engine 4, which police said is a cadet program for local children who plan to become firefighters when they turn 18, according to police.

    In 2000, Kordys started assisting with the cadet program and he was promoted to lead adviser in 2007.

    One of his roles was to maintain funds for programs, which come from fundraisers, along with an $8,100 allocation from the Town of Wolcott Fire Department Budget, according to police.

    After discovering unusual activity on the Company 4 bank account, including Amazon purchases, as well as for food purchases, plumbing supplies, tools at Home Depot, among others, Fire Chief Kyle  Dunn froze the account and contacted Kordys for an explanation about the purchases, police said.

    On two occasions, Kordys arranged to meet with the fire chief, but never showed up for the meetings. First, he said he was sick, then he said his wife wasn't home and he had to watch their child, according to court records.

    So Dunn contacted the Wolcott Police Department and authorities conducted a forensic analysis of the funds, which showed Kordys made 180 fraudulent transactions amounting to $2,948.29, according to police.

    When Dunn asked Kordys whether he knew money was missing, Kordys responded that he did and was afraid to say something, then added that he used bad judgment and was poor at paperwork, according to court records. 

    "I know. I was afraid to tell you about it," Kordys said when asked about the possible misuse of funds, the court paperwork states.

    When asked why he would do this, Kordys responded, "It was a bad decision," according to the affidavit. 

    In December, the chief asked Kordys to step down as lead adviser of the cadet program because he was not showing up enough, didn’t attend fire department meetings and failed to install a system to keep track of all treasury debits and credits for a yearly audit report, according to records. 

    He stepped down as of Jan. 1. Then, Dunn later suspended Kordys from the fire department.

    “Once we found out the problem, Kordys was immediately suspended and then terminated in March. We hope the incident does not deter residents of Wolcott from joining the Cadet Program because we have members who put a lot of time and effort into the program,” Dunn said in a statement.

    Bond for Kordys was set at $25,000, then reduced to a promise to appear. He is due back in court on Oct. 24.



    Photo Credit: Wolcott Police

    Jason Kordys is accused of embezzling funds from a volunteer fire cadet program.Jason Kordys is accused of embezzling funds from a volunteer fire cadet program.

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    A former Shelton High School math teacher accused of trying to kiss a teenage student on the lips has pleaded not guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct.

    George Perduta, 57, of Kensington, was arrested earlier this month.

    A 17-year-old student filed a complaint in April, alleging that Perduta took her out to dinner, asked uncomfortable questions about her relationship status and tried to kiss her on the lips.

    Officials with the Shelton school system said Perduta was a math teacher at the time of the incident. He was placed on administrative leave and resigned in May.

    "The moment that we were notified that George Perduta was seen out with a student last April, the proper authorities and organizations were contacted," Shelton Supt. Freeman Burr said in a statement.

    Perduta joined the Shelton school system in 2009 after teaching in Hartford, Colchester, Bristol and Avon.

    He pleaded not guilty in court Wednesday and is due back before a judge Nov. 16.

    Information on an attorney for Perduta was not immediately available.



    Photo Credit: Shelton Police

    George Perduta is accused of trying to kiss a student after dinner in April.George Perduta is accused of trying to kiss a student after dinner in April.

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  • 09/23/15--15:13: Person Stabbed in Prospect

  • Authorities have blocked off Waterbury Road in Prospect after a person was stabbed late Wednesday afternoon, according to state police.

    Police described the victim's injuries as minor.

    No additional information was immediately available.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    At least 200 employees at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol will be laid off as part of a mandate from Disney, the network's parent company, according to sources within ESPN.

    Company officials have neither confirmed nor denied the rumor.

    "ESPN has historically embraced evolving technology to smartly navigate our business. Any organizational changes will be announced directly to our employees if and when appropriate," ESPN spokesperson Mike Soltys said in a statement Wednesday.

    The network employs about 7,000 people worldwide, 4,000 of whom work out of the Bristol facility, making ESPN the second-largest company in town.

    "I’m hoping against all odds that it’s not true, that they don’t do that. It can only be a negative for the town of Bristol," said Bristol resident Angela Vecca, who said she knows several ESPN employees. "Where are they going to go?"

    But with sports blog "The Big Lead" reporting that 200 to 300 people will be laid off in the coming months, some nearby businesses are bracing for a hit.

    "It might have a little bit of an affect on us," said local gas station clerk Brent Hassinger.

    Now questions are on the rise about what happens if Bristol residents are laid off.

    An ESPN employee who asked not to be identified told NBC Connecticut he’s worried about his job. He said the company has not specified which departments may be affected.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Pope Francis will make more history Thursday, when he becomes the first pope to address the United States Congress. Here's what's on tap for the pope's last day in Washington, D.C.:

    U.S. Capitol, 9:15 a.m.

    Expect a 30-minute speech in English when Francis speaks to a joint meeting of Congress Thursday morning, then an appearance from the Speaker's Balcony, where he'll wave to an expected crowd of 30,000 people.

    First, though, Francis will meet with Speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner, who's reportedly been trying to get a sitting pope to come to Congress every year since he was elected, more than 20 years ago.

    What kind of reception will the pontiff get before America's lawmakers? At least one Congressman is boycotting the event over the pope's views on climate change.

