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Letters pour in for boy with autism who said he had no friends

A father is thanking people around the world for reaching out to his son with autism, who said he has no friends.

Last week, Bob Cornelius, of Rockaway Township, New Jersey, posted a photo to Facebook, showing one of his son’s class assignments that highlighted his loneliness.

Under a question that asked students to list some of their friends, his son, Christopher, 11, wrote “No one.”

>> Read more trending stories

"No One":For those of you who don't know, my youngest son, Christopher, is on the autistic spectrum.  I went to his...Posted by Bob Cornelius on Monday, September 19, 2016

“Never have five letters cut so deep, and they weren’t even directed at me,” Cornelius wrote in the now-viral Facebook post.

One week later, Cornelius said he is overwhelmed with the showing of support from around the world.

>>Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Today's mail...Posted by Bob Cornelius on Monday, September 26, 2016

In the past seven days, Christopher has received letters and gifts from people as far away as Australia and Argentina, WCBS reported.

“This is humbling. This is overwhelming,” said Cornelius. “It makes me feel grateful–,  grateful that people have the kindness to reach out to a boy.”

Cornelius said he hoped this opens a larger conversation about encouraging kids to have more empathy for kids with special needs.

“I was hurt, I was devastated, and I was trying to find a solution,” Cornelius told News 12 New Jersey. “The only solution I could come up with was raising awareness, and having parents talk to their kids about being kind and including those that are different than them.”

Home Depot to pull Scary Peeper Creeper Halloween decoration

Home Depot said the company would pull a Halloween decoration after a Canadian woman complained that the product bares a likeness too similar to a Peeping Tom and trivializes predatory behaviour against women, The Toronto Sun reported.

>> Read more trending stories  

Breanne Hunt-Wells told CBC News that the "Scary Peeper Creeper" decoration is "inappropriate and makes light of a real-life, sinister issue that women face in our society."

"I fail to see the humour in it," Hunt-Wells told CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "It makes light of a very serious crime. Voyeurism is a crime in Canada."

A description on Home Depot's website describes the item as "perfect for scaring friends and family during Halloween or any other time of the year" and a "realistic face (that) looks just like a real man is peering through the window at you."

Home Depot responded to criticism saying it is "currently in the process of removing this product from (its) assortment."

"We agree that this is not in line with our core values," Home Depot spokeswoman Emily DiCarlo said. "We've reached out to advise the customer of our actions and apologize. We're sorry for any offence that was caused."

>> Disney pulls controversial Maui costume from store

The move comes after Disney yanked a costume timed to the release of the movie "Moana." The costume, designed for boys, is based on Maui, a Polynesian ancestral figure to many Pacific Islanders. Critics found it culturally insensitive.

