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Sen. Mark Kirk questions opponent’s American heritage during Illinois debate

Sen. Mark Kirk’s one-line comeback about his opponent’s mixed-race heritage was met by an awkward silence during Thursday night’s debate in Springfield, Illinois.

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Kirk, the incumbent U.S. Senator from Illinois, was engaged in the second of three debates with Rep. Tammy Duckworth, a U.S. Army veteran who lost both of her legs in the Iraqi war, the Chicago Tribune reported. Duckworth, who was born in Thailand, is the daughter of a United States marine and a Thai-Chinese mother.

During the debate, the discussion turned to the military and Duckworth, a Democrat who is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, discussed her family’s record of military service.

“My family has served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution,” Duckworth said. “I’m a daughter of the American Revolution. I’ve bled for this nation.”

When it was his turn to respond in a 30-second rebuttal, Kirk said that he “had forgotten that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington.”

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Duckworth took a drink of water. An awkward silence followed before the moderator announced they were moving on to the next question. The Washington Post reported that a panelist gave Duckworth time to respond by detailing her family history — including the fact that the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a statue of her in Mount Vernon, Ill.

Duckworth responded that “There's been members of my family serving on my father's side since the American Revolution,” the Tribune reported. She said she was “proud of both my father's side and my mother's side as an immigrant.”

Kirk's comment drew quick national attention. The left-wing publication Mother Jones called it a “bizarre and offensive quip.”

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly condemned the comment as racist. "Senator Mark Kirk’s attack on Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s family tonight was offensive, wrong, and racist,” spokeswoman Lara Sisselman said in a statement. 

During the first joint appearance on Oct. 3 before the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board, Kirk gave short answers and did not engage with his opponent, the newspaper reported. On Thursday night, the Republican went after Duckworth on a variety of issues ranging from homeland security, military policy and college affordability. 

A statement issued by Kirk campaign spokeswoman Eleni Demertzis did not include an apology from the senator or any claim that Duckworth has misrepresented her family heritage.

“Sen. Kirk has consistently called Rep. Duckworth a war hero and honors her family’s service to this country,” Demertzis said. “But that’s not what this debate was about. Rep. Duckworth lied about her legal troubles, was unable to defend her failures at the VA and then falsely attacked Sen. Kirk over his record on supporting gay rights.”

Indians fan digs professor's response after skipping class for World Series

Charlie Winovich is a rabid Cleveland Indians fan who had a dream come true this week. Not only was his beloved baseball team in the World Series for the first time since 1997, he also had tickets to Game 1 of the Fall Classic, thanks to his father who bought a pair for Charlie and his brother.

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The snag for the Ohio University student was that he had class Tuesday night.

That didn’t stop Winovich. The student checked into class, gave his homework to another student to turn in and then quietly slipped away to attend the game at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Fox Sports reported.

When Charlie’s professor, R. Damian Nance, took attendance at the end of class, the student naturally was not there. Charlie then received an email from Nance, a distinguished professor of geological sciences who said he had "zero tolerance" for such absences.

Charlie responded with the truth. “I’ll be completely honest,” he wrote. “I came and swiped and gave a kid next to me my homework because my dad got us tickets to the World Series in Cleveland. I’m sorry I didn’t want to miss the attendance and I did the homework. I understand if you have repercussions.”

Winovich then attached a photo of himself and his brother at the game.

Damian’s response was one any geological sciences student could dig.

“Charlie. That looks like an impeccable excuse,” he wrote. “No repercussions. Go Tribe!”

Winovich posted a screen shot of the email exchange. He and his brother Will were rewarded by the home team, as the Indians won Game 1 6-0 against the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland pitcher Corey Kluber pitched a masterful game — nine strikeouts in six-plus innings.

“It was me and my little brother and probably the closest time we’ll ever share together,” Winovich told CBS News. “I can’t even explain to you what this past year has been like for your everyday Cleveland fan. It’s surreal.”

It was even more special to get the tickets as a present from his dad, a quadriplegic who has been living with Lou Gehrig’s disease for the past 12 years. 

Winovich’s grandfather had season tickets that he planned on selling so Winovich’s dad could get a better wheelchair, CBS News reported. But his dad refused, and instead, insisted that Charlie and Will go to the game.

“Whatever the (repercussions were going to be), it was worth it to make it to a World Series game,” Winovich told CBS News, adding that it was his first — and perhaps last — World Series game ever. “No matter what the case, if you are a Clevelander and something big is going to happen, we will be there to support our own.”

Nance’s email was flooded with well-wishers because of his response to Winovich, the student-run Post Athens of Ohio University reported.

“I realized I had become twitter famous at 5:40 a.m. this morning when I got a text from my son Christopher in Barcelona, Spain,” Nance said in an email to the newspaper.

Mother hit and killed by car at school bus stop, deputies say

Deputies and state troopers were investigating after a woman was struck and killed by a vehicle near a school bus stop in Union County, North Carolina, early Thursday morning.

