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    Carly Fiorina on Sunday stood by her disputed description of a scene from the videos targeting Planned Parenthood, but refused to say definitively that Republicans should force a government shutdown to defund the organization.

    "Not at all. That scene absolutely does exist, and that voice saying what I said they were saying — "We're gonna keep it alive to harvest its brain — exists as well," Fiorina said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

    Fiorina's description during the last GOP debate of a scene she said she saw in the anti-Planned Parenthood videos has been widely disputed in media reports, and there is no definitive proof it existed. 


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

    Host Chuck Todd, left, and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina during an interview on Host Chuck Todd, left, and Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina during an interview on "Meet the Press," September 27, 2015.

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  • 09/27/15--15:15: Hundreds Ride for Justice

  • When Vito Pagliarulo pulled up to the "Ride for Justice," he recognized some familiar faces. He, like many participants, returns year after year to support Doctor William Petit, whose wife and two daughters were killed in their Cheshire home in 2007.

    "It's the cause. The original first year there was no way to say no. We had to do it. It was such a great cause supporting the family and everything,” said Pagliarulo, of Bristol.

    “We’re here every year to support him. You know, he’s been through a lot. We’re trying to do the right thing. Good versus evil and good always wins,” said Mark McMahon, of Berlin.

    An avid biker, Ron Catucci started the ride in 2009, driven by his personal connection to the cause.

    “There was the fire involved, and I was in a fire before and just the whole thing was terrible terrible tragedy and it touched me,” said Catucci.

    The crisp autumn air drew hundreds of Harleys on a fall foliage ride from Bristol to Cheshire. They expected at least 800 motorcycle riders, and hundreds of more passengers.

    "The people and the warmth feeling and riding, just getting out and enjoying the day,” said Dale Cattanach, also of Bristol.

    “We’ve got more pre-registers this year than we ever had,” Catucci said.

    Twenty-six members of the South Georgia Hogs rode up to Bristol on 20 bikes.

    “We were up here a couple of years ago. We brought back double the people that we had last time,” said Kay Samoly, of Newnan, Georgia.

    The money raised furthers the Petit Family Foundation's mission.

    “We wanted to pick areas that we thought Jennifer, Hayley, and Michaela would support. I think people by participating feel they can be part of doing something good for the community,” said Dr. William Petit.

    The Petit Family Foundation has given more than a million dollars to support victims of violence, patients with chronic illness, and women studying science.

    “We look forward to the camaraderie. We look forward to meeting and making new friends here, and we look forward to coming back here and doing it again,” Samoly said.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    After years of construction and millions of dollars spent, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, or “Q Bridge,” has reopened.

    It was dedicated last weekend, and has reopened in time for tomorrow morning's rush hour commute.

    It cost over $400 million to construct, but many believe the expansion was badly needed.

    The original bridge, built in 1958 was designed to handle 40,000 cars per day. The DOT said there are now 140,000 vehicles passing through the New Haven corridor daily.

    Now there is a total of 10 lanes of traffic, five in each direction, nearly double the size it used to be.

    The northbound lanes were completed earlier this year and are already receiving traffic.

    The bridge is opening eight months ahead of schedule.

    Crews were still putting the finishing touches on the bridge, Sunday, necessitating the closure of I-95 South on and off ramps at Woodward Avenue and Route 34.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

    After years of construction and millions of dollars spent, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, or “Q Bridge,” is nearly ready to reopen to traffic in both directions.After years of construction and millions of dollars spent, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, or “Q Bridge,” is nearly ready to reopen to traffic in both directions.

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    Pope Francis will be making an extra stop to meet with St. Joseph’s University students at the Philadelphia campus before his Parkway parade and Mass Sunday.

    The pontiff’s press office made the announcement of the extra stop on the pope’s itinerary for a statute blessing and visit to sick priests.

    The Pope was joined by Rabbi Abraham Skorka -- an old friend -- for a ceremony at Joshua Koffman's "Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time" -- a statue recently dedicated outside the university's chapel that commemorates the relationship between Catholics and Jewish people and 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate decree.

    After the visit, excited students snapped photos as the papal motorcade left campus.