    [[328712311, C]]

    St. Patrick in the City, 11:15 a.m.

    After that grand moment, Francis will travel to St. Patrick in the City, the oldest Catholic parish in Washington D.C.. There he'll speak to clients of Catholic Charities, a group mission-driven to help the poor, including over 120,000 people in the Archdiocese of Washington.

    Following a blessing of the chapel, Francis heads to a lunch where he'll mingle among 200 homeless people waiting to be fed. Keep an eye out for his blessing of a statue of "Homeless Jesus."

    [[328949311, C]]

    Want to Watch the Events?

    This will be a big day for those of you who like to gather to watch history. Many people will gather on the National Mall to watch the speech to Congress on Jumbotrons; others will gather at the NBC4 viewing event in DuPont Circle (more on that event here).

    We will cover all the day's biggest events live with livestreams on our website and in our app. Click here for full coverage of the papal visit.

    Departs D.C. for NY, 4 p.m.

    It's been a whirlwind few days in the nation's capital, but it's time for the pope to head to the City That Never Sleeps to greet even more eager crowds.

    Among his biggest events there: A speech at the United Nations, a visit to a small East Harlem school and Mass at Madison Square Garden. But they'll all pale in comparison to this weekend's massive World Meeting of the Families in Philadelphia.

    [[328942151, C]]

    Washington, D.C., Forecast

    Sunshine with a few clouds, and warm with highs around 80 degrees, according to Storm Team 4.

    [[328588401, C]]

    If You're in Town

    Check out these tips on how to get around. Still have questions? Here's what you can and can't do during Francis' visit to D.C.

    In Case You Missed It

    [[328668601, C]]



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 14:  Pope Francis attends a meeting with engaged couples from all over the world gathered on the feast of St. Valentine, in St. Peter's Square on February 14, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - FEBRUARY 14: Pope Francis attends a meeting with engaged couples from all over the world gathered on the feast of St. Valentine, in St. Peter's Square on February 14, 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.

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    A photo of a Chicago McDonald’s employee helping a disabled customer cut his food has gone viral on social media and now the employee is being recognized by the fast food chain.

    The image, which was first posted to Facebook last week, has been shared more than 250,000 times on Facebook and received more than 700,000 views on other social media platforms.

    The woman who took the photo, Destiny Carreno, posted that she was waiting in line to order when an elderly handicapped man “wheeled himself over to the cashier” and asked for help.

    “Neither of us knew what help he needed, and the cashier suggested a few things before he figured out the gentleman needed help cutting and eating his meal,” the Facebook post read. “To be honest, I thought the cashier wasn't going to help, especially during rush hour in downtown Chicago, but to my shock, he shut down his register and disappeared from view.”

    Carreno said the cashier put on gloves, came out from the kitchen and began cutting the man’s meal.

     
     

    “At that point, the tears started to gather in my eyes,” she wrote. “My heart was so appreciative for what he did. I couldn't contain my emotions in the crowded restaurant.”

    The owner of the McDonald’s where the photo was taken, Rod Lubeznik, said in a statement the company is very proud of the employee, who they identified as Kenny. He added the restaurant chain is “overwhelmed by the positive response [Kenny] has received for his compassion and kindness.”

    “It’s a true testament to who Kenny is, and a reminder to us all that one seemingly small act of kindness can touch the hearts of so many,” the statement read.

    Lubeznik said the restaurant planned to recognize Kenny during a rewards presentation Wednesday.
     


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    People traveling to New York or Philadelphia to see the pope are encouraged to use public transportation.

    Metro-North is advising New York commuters to buy round-trip tickets in an effort to avoid long lines. The railroad is altering some schedules Friday to accommodate extra crowds.

    Amtrak, meanwhile, is alerting passengers that all trains to Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday require reservations. Extra trains with added capacity will run over the weekend.

    Special service schedules are available online.

    "You need to plan your route. You need to be patient and understand there are going to be road closures, security inconveniences," said AAA spokesman Fran Mayko.

    Heightened security will include restrictions on the size of backpacks, among other things.

    Pope Francis will leave Washington, D.C. for New York City on Thursday and will head to Philadelphia on Saturday.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    A community garden organization is working to organize double-decker bus tours of Hartford, which will bring tourists to the top of an old landfill with surprisingly stunning views.

    Mike McGarry, who works with Hartford Blooms, brought a bus up onto the old Hartford landfill between Interstate 91 and the Connecticut River on Tuesday.

    "Imagine, a tourism attraction – Mount Trashmore. And it will be," he said.

    The landfill is home to one of the largest arrays of solar panels in the state producing electricity, which McGarry says is also a draw.

    The bus tours will be held Oct. 13 and 17 and will cost riders $10 apiece. Reservations can be made through the Elmwood Senior Center in West Hartford.

    "Imagine that! When you're at the top of the double-decker up here, boy what a view!" he exclaimed.
    The Public Works Department controls access to the landfill, and gas from waste decomposing within the mound is piped away for sale

    Still, McGarry envisions more than just tourists atop the landfill.

    "Someday greenhouses, someday wild flowers along the side," he said. "Hartford's really taken a piece of wasteland, really. Old landfill's a wasteland, not worth anything, but this is going to be worth a lot. It's worth it right now."


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