21 Pasta Recipes 'Cause We Can't Say No to Carbs

When it comes to curling up with a bowl of something warm and satisfying, you really can’t beat pasta. It tops practically every “comfort foods” listicle out there: It’s incredibly versatile and can easily be made healthier without sacrificing flavor. Don't believe us? We'll prove it. Baked Pastas 1. Healthy Mushroom Alfredo Pasta Bake Photo: Pinch of Yum The secret to this cream-free cream sauce? Cauliflower! Puréed with milk, garlic, and olive oil, it gives this whole-wheat pasta bake an extra serving of veggies. A hefty sprinkling of Gruyere on top makes sure that no cheesy flavor is sacrificed. 2. Tuna Pasta Bake With Tomatoes Photo: Give Recipe Think of this as the pasta version of a tuna melt. This fish is sautéed in a light pink sauce of puréed tomatoes and milk (no cream necessary), with plenty of mozzarella for that necessary bubbly, cheesy topping. 3. Vegan Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese With Crispy Sage Breadcrumbs Photo: She Likes Food Blanketed in a nutmeg-spiced butternut squash and peppered with sage-speckled breadcrumbs, this is the quintessential fall pasta. It’s the perfect way to satisfy a mac and cheese craving while keeping things nutritious. 4. Baked Pasta With Creamy Spinach and Brussels Sprouts Photo: Vegan Sandra Who needs butter, cream, milk, or cheese when you can get the same Alfredo-like results with just one ingredient: sunflower seeds. The tiny but healthy fat- and vitamin E-packed powerhouses give this bake a fantastically nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the roasted Brussels sprouts. 5. Cheesy Hot Italian Sausage Pasta Bake Photo: The Cooking Jar Sometimes a nip in the air calls for a stick-to-your-ribs meal. This one fits the bill, with sausage, mozzarella, and Parmesan teaming up for a hearty dinner that takes just 15 minutes of prep before the oven does the rest of the work for you. Go for lean meat and part-skim cheese if you’re looking for healthier swaps. 6. Healthy 3-Cheese Chicken Penne Pasta Bake Photo: The Girl Who Ate Everything You may not think that something with “three-cheese” in its title could ever be made healthy, but when those cheeses involve lower-fat Neufchatel (or cream cheese), 2% mozzarella, and just two tablespoons of Parmesan, it can be done. Increase the fiber count by using multigrain penne and plenty of spinach, and this dish can easily become part of your usual dinner rotation. 7. Pumpkin and Kale Stuffed Shells Photo: Veggie Inspired Journey This bake fits right into the season of pumpkin-spiced everything, except it relies on pure pumpkin instead of artificial flavorings—win! The beta carotene-rich veggie is stirred with tofu and chopped kale to become a delicious nondairy filling for the pasta shells. 8. Baked Risotto With Squash, Mushrooms, and Sage Photo: Ciao Veggie Who needs dairy when you've got creaminess from the puréed squash, tons of garlic flavor, and depth from the caramelized onions and white wine? It does take a while to make (most risotti do), but a good chunk of the cooking time is spent in the oven, meaning you’re not stuck at the stovetop, stirring constantly. 9. Baked Chicken and Orzo Photo: Maya Kitchenette You don’t even need to boil the orzo beforehand for this bake—just sauté the dry pasta in some spices before putting it in the oven, where it’ll actually cook. Topped with chicken pieces and juicy cherry tomatoes, it’s a well-balanced, insanely tasty one-pot meal. 10. Seafood Gratin Pasta Bake Photo: Recipe Tin Eats Whoever said that fish and cheese don’t go together needs a big ol’ helping of this recipe. Not only does it take just 35 minutes and nix the cream that’s usually poured by the cupful into gratins, but the seafood and white sauce mixture tastes like something out of a fancy French restaurant. Far from mismatched, the combo is meant to be. Stovetop/Skillet Pastas 11. Whole-Wheat Spaghetti and Eggplant “Meatballs” Photo: The Kitchen Flamingo Take eggplants out of the Parmesan rut and use them as the base for easy vegetarian meatballs. Mixed with egg yolks, cheese, and breadcrumbs, they’re a wholesome way to make a simple meal of spaghetti and jarred marinara sauce a bit more exciting. 12. Caramelized Fig Walnut Pasta Photo: Avo Maniac If you’re always looking for outside-the-box flavor combos, this recipe is a must-try. Figs and onions are caramelized in coconut sugar; spiralized zucchini allows for more volume without going overboard on the carbs; and roasted walnuts add healthy fats plus a nice, crunchy contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth fruits and veggies. Did we mention it’s ready in less than 30 minutes? 13. Pumpkin Orzo Photo: Blommi It may have been meant as a side dish, but we’d say this recipe is filling enough for a quick-fix meatless main. With only four main ingredients—most of them pantry items like canned pumpkin and dry pasta—it’s what you make when you’re short on time and groceries but refuse to give in to takeout. 14. Winter Squash Carbonara With Broccoli Rabe and Sage Photo: Half Baked Harvest If you haven’t used broccoli rabe much before, this is the recipe to introduce the vitamin A-rich veggie into your kitchen. It’s swirled into pasta, topped with cheese, and bacon is involved. What’s not to love? 15. Creamy Garlic Spinach Chicken Pasta Photo: Becky's Best Bites With cream cheese, grated Parmesan, and plenty of chicken, this is the ultimate bowl of pasta to curl up with on a chilly evening. There are a few healthy tweaks, like whole-wheat pasta and the addition of spinach to give it some more fiber, but really, this one’s got “treat yo-self” written all over it. 16. Vegetarian Fettuccine Carbonara With Mushrooms Photo: Healthy Seasonal Recipes In most carbonaras, you’ll find at least three egg yolks and no shortage of pancetta. This vegetarian version skips the bacon entirely, slashes the yolk count down to one, and is still as tasty as ever, proving that a few quality ingredients can go a long way when it comes to making rich recipes healthier. 17. Spicy Red Pasta With Lentils Photo: Minimalist Baker Vegan pastas can often fall short in the protein department. Not this one! Quick-cooking red lentils are a unique way to give this recipe some more staying power. Sautéd in a garlicky tomato purée, they make the sauce taste like a plant-based Bolognese. 18. Pasta Alla Norma Photo: Green Thumb White Apron Olive oil is a good fat, but this traditional Sicilian pasta usually requires the eggplant to be soaked in it—not quite so healthy. This recipe cuts down the oil to just 1/4 cup, which turns out to be more than enough for the veggies to become tender and keep the sauce from drying out. 19. Easy One-Pot Lasagna Photo: Damn Delicious Skip that finicky assembly process of baked lasagna with this “deconstructed” stovetop version, which requires no pre-boiling and no layering; short-cut pasta cooks right in the sausage and tomato sauce, with big dollops of ricotta melting on top. It also takes just 30 minutes from start to finish—no waiting impatiently by the oven. 20. Crab Bolognese Photo: Healthy Living in Heels Crab may be an unusual ingredient in a pasta sauce, but there ain't nothing fishy about this Bolognese. Flavored with fennel, basil, and lemon, this single-serving recipe shows you that there’s no reason not to eat well just because you’re eating solo. 21. Roasted Butternut Squash Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta Photo: Joyful Healthy Eats Roasted butternut squash and soft goat cheese. Crispy strips of bacon and crunchy pecan pieces. Caramelized onions and sage. Need we say more?