    "To have him actually set foot on our campus was unforgettable," said Saint Joseph’s president Dr. Mark C. Reed. "This is a truly historic day for Saint Joseph’s University, Jesuit education across the country and the importance of interfaith relations."

    The pontiff earlier visited sick Jesuits priests:

    St. Joe’s sits on City Avenue, a short distance from the pontiff’s temporary residence at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnefield. The university is Jesuit and Catholic.

    Students at the university already got a huge thrill on Saturday when the pope’s motorcade was detoured through the college.



    Photo Credit: NBC10

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    House Speaker John Boehner slammed hard-line conservatives as "false prophets" who are merely "spreading noise" rather than trying to achieve anything tangible.

    Speaking on CBS' "Face the Nation," the retiring Speaker said that conservative groups and lawmakers have purposely misled voters, charging that they've "whipped people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know -- they know -- are never going to happen."

    "The Bible says beware of false prophets. And there are people out there, you know, spreading noise about how much can get done. I mean this whole notion that we're going to shut down the government to get rid of Obamacare in 2013 -- this plan never had a chance," Boehner said. 



    Photo Credit: AP

    House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015.

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    The 14-year-old soprano singer credited by Mark Wahlberg as having "the voice of an angel" after nailing his performance at the Festival of Families with Pope Francis was given just a five-minute head's-up before he walked out on stage, according to his choir director.

    Bobby Hill, a soprano from Philadelphia, performed “Pie Jesu" by Andrew Lloyd Webber a cappella, which is unusual.

    The stirring work is usually accompanied on piano, according to Keystone State Boychoir director Steven M. Fisher.

    "It's a very difficult piece to sing," he said.

    The Keystone State Boychoir and Pennsylvania Girlchoir were booked for the festival Saturday to sing with Juanes for the final performance of the night on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

    During rehearsals, the aspiring opera singer got a chance to sing "Pie Jesu" for famed Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, another performer at the star-studded event.

    "He was in good form and feeling very confident," Fisher said of Hill.

    About a couple hours before the choir was set to go on, producers told Fisher they needed to fill a transition. Fisher waited to tell the young singer he'd tapped him for the unscheduled solo because he didn't want to make Hill nervous or get his hopes up if the opportunity fell through.

    But Hill didn't miss a beat when he found out about his responsibility.

    "I said to Bobby, 'we need you to go out and do this.' He said 'great,'" Fisher recalled.

    Hill's response to finding out he had to do the song a cappella: "Cool."

    "That's how kids are. They just don't panic," Fisher said.

    After the performance, Hill was seen on camera walking up to Pope Francis and giving him a present. That moment was also unscripted.

    Hill gave Francis a rock from Antartica, Fisher said. The Keystone State Boychoir in 2009 became the first choir to sing on the continent.

    Hill brought the rock on stage for good luck and had been told that if the pope approached him he could give it to him.

    "As kids often do, he walked right up to him," Fisher said.

    Still, Fisher found it significant that while the Festival of Families — part of the Vatican-sponsored World Meeting of Families gathering — featured people from six families representing the continents, the seventh continent hadn't been represented.

    "Our choir family was the seventh family," he said.

    Hill can be seen onstage again at the American premiere of "Aza'io" with the International Opera Theater in Philadelphia next month.



    Photo Credit: NBC10
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    Actor Mark Wahlberg talks to Bobby Hill with Pope Francis in the background.Actor Mark Wahlberg talks to Bobby Hill with Pope Francis in the background.

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    New England quarterback Tom Brady threw his 400th career touchdown pass Sunday, hitting Danny Amendola on a 1-yard pass just before halftime of the Patriots game against Jacksonville.

    Brady joins Peyton Manning (533 entering Sunday), Brett Favre (508) and Dan Marino (420) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to reach the milestone.

    Brady reached the milestone in 212 games - faster than anyone but Manning, who needed three fewer games to accomplish the feat.

    Marino threw his 400th pass in his 227th game and Favre in his 228th.

    New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who is out this week with a rotator cuff injury, remains at 398 touchdown passes.

    The next active quarterback on the list is the Giants' Eli Manning with 263.