Family members identified Hanna Gosney, 46, as the woman killed. She was a mother of five children and grandmother of six grandchildren.

Officials said that around 6:45 a.m. Gosney was dropping off her 6-year-old son and 11-year-old step-granddaughter at a school bus stop on State Line Road, near Highway 601 and the North Carolina-South Carolina state line.

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Family members said that Gosney would drop the children off at the bus stop every morning.

Officials said the children got on the bus and that the bus pulled away but then stopped a few feet later when the driver realized the 6-year-old boy was not sitting down. Troopers said he was arguing with another child over their assigned seats.

Gosney was on the other side of the road when she noticed that the bus had stopped. Investigators said Gosney became alarmed and tried to speak to the bus driver about what was going on. The driver apparently opened the main doors to speak with Gosney but they could not hear each other.

That's when Gosney stepped into the road, and investigators said she was standing in the middle of the road when she was hit by a vehicle heading west.

Gosney was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I didn't believe it until I got here and I seen her laying in the ground and they had to put her in an ambulance," said Gosney's daughter, Jessica Rice.

James Knotts is the father of Gosney's son, who was on the bus. He got the tragic news at work.

"Police came to my job telling me I need to go home, that there's been a pedestrian hit at my house," Knotts said.

Officials said the bus did not have its flashing stop signal lights on when the collision happened.

The driver of the car that hit Gosney was identified as 30-year-old Debra Burr, an assistant teacher at another school in the county who was on her way to work.

Officials said that she was not exceeding the speed limit and that no charges would be filed against her.

School officials said the bus was headed to Union Elementary School and had nine other students on board at the time.

Those students were taken to school and counselors were being made available to them.

Family members said that Gosney was a dedicated mother who would do anything for her children.

WSOC-TV spoke with Gosney’s twin sister, Lynda Harmon, who was trying to stay strong during such a difficult morning.

“She passed -- I can't do this, I'm sorry,” Harmon said. “How do you say goodbye to somebody? How do you do it?”

WSOC-TV asked school offiicals about the bus driver stopping in the road with no lights on, opening the door and talking to someone on the side of the road. The district said it's part of an investigation the school transportation department is doing, but the bus driver is working and there are no personnel issues.

Photos: Florida deputies save pit bulls left on road

Two stranded and injured pit bulls are in good hands thanks to two Orange County deputies.

The deputies found the pit bills Thursday morning in the middle of the road. One had been injured and both appeared frightened, deputies said.

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A passerby, only identified as Adam, saw the deputies tending to the animals and snapped some photos.

Adam sent the pictures to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office with a note saying, "The deputies stood by with the dogs until Animal Services arrived, and they even applied gauze to the injured dog's leg to stop the heavy bleeding. These pictures I took depict a loving nature from our deputies and will tug at any animal lover's heart strings. Thank you."

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office posted the pictures on its Facebook page.

OCSO in Action:Our deputies serve and protect the most vulnerable in our society, and often that includes...Posted by Orange County Sheriff's Office, Florida on Thursday, October 27, 2016

The dogs are now at Orange County Animal Services where they are comfortable and being cared for, deputies said. 

Homecoming queen gives up crown for classmate

Hundreds of people at a Powder Springs, Georgia, high school football game witnessed a moment between classmates that's being called beautiful.

McEachern High School held its homecoming game Friday night.

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

During half-time, members of the homecoming court marched out on the field to find out who would be crowned queen.

Tyersten Kimber, a special education student, and captain of the “Mighty Indian” cheerleading squad was one of the students selected for homecoming court.

“As we anxiously awaited the crowning of queen, something beautiful happened,” said Krissy West, a speech language pathologist and one of the cheerleading coaches at McEachern.

Senior Kyla Chang was announced as the homecoming queen, but without hesitation, she immediately gave her crown to Kimber.

West says that the girls on the court had decided beforehand that regardless of who won, they would give their crown to Kimber because they felt she deserved to be queen.

Kimber’s mother said she never thought this would happen in a million years, but she is so proud of her daughter.

Tyersten was born just shy of 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound and 11 ounces. She spent 14 months in the NICU, her mother said. 

Her biological mother felt she was unable to care for her due to her medical issues and gave her up for adoption. 

Mary Kimber worked at the hospital and brought her husband to see Tyersten. She sat in his lap, grabbed his finger and "the rest is history," Mary Kimber said. 

Police: Mother stabs her son then drops him off at school

Police said a mother stabbed her own teenage son Thursday morning outside a Memphis, Tennessee, high school. 

The Memphis Police Department said Toni Coleman pulled a pocketknife and stabbed her 16-year-old son around 7:30 a.m. 

Police said the victim told them his mom stabbed him in the leg a few miles from Ridgeway High School. He also told them his mother was driving him, his brother, and his sister when he got into an argument with her. 

MPD said that Coleman proceeded to drop her son off at school after stabbing him. 

The teen was taken to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in non-critical condition. 

Toni Coleman,41, was charged with aggravated assault. 

According to a Shelby County Schools spokesperson, the stabbing did not occur on the school's property, but officers were called to the school to investigate an incident that happened nearby. 