Serena Williams Talks About What It’s Like to Be a Black Person Behind the Wheel in 2016

It seems another instance of police brutality against a black man surfaces every week, and Serena Williams is no longer staying silent. She got super candid in a recent Facebook post, talking about the panic she felt after seeing a cop car in the distance while driving with her nephew. She instantly thought of the Facebook live video that went viral in July of a woman sitting in the passenger seat next to her boyfriend who had just been shot and killed by the police. Could something similar happen to Williams? The sad reality is it could. Hopefully by sharing her story (check out the full text below), the all-star tennis player can help others better understand the worries black people have to deal with every day: Today I asked my 18 year old nephew (to be clear he's black) to drive me to my meetings, so I can [sic] work on my phone #safteyfirst. In the distance I saw [a] cop on the side of the road. I quickly checked to see if [my nephew] was obliging by the speed limit. Then I remembered that horrible video of the woman in the car when a cop shot her boyfriend. All of this went through my mind in a matter of seconds. I even regretted not driving myself. I would never forgive myself if something happened to my nephew. He's so innocent. So were all "the others." I am a total believer that not "everyone" is bad. It is just the ones that are ignorant, afraid, uneducated, and insensitive that is affecting millions and millions of lives. Why did I have to think about this in 2016? Have we not gone through enough, opened so many doors, impacted billions of lives? But I realized we must stride on—for it's not how far we have come but how much further still we have to go... I had to take a look at me. What about my nephews? What if I have a son and what about my daughters? As Dr. Martin Luther King said " There comes a time when silence is betrayal." I Won't Be Silent

Breastfeeding mom claims deputy threatened to arrest her for being 'offensive'

A woman who was breastfeeding in Columbus, Georgia, took to Facebook after claiming a deputy threatened to arrest her for doing so, saying some may find it “offensive.”