    ___

    AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 27:  A fan shows his support for Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots who threw his 400 touchdown pass in the second quarter during a game with Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: A fan shows his support for Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots who threw his 400 touchdown pass in the second quarter during a game with Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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    Willimantic police are investigating reported gunfire early Sunday morning.

    Police received multiple 911 calls reporting shots fired on Mansfield Avenue at about 3 a.m.

    Responding officers found bullet shell casings on the road, but didn't discover any injured parties or property damage.

    Mansfield Avenue was closed for several hours as police combed the area for evidence, but the road has since reopened. A K-9 unit searched the area.

    Police haven't identified suspects at this time.

    Willimantic police ask anyone with information to call Det. Christopher Rood at the department. All tips will remain confidential.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Bridgeport police are investigating a shooting homicide that left one man dead.

    Firefighters and medics responded to a call reporting a person lying unresponsive near the intersection of Charles and Main streets in Bridgeport at about 8:20 a.m. on Sunday.

    First responders discovered a man, later identified as Duhaney Watson, dead from a gunshot wound.

    Police responded and ruled the shooting a homicide.

    No suspects have been identified at this time.

    The shooting remains under investigation.

    Bridgeport police ask anyone with information to contact the department at 203-581-5201.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    Crews responded to a Vernon fire Sunday afternoon.

    A fire broke out at an apartment at 95 Hockanum Boulevard. The call came in at about 3:38 p.m.

    Firefighters had it mostly under control by 2:27 p.m.

    No one was hurt. The building was vacant at the time.


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    Shortly before the New England Patriots kicked off the season, it was still unknown whether Tom Brady would be under center after being suspended for four games by the NFL.

    Since that suspension was reversed in federal court, Brady has put together three absolutely incredible performances - and the Pats' 51-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars was no exception.

    Brady threw his 400th - and 401st - touchdown passes, becoming just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach that milestone. To go along with the two touchdowns, Brady completed 33 of 42 passes, throwing for 358 yards.

    He was sacked twice and did not throw a pick.

    While Brady's milestone was not an NFL record, Stephen Gostkowski's was. The Patriots kicker made six extra points Sunday, amassing 425 consecutive points after touchdowns. And he made three successful field goal attempts to boot.

    LeGarrette Blount continued to solidify the Patriots' ground game, rushing for 78 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. Brady also threw him the ball for a 14-yarder. Fellow back Dion Lewis continued to impress with 37 rushing yards on eight carries and 30 receiving yards on five catches without a miss.

    Brady slung the ball around Sunday, hitting eight different players for double-digit receiving yards. Rob Gronkowski only made four catches on seven targets, but he made them count with 101 yards. Edelman had 85 yards on eight catches.

    The two Brady touchdowns came by the way of Danny Amendola (five catches on five targets for 39 yards) and Keshawn Martin (3-3 with 33 yards).

    Defensively, the Pats gave up 242 yards in the air to Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. Both Jaguars touchdowns were on passes - on the ground, New England allowed their opponents to rush for just 57 yards.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 27:   Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots makes a pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots makes a pass during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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    Police are looking for a man who tried to rob a Thompson store at knifepoint.

    A man in a black mask came into Bud's Country Store at 759 Quinabaug Road wielding a knife and demanded money from the store clerk. He rand when chased out of the store and he darted into a black sedan parked a few yards away on Route 131 and sped off, police said.

    He didn't make off with any money, but authorities are still looking for him. Police said he was last seen heading north into Dudley, Massachusetts.

    Police described the man as thin, in his early 20s and 5-foot-6 to 5-foot-9. He was last seen wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with white strings, torn blue jeans, a long belt and dark sneakers with white outlined soles.

    State police's Eastern District Major Crime Squad responded and is leading the investigation. Authorities ask anyone with information about the attempted armed robbery or identity of the suspect to call Det. Bavosi at 860-779-4943 or Troop D at 860-779-4900. Calls will remain confidential.



    Photo Credit: State Police

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    Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims gathered in the heart of Philadelphia to watch as Pope Francis culminates his historic visit to the United States by celebrating Mass and talking once again about the importance of the family — the theme of the World Meeting of Families event that brought him to the country for the first time.