Trial set for 14-year-old charged with pizza driver's murder

The 14-year-old boy charged in an Atlanta-area pizza delivery driver's March murder is scheduled to stand trial next week. 

The Gwinnett County District Attorney's Office announced Thursday that the trial for Reginald Lofton, who has been charged as an adult, is set to begin Monday. The 14-year-old is facing charges of murder, felony murder, armed robbery and aggravated assault in connection with the March 1 shooting death of 28-year-old Shane Varnadore. 

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According to police, Lofton and 21-year-old co-defendant Jermaine Young robbed and shot Varnadore, a Papa John's delivery driver, outside an apartment complex on Lawrenceville's Herrington Road. 

During a previous hearing, a detective testified that Lofton and Young had blamed each other for pulling the trigger. The detective also testified that, during the execution of a search warrant at the suspects' apartment, authorities found the murder weapon hidden inside a box of pancake mix. 

Investigators also believe that, just hours before the shooting, Lofton and Young posted photos on Facebook that showed them posing with the same weapon used to kill Varnadore. 

Those photos were shown in court.

The trial scheduled next week is only for Lofton. It was unclear Thursday if a separate trial had been scheduled for Young.

In March, the alleged victim's mother, Teresa Varnadore, told Channel 2 Action News that her son was "just out there trying to make a living" when he was killed. 

"It just doesn’t make any sense," she said at the time. "I know my son. He would have given it to them willingly."

Pence campaign plane slides off runway at New York City airport

No one was injured when the plane carrying Republican VP candidate Mike Pence slid off the runway at LaGuardia Airport in NYC according to The Associated Press.

The plane made a rough impact when it landed. The pilot slammed on the brakes and travelers could smell burning rubber.

Pence says mud splashed on the front windows of the cockpit.

According to ABC News, Pence's plane had been grounded for an hour at Ft. Dodge Regional Airport in Iowa by LaGuardia Airport.

Passengers, including Pence, were evacuated through the back of the plane.

The LaGuardia airport was closed following the incident.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Report: Mariah Carey and billionaire fiance are 'trying to work out' relationship

Mariah Carey may or may not be getting married.

Although the singer is still in the process of divorcing actor Nick Cannon, she's currently engaged to billionaire James Packer, who she reportedly started dating in June 2015.

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Like many celebrity couples, they've been plagued by breakup rumors, and a representative for Carey is reportedly speaking out.

According to Entertainment Tonight, Carey's representative said Carey has not seen Packer since they had a fight last month while vacationing in Greece.

"The fight was not because of any cheating allegations, or excessive spending by Mariah," the rep said, adding that she and Packer, "one of the most successful businessmen in the world," are "trying to work it out."

"Right now, they’re not sure if they will stay together."

People reported that a possible source of disagreement between the couple is over Mariah's E! reality show "Mariah's World," which airs in December.

Cannon and Carey, parents to 5-year-old twins Monroe and Moroccan, were married for six years before Cannon filed for divorce in 2014.

ET reported that Carey and Packer "plan to release an official statement after they've determined their future," citing Carey's rep.

Born before women's suffrage, Georgia woman votes for Clinton

When Faye Butler was born in 1918, the star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox was Babe Ruth, World War I was five months away from ending and women could not vote.

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Butler, who was born in Iowa and lives in Decatur, Georgia, is 98 years old and has now voted in her 20th presidential election. She cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton, meaning the woman who was born before women had the right to vote has voted for a woman for president.

"I'm sure that she's going to be Madam President," Butler says. "I've been thinking about this for 10 years now and I was really disappointed that she didn't make it the first time."

Butler was born in Council Bluffs, where her sister (younger by 18 months) still lives. She says that when she voted this year she thought about her mother and women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, who fought for the right.

"When I heard what they did in order to get us the right to vote," she says, "I think that young women need to get out and vote."

Butler says she did not hear either her mother or grandmother tell stories about being represented by people they could not vote for, but did relay one story about her grandmother and the time she was getting ready to vote for the first time.

"I asked her if she was going to vote and she said no," Butler says, "because she said she would eliminate Pa's vote if she did.

"So I told her that, if I ever got married and he was going to vote for someone I didn't like, I was going to make sure to vote.”

At the age of 22, Butler's very first presidential vote went to Franklin D. Roosevelt.

"I guess I liked his fireside chats,” Butler told WSB-TV.

And so began a lifetime of voting Democrat. The sole exception: the election of 1948. Faye's family was afraid President Harry Truman was in cahoots with political bosses in Kansas City.

"Well, we assumed that Truman was part of this. So we voted for Dewey," Butler said.

Butler, who was a charter subscriber to Ms. magazine (and still has the Margaret doll she bought when she purchased the subscription), says she often considers herself lucky to be born before women could vote and now has voted for a woman.

"I just believe in women's rights. I just believe that Hillary is going to make it," Butler told WSB-TV.

And with a smile on her face Butler said she will accept the results of the election.

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