Savvy Shukla uploaded a lengthy post to Facebook on Sunday explaining the incident. Shukla said she was at Piggly Wiggly with her sister and two children when a deputy came up to her.

>> Read the Facebook post here

Posted by Savvy Shukla on Sunday, September 25, 2016

Shukla said she told the deputy that Georgia law allows her to breastfeed in public. The deputy then fired back, she said.

“You just THINK you know what the law says and if your nipple becomes exposed I really don’t want to have to arrest you or you be arrested for being offensive. This isn’t like the first amendment where you can say something offensive,” Shukla claimed the angry deputy told her.

>> Read more trending stories

“I’m so upset about it and I understand why this type of harassment can cause moms to stop,” she added.

Muscogee County Sheriff John T. Darr wrote about the incident on his Facebook page Monday morning and clarified that breastfeeding is legal in Georgia.

"We are currently looking into this incident, and it will be addressed," Darr wrote. "Our office does not condone these actions and will ensure all officers know and understand the law. On behalf of the Muscogee County Sheriff's Office, I would like to personally extend an apology to the woman involved, and we hope that she knows that these are not the opinions or practices of the office as a whole."

>> Read the full post here

Good Morning, I have seen and am aware of a post circulating Facebook, regarding a situation between a Muscogee County...Posted by Sheriff John T. Darr on Monday, September 26, 2016

Later, Darr told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer that he talked to the deputy, who said he only told Shukla that she might want to "cover up" after customers approached him.

“I think she had the mindset that he said that she couldn’t (breastfeed), and that’s so far from the truth,” Darr told the Ledger-Enquirer. “That’s my problem. People put that stuff out there on Facebook without getting all the facts.”

Shukla took to Facebook again to respond to the article.

"I am FURIOUS!" she wrote. "No the Deputy didn't just tell me to cover and leave it at that. He ARGUED with me about the law and told me I just 'THINK' I know the law and THREATENED TO ARREST ME or that I'd be ARRESTED IN THE FUTURE. Are you kidding me!?"

>> Read the post here

I am FURIOUS! No the Deputy didn't just tell me to cover and leave it at that. He ARGUED with me about the law and...Posted by Savvy Shukla on Monday, September 26, 2016

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Yankee fan pops question during game, loses ring

It was his big moment, but one New York Yankees fan dropped the ball, or make that the ring. 

Andrew Fox made the biggest error of his life, and it was all broadcast on the diamond vision at Yankee Stadium.

>> Read more trending stories  

The New Castle, Pennsylvania man dropped to one knee, ready to propose during the fifth inning of Tuesday's Yankee/Red Sox game, and he dropped the ring, The Associated Press reported

<iframe src='http://mlb.mlb.com/shared/video/embed/embed.html?content_id=1190995683&amp;width=390&amp;height=218&amp;property=mlb' width='400' height='224' frameborder='0'>Your browser does not support iframes.</iframe>

The crowd of more than 35,000 fans made a collective gasp, then booed the drop as Fox and his potential fiancee Heather Terwilliger searched for the ring. For five minutes, the couple and surrounding fans frantically searched.

Finally Terwilliger noticed something shining in the cuff of her pants, the ring!

>>Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

So Fox dropped to his knee a second time, hopefully holding onto the bauble tightly, asking Terwilliger to marry him. She did say yes. 

They were also named fans of the game during the seventh-inning stretch.