    Francis used the Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia to stress tolerance, patience and the acceptance of others.

    "To raise doubts about the working of the Spirit, to give the impression that it cannot take place in those who are not 'part of our group,' who are not 'like us,' is a dangerous temptation," he said in a homily. "Not only does it block conversion to the faith; it is a perversion of faith."

    According to an "unofficial estimate" by people working the event, a crowd of 860,000 started making its way to security lines early in the day for a chance to get to see His Holiness up close. Even more watched on about 40 large TV screens that were set up in the city. Most of those screens were located about 25 blocks away from the Mass location.

    Francis told the pilgrims that "our common house can no longer tolerate sterile divisions."

    On family, he said love is shown by small daily signs which make people feel at home, and that faith grows when it is lived and shaped by love.

    "That is why our families, our homes, are true domestic churches," he said. "They are the right place for faith to become life, and life to become faith."

    He added: "Anyone who wants to bring into this world a family which teaches children to be excited by every gesture aimed at overcoming evil -- a family which shows that the Spirit is alive and at work -- will encounter our gratitude and our appreciation. Whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong."

    Toward the end of his homily, he asked the audience a simple question.

    "In my own home, do we shout? Or do we speak to each other in love and tenderness? That is a good way of measuring our love."

    At the end of the Mass, Francis had one final message to those in attendance.

    "Thank you very much for your participation and your love for the family," he said in English. "And I ask you to pray for me. Don't forget."

    The Mass ends Francis' whirlwind six-day U.S. trip in which he has visited the White House, addressed a joint session of Congress, participated in a multi-religious service at Ground Zero, addressed world leaders at the United Nation's General Assembly and met privately with victims of clergy sex abuse at a seminary just outside of Philadelphia. The pontiff, who is known as the people's pope for his outward display of humility, also met with the homeless at a shelter and inmates at a jail.

    The City of Brotherly Love opened its doors this weekend not only for Francis (Archbishop Charles Chaput even joked about renaming the city "Francisville"), but to the thousands of people who arrived in the city to catch a glimpse of him at one of his many city-wide events.

    Among those in attendance at the final Mass was 61-year-old Junior Isaac, who arrived in Philadelphia without tickets.

    "I wanted to be part of history," said Isaac, who was wearing a U.S. Army hat. "I came all the way from Rhode Island without tickets. Within two hours I had four. I think God is a miracle and a feast.”

    Latonya Williams, a childcare provider from Philadelphia, attended the event with her three children.

    “I think he’s the best," Williams said of Francis. "I love his humble spirit. I wasn’t that interested in the other popes, and I’m not Catholic."

    A Grand Arrival

    The "Popemobile," a white Jeep Wrangler, began carrying Francis toward the alter at about 3:15 p.m. to the roars of scores of people lining the streets of Philly. His motorcade stopped briefly to view the "Knotted Grotto," a public art installation at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

    The Grotto is a place anyone can go, write their intentions down, and tie them onto one side of the courtyard fence to be "undone" by another person. People leaving intentions tie their own and then untie someone else's to move it to the other side in homage to Francis' favorite image of the Blessed Mother as Mary Undoer of Knots.

    Some 500 students from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, boarded buses Saturday night for their pilgrimage to the World Meeting of Families event.

    The students, part of the university's campus ministry group, arrived in Philadelphia around 7 a.m.

    "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Nicole Steiner, 19, a sophomore originally from Massachusetts. "It's cool we're able to see him in our own country. He's an inspiring figure."

    The students will board buses back to Notre Dame Sunday night.

    Courtney Morin, 19, also a sophomore, said she's excited to be part of something so big.

    "He's such a huge figure in the world," said Morin, who is from Indiana. "For me, it's being part of a moment when so many things can happen."

    The two young woman and several other students from Notre Dame stopped to pose for a photo at Philly's iconic LOVE sculpture before heading to the Parkway to find a spot to watch the Mass. They have tickets to get into the closer areas, they said.

    Students from Notre Dame have been following the pope's movement throughout his historic visit to the United States.

    "We had papal pancakes Thursday to watch his address to Congress," Morin said.

    A flock of Father Thien Nguyen's pilgrims donned bright yellow shirts and waited eagerly in front of a Jumbotron outside Philadelphia's City Hall on Sunday morning.

    Nguyen said the group of about 150 people from the Vietnamese Catholic community in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Canada traveled to Philly for Francis' public Mass. Nguyen heard confession from a woman as many of his older pilgrims hunked down by the bigscreen to watch the Mass.

    "This group decided to stay here near the screen, food and bathrooms because they're older," Nguyen explained. "One group had tickets and went all the way up (the Parkway)."

    Nguyen said the Vietnamese faithful love the pope because of his care for the poor and the way he "represents Christ in the world."

    The group celebrated a Vietnamese Mass Sunday morning before the papal service later, he said.

    "We pray the pope will continue to be a great leader," Nguyen said. "We love the pope."

    Up Next

    After the Mass the Pope will travel back to Rome. His exit also means the World Meeting of Families ends. It was announced at the Mass that the next chapter in the religious event will take place in Dublin, Ireland, in 2018.



    Photo Credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Pope Francis (C) leads an open-air mass at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015.Pope Francis (C) leads an open-air mass at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 27, 2015.

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    Police are looking for a driver who hit and injured a pedestrian in Hartford.

    Officers responded to the area of 445 Garden Street early Sunday morning and found a woman lying unresponsive in the southbound lane of the road. She suffered from injuries to her head and lower extremities.

    A witness told police a white Dodge Durango struck the woman while she was crossing the road and that the driver kept driving in the northbound direction on Garden Street.

    An ambulance transported the woman to St. Francis Hospital in Hartford. She is listed in critical condition.

    Police searched the area, but haven't found the driver or video surveillance that may bave captured the incident.

    The incident remains under investigation.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    State police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 91 north Sunday in Windsor.

    Traffic is getting by.

    No one was injured.



    Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

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    On a recent sweltering September afternoon in Southern California, Melissa Sargent stood by her father's bedside. The back bedroom in Alex Morgan's Lakeside home resembled a hospital room and was filled with the low hum of several fans keeping him cool.

    As dad and daughter chatted, his hand rested on the mane of a gentle mini horse named Tori. The gray animal stood motionless, wearing a red and white polka dot bow on her head, and custom-made pink floral booties and a saddle blanket.

    [[329704931,C]]

    "Should have brought her a biscuit," Morgan joked. Morgan was having a good day, considering the stage-four cancer spread throughout his body.

    Tori has often been by his side as he fights the disease. The 17-month-old mini horse is a part of the family. She is also in training with Sargent to become a certified therapy animal for hospice patients, children with disabilities and others.

    Sargent, a certified animal handler, founded the non-profit organization Heart and Hooves Therapy less than a year ago. She also has a 14-year-old mini horse named Chips.

    [[329708601,C]]

    They visit preschools, senior citizen homes and hospice centers. They also spend time at Casa de Amparo, which serves abused and neglected children, and the Ronald McDonald House, a temporary home for families with children in the hospital with serious illnesses.

    "I'll never forget the first time Tori walked up our front steps with Melissa's coaching," Ronald McDonald Volunteer Coordinator Jaime Groth told NBC7. "There was a crowd at the top of the stairs eager to meet her before she'd ever even entered the front doors."  

    She said the families light up when they see the mini horse.

    "What's cuter than a child hugging a horse their size who's dressed in an adorable outfit and does tricks?" said Groth.

    Sargent teaches all of those she visits about basic horse safety and care, with the goal of helping them feel confident and capable. She knows all too well how the companionship of animals can help in tough times.

    "I went through a crazy childhood," she said. Her birth mother was a drug addict and she was placed in the foster system.

    Eventually, Alex and Linda Morgan adopted her. Under their guidance, horses became a huge part of her life. As a freshman in high school, Sargent got a job at East County Feed in Santee so she could buy a horse. Her dad helped her set up the $100 a month payment plan.

    "I got into horses to help cope with many different feelings I was having. They were my go-to every day and taught me so much," said Sargent, "It was my outlet."