The Right Way to Microwave Food So It Doesn’t Explode

Don’t feel like planning ahead to reheat yesterday’s chicken and veggies in the oven? Can’t stand the thought of having to wash a pot for warming your soup or cooking oatmeal? With a microwave you don’t have to. The device exists to make things more convenient. And yet, when you have to waste time scouring the inside of your hotbox because your food blew up—again—they’re anything but. Sure, you could be one of those people who ignores the mess and lets the crusty, old food build up like snow in a polar vortex. (It’s just gonna happen again, so what’s the point?) But instead of wiping down messes for the umpteenth time, why not prevent the disgusting explosions in the first place? Why Foods Explode in the Microwave Microwaves function differently than other heat-inducing appliances: Ovens and stovetops heat food from the outside in, but microwaves warm everything at the same time, Penn State experts say. The electromagnetic waves cause the water molecules to gyrate back and forth, like middle schoolers at a dance. All that motion generates friction, which generates heat. (The waves, FYI, do emit small amounts of radiation. But there’s no evidence proving that there’s enough radiation to actually hurt you. So go ahead and nuke.) Things can start to go awry when that heat penetrates food with a high water content. With notorious exploders, “Water starts to turn into steam, which could get trapped and form a bubble,” explains Institute of Food Technologists Student Association president-elect Matt Teegarden. That bubble eventually ends up bursting, and you end up with @%#! all over your microwave. How to Stop the Splatter Microwaving burst-prone foods is all about keeping that wild water under control. The best way to do that? It depends on the item in question. Potatoes White and sweet potatoes both have a thick skin that traps steam. But making lots of little holes in the surface with a fork would allow that steam to escape easily, Teegarden says. I tried it with a sweet potato, and I heard a lot of scary hissing. “That’s the sound of the water getting hot and turning into water vapor,” Teegarden told me. The verdict: Despite the horrifying noises, this worked like a charm. And it was a lot faster than baking the potato for an hour an the oven. Eggs With its steam-trapping shell, trying to hard-boil an egg is practically begging for an explosion. The most obvious way to prevent steam from building up is by pricking a hole in the eggshell with a pin. But that didn’t do much good for me: The egg still kablammed. Making a larger hole just caused the egg white to start leaking out. Some people say to cook the egg at 50 percent power, but the only way that my microwave rolls is full-throttle. So I decided to get rid of the shell altogether and make scrambled eggs instead. Stopping to stir the eggs every 30 seconds or so helped me achieve a fluffy, curd-like texture, rather than a mass of uniform egg. The verdict: In my non-fancy microwave, it was impossible to make a hard-boiled egg. So I got rid of the steam build-up problem altogether by making scrambled eggs instead. It was easy. Spaghetti Squash A spaghetti squash is a lot like a potato, just with thicker skin... skin that’s too thick to prick with a fork. To deal with this, most recipes for microwaved spaghetti squash say to slice the squash in half horizontally and place the squash cut-side down on a microwave-safe plate. That allows enough steam to escape without totally drying out the squash flesh. The verdict: This worked! The squash didn’t blow up, and the inside cooked up tender and moist. (Tip: Don't forget the microwave-safe plate like we did in the above GIF.) Oatmeal I came across a couple of odd methods that were supposed to keep big bubbles from forming in my oatmeal. Adding copious amounts of butter was supposed to make the oatmeal more slippery and less gel-like. Resting chopsticks on top of the bowl was supposed to break up bubbles before they got too big. Thankfully, there were also simpler options: Teegarden said I could stir the oatmeal frequently to promote more even heat distribution and stop bubbles from forming in the first place. Using a big bowl was supposed to reduce the likelihood of spillovers. The verdict: The part of the buttery oatmeal that didn’t end up all over the microwave (about half?) was rich and delicious. Chopstick oatmeal was just plain messy. Stirring the oatmeal often in a big bowl worked, but I had to be vigilant. If I walked away for more than 30 seconds, I risked returning to a bubble on the verge of bursting. Tomato Sauce Tomato sauce and oatmeal explode for pretty much the same reasons. So I figured that I could keep my tomato sauce tidy the same way as my morning porridge: Use a big bowl and stir the sauce frequently. And if that didn’t work? “The best thing might be to get one of those splatter shields,” he told me. The verdict: As predicted, using a big bowl and stirring every 30 seconds got the job done. Yes! The Bottom Line You can end the cycle of endless microwave explosions by stopping steam from building up in your food. And maybe getting a splatter shield for extra insurance.

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