    Sargent was the first of six girls the Morgans adopted out of the foster system. One of them, Christina, was severely handicapped. Sargent says Christina's birth parents broke every bone in her body and doctors didn't think she'd make it to her first birthday. She survived much longer than that, but would never talk or walk. Sargent and her mom were Christina's caregivers.

    "My mom taught me a lot about care and compassion," Sargent said.

    Christina passed away this June at 26, but not before she got to meet Chips. Sargent said her sister loved to pet the mini horse, and the experience reaffirmed her commitment to helping others like her sister.

    [[329709281,C]]

    "They have no life, they don't make friends they don't get experiences that children should get," Sargent said, "It's sad."

    She said she is also inspired by another one of her adopted sisters, Rebecca, who was born with spina bifida and is in a wheelchair, but helps care for Chips and Tori.

    "Kids that are like her, they get the impression that they can't do it because they're different," she said, "For me, it's extra fulfilling to be able to see them succeed and feel that confidence of, 'hey I can do this! Wow, this is really cool!'"

    It's not just the humans associated with Heart and Hooves Therapy who've overcome great challenges. Chips came with a tragic story of his own. His owner got a divorce, left the state, and abandoned him.

    "He was so scared and clearly abused in some shape or form, he just wasn't what he is today," Sargent said.

    She rescued Chips and worked with him until he was able to take the test to be a therapy pet. He got the highest rating offered from the organization Pet Partners, which tests such animals. Tori will be tested in January.

    Companies have been sponsoring the cost of the off-site visits in the community with a $150 donation. Heart and Hooves Therapy also offers pony play dates at its home in Ramona. The 30 to 45-minute sessions with one of the mini horses cost $25.

    In the short term, Sargent is focused on raising money to help her father fulfill his final wish of visiting Idaho with all of his children before he dies. In the long term, she hopes to continue to grow the non-profit that has made her father so proud.

    "This has always been something I've wanted to do, to incorporate animals and the kids and giving back," said Sargent, as she continued to stand with Tori by her father's side, "So it just came full circle."


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

    Therapy animal Tori stands with a patient.Therapy animal Tori stands with a patient.

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    Tight security, protests and Bollywood beats greeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters Sunday, where hundreds of members from the Indian community showed up to catch a glimpse of the leader of the wold's largest democracy.

    It was obvious Modi was the star of the show — an hour-long Q&A with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — where he answered questions pre-selected from thousands posted by people on the social networking site.

    "We received more than 40,000 comments for this town hall, that's pretty incredible," Zuckerberg, sporting a suit and blue tie instead of his trademark hoodie, said to applause from the crowd.

    He told Modi how a trip to India had inspired him, "It was a temple Steve Jobs told me about," he said.

    "I hope that the inspiration you got in India will help you be the voice of millions of people ... Your experience shows that those who come to India with certain hopes and aspirations, are able to meet those hopes and aspirations," Modi said.

    Modi's followers and members of the Indian press — some of whom had flown in from India — described him as a "global brand" whose reach has far surpassed the Indian subcontinent.

    But his visit is not without controversy. Outside, Sikh groups held a protest, contending that Modi's tenure has resulted in deteriorating religious freedom for Indians. According to a memo handed to attendees — along with samosas and steaming cups of hot chai — the group believes that Modi is trying to turn the world's largest democracy into a Hindu nation through forced conversion of Muslims and Christians. They urged Zuckerberg to ask Modi about it.

    About 100 Modi followers stood on the opposite side of the street, chanting" "East or west, Modi is the best." Police officers kept both groups on the sidewalk, preventing any kind of direct confrontation.

    Social media, women's rights and the importance of family were the highlights of the Q&A, at which Zuckerberg's parents were also present.

    Modi, who received a rockstar welcome from the Indian community when he arrived in San Jose this weekend, is in California to meet with tech leaders to talk about his vision for a digital India. On Saturday, Modi toured the Tesla factory with CEO Elon Musk and Apple CEO Tim Cook. He also met with Google's new CEO, Sundar Pichai, as well as Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, both Indians.

    Modi spoke at Google after the Facebook event Sunday, where Pichai announced plans to bring high-speed Wi-Fi in 400 railway stations across India. Modi will also be speaking to a sold-out crowd of mostly 18,000 Indo-Americans at an event at the SAP Center in San Jose Sunday evening.

    An avid social media user, Modi has more than 30 million followers on Facebook and 15 million followers on Twitter. He had urged people to send him their questions on Facebook, and they did. Questions ranged from immigration to pollution to music piracy, topics an entire generation of Indians are tired of not getting answers to.

    When asked about women's equality in India, Modi said that women have to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with men. He talked about his own humble beginnings, about how he had risen from a simple tea seller to become the prime minister of the world's second-most populous country. He also spoke about his mother, and was moved to tears remembering the time she had to take up a job as a house maid.

    "This shouldn't happened to anyone," he said, to applause from the crowd.

    Modi was asked about the "Make in India" program, that's designed to transform India into a global manufacturing hub.

    Modi said he aims to take India from an eight trillion dollar economy to a twenty trillion dollar economy by focusing on the agriculture, tourism and service sectors. "I want to connect villages with optical fibre and build highways," he said.

    Modi praised social media's role in diplomacy, and how it had brought him closer to leaders of other countries, including China. "With social media you have daily bonding," Modi said. "Government can use this real-time information to speed up their work ... Social media has played a very big role as far as government is concerned."

    “We used to have elections every five years. Now we have them every five minutes,” he said to a crowd cheering at his clever repartees. 

    As the event drew to a close, Modi's supporters surrounded him, chanting "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" or "Hail Mother India," as Secret Service officers tried to keep the crowd from mobbing him.

    In the end, some even managed to get a selfie.



    Photo Credit: Riya Bhattacharjee

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a town hall with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a town hall with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Facebook's headquarters in Menlo Park on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015.

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     A fifth person died Sunday from injuries sustained in the fiery crash of a bus and a tourist "duck boat" in Seattle last week, a Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman said.

    The 20-year-old woman, who was not identified, was an international student attending North Seattle College, the spokeswoman, Susan Gregg, said in a release.

    Four other students from the same college were also killed. Earlier Sunday, hospital officials said that five people were still in intensive care at Harborview; four were in critical condition and one was listed as serious.



    Photo Credit: AP

    A Seattle Police investigator walks off of a charter passenger bus at left that was involved in a fatal crash with the Ride the Ducks tourist vehicle at right, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Seattle.A Seattle Police investigator walks off of a charter passenger bus at left that was involved in a fatal crash with the Ride the Ducks tourist vehicle at right, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Seattle.

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    Grief counseling is being offered at Penn State University after a 19-year-old student from Branford was killed in a one-car crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Sunday afternoon.

    Vitalya "Tally" Sepot was one of seven students in the car returning from a trip to solicit donations for a student-run philanthropy at the University when the accident occured. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Six other students in the car were rushed to an area hospital. Their conditions have not been released. 

    Sepot, who was a graphic design major, was part of a group of students from the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity who were returning from their first weekend of “canning” for donations for THON, according to Penn State officials.

    THON, is a yearlong effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. Several weekends a year are designated as “canning” weekends, where students solicit donations across Pennsylvania.

    "The Penn State community and all who know the good work done through student involvement in THON are deeply saddened by this tragedy," said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs. "Our hopes are with the students injured, whose release from the hospital we are eager to see, but our hearts are with Tally's family and friends, whose terrible loss we mourn."

    Pennsylvania State Police have not released any information on the cause of the crash but say it is under investigation.


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    Francis, the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church, left the United States with a parting message in the same spirit of acceptance that the country showed him.

    The church appreciates anyone trying to raise a good family, "whatever the family, people, region, or religion to which they belong," Francis told a massive audience in Philadelphia after a trip full of adoring crowds and official ceremonies.

    It capped a week where Francis called for nations to embrace immigrants, declared that man has no right to abuse the environment and sought the abolition of the death penalty.

    "I think there were a lot of expectations for the pope to come and kind of let people have it," Dan Misleh, executive director of the Catholic Climate Covenant.

    But Francis was instead compassionate, Misleh said, "urging us to get involved, to become better angels, to become the people who God intends us to be."

    Francis' six-day visit packed in enough events to make it seem like he was making up for lost time – it had been seven years since a pope visited the U.S. – ranging from intimate blessings to a speech at the United Nations directed at the whole world. Then there were the huge religious ceremonies that showed the church's continued connection with this country, including the first canonization of a saint in North America.

    The children Francis embraced captured national attention, perhaps none more so than wheelchair-bound Michael Keating, 10, who has cerebral palsy. The image of Francis bending over to cradle and bless Michael's head on Saturday seemed to capture the tender humanity that brought nearly a million people to Philadelphia for his Sunday Mass, closing the first World Meeting of Families conference in the U.S.

    From his arrival in Washington, D.C., to his departure from Philadelphia, the visit's constants were Francis' daily nap and cheery disposition, an outlook that reflects his religious philosophy.

    "Love is a concept that he comes back to over and over again," said Tiziana Dearing, an associate professor at Boston College's School of Social Work.

    He thinks love manifests it in family, service and preference for the excluded, she said.

    "He's very hesitant to talk about getting people into church as if that's some institutional place. He wants us to think about what the truth of the church points us to," Catholic University of America professor Chad Pecknold said.

    The papal visit comes before an important period for the church, which is about to revisit how the church understands the family, possibly updating its position on divorce and gay marriage. Francis has declared a "Year of Mercy" beginning December 8, 2015, which Pecknold thinks may be a way to influence the bishops' deliberations. Francis has given all priests the power to absolve the "sin of abortion" during the Year of Mercy.

    The World Meeting of Families was an important prelude to those discussions, and Francis' comments about the family in his Sunday evening homily may set the discussion for the church's upcoming decisions about the family.

    Pecknold noted that this visit was much grander than Benedict XVI's U.S. visit in 2008. He also gave Benedict credit for "getting the ball rolling" on addressing sexual abuse at the hands of clergy.

    Francis' meeting with victims of abuse, including clerical sexual abuse, and his impassioned comments vowing to hold abusive priests accountable were some of the most shocking of his trip, as the press was given no notice that he would speak so directly about the matter, which has rocked the church in America since the early 2000s. 

    “I have in my heart these stories of suffering of those youth that were sexually abused,” he said. “God weeps.”

    But for all the moments of gravitas, there were light-hearted ones as well. Francis learned how to use a touchscreen from a student in New York, and met an old friend – a rabbi he used to work with in Argentina – to dedicate a statue about Judaism and Catholicism in Philadelphia.

    “I’m having a hard time imagining a more well-choreographed visit. Every stop seemed to be filled with meaning and things to ponder,” Misleh said. 

    The political moments of Francis' trip occasionally made the news as much for what happened around them than what he said.

    His speech to Congress – a first for a pope – came the day before Speaker of the House John Boehner, a very religious Catholic, announced he will soon resign. Many in the Washington press speculated on whether the pope's appearance had anything to do with Boehner's announcement, essentially injecting him into a national political story he had nothing to do with.

    "The pope comes with none of these intentions in mind but our political system plays out in the context of what he's saying, no matter what," said Dearing, the Boston College professor.

    One national issue in which Francis did intervene was Cuba. The visit came several months after talks he'd brokered yielded a historic agreement between the U.S. and Cuba, and he toured both countries on this trip.

     

    Days after meeting with President Obama, he delivered to U.S. bishops in Philadelphia a statuette of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus sent from Cuban bishops, who wanted it to be delivered to a Cuban community in America.

    "Now I'm not gonna get in this difficult situation, you will decide which Cuban community needs this the most," Francis joked.

    Yet it's in politics where Misleh, the Catholic Climate Covenant director, hopes to see the lasting effects of Francis' trip to the U.S.

    "I would hope that there would be some indication in our political discourse that people have been listening to the pope, that we can have conversations without the vitriol, that we can sit and have dialogue with one another to understand each other’s different points of view," he said. "Right now, at least before the pope’s visit, it certainly didn’t feel that way."

    Noreen O'Donnell contributed to this report. 



    Photo Credit: NBC
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    Pope Francis waves goodbye from his plane as it's about to depart Philadelphia for Rome.Pope Francis waves goodbye from his plane as it's about to depart Philadelphia for Rome.

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