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Ohio teen calls 911: 'I just shot my dad'

A 14-year-old Ohio girl who called 911 to say she had shot her father was arrested and charged with aggravated murder, WLWT reported.

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“Can someone put me in handcuffs?” the girl sobs as she talks to a 911 dispatcher. “I just shot my dad.”

Hamilton police identified the victim as 71-year-old James Allen Ponder. The 71-year-old was shot in the face inside the family’s home early Thursday and later died at a hospital, WLWT reported.

Police called the shooting an "isolated domestic incident" but did not say what led to it, WLWT reported.

"It's a terrible feeling as a parent and a grandmother to know that someone has shot and killed one of their parents,” neighbor Rhonda Campos said.

The girl told authorities no one else was home when she shot her father. According to the police report, the murder was premeditated, WLWT reported.

“I just hope the girl's OK, I hope the family is OK and they come together as a family and that people will be there for them because nobody knows the situation,” Campos told WLWT.

The teen is being held at a juvenile detention center and is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Pope: Atheists better than greedy Christians

Pope Francis called out Christians in a sermon Thursday, suggesting it would be better to be an atheist than to lead a double life, exploit people or manage a greedy business.

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"So many Christians are like this, and these people scandalize others," Francis said during morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta, CNN reported, quoting Vatican Radio. "How many times have we heard — all of us, around the neighborhood and elsewhere — 'But to be a Catholic like that, it's better to be an atheist.' It is that: scandal."

"But what is scandal? Scandal is saying one thing and doing another."

The Vatican later issued a note clarifying that the pontiff was simply saying that God's grace is free to all, even atheists, CNN reported.

Francis' sermon was an extension of Thursday’s Mass readings, which include a passage from the Gospel of Mark. In it, Jesus says it is better to be drowned than to cause others to sin.

Drawing on that passage, Francis gave a blunt example.

He said he imagined a wealthy Christian knocking at the gates of heaven and saying, "Here I am, Lord! ... I went to Church, I was close to you, I belong to this association, I did this ... Don't you remember all the offerings I made?"

To which Jesus may reply, according to Francis:

"Yes, I remember. The offerings, I remember them: All dirty. All stolen from the poor. I don't know you.' That will be Jesus' response to these scandalous people who live a double life."

It is not the first time Francis has referenced atheists. In 2013, he said that heaven is open, potentially, to all people.

"The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone,” he said. "'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!"

Amber Alert issued for missing Connecticut girl

Connecticut State Police have issued an Amber Alert for a missing 6-year-old girl.

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Few details were released from Connecticut State Police, but they said Aylin Sofia Hernandez was reported missing from her Bridgeport home early Friday morning.

She is described as a white/Hispanic with black hair and brown eyes. She is 4 feet tall and weighs 55 pounds.

State and local police said they were looking for a grey Hyundai Elantra with an unknown New York registration being driven by Oscar Hernandez.

Police did not have a description of her clothing.

Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or the Bridgeport Police Department at 203-576-7671.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); = id;  js.src = "//;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> ***AMBER ALERT***Bridgeport Police are searching for a gray Hyundai Elantra with unknown New York registration plates....Posted by Connecticut State Police on Friday, February 24, 2017

What time does President Trump speak at CPAC? What channel?

President Donald Trump will address an audience at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference Friday.

Trump is scheduled to begin speaking around 10:10 a.m. ET at the gathering of conservative activists being held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center near Washington D.C.

Trump was to address the group during last year’s conference, but pulled out at the last minute, leaving other candidates for the GOP presidential nomination to criticize him. He did speak at CPAC before – at the conferences held in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

The speech will be carried live on cable news channels, including CSPAN.  

Bees create buzz by learning to play golf

Bumblebees playing an improvised game of golf are creating quite a buzz among scientists.

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The bees have learned to push a ball into a hole to receive a reward, New Scientist reported.

Scientists know that bees can learn to pull a string to reach an artificial flower containing sugar solution. Bees sometimes have to pull parts of flowers to access nectar, so this isn’t a difficult concept to learn. So Olli Loukola at London’s Queen Mary University tried a more complex task.

Loukola wanted to see if bees could learn to move an object that was not attached to a reward, New Scientist reported. His team built a circular platform with a small hole in the center that was filled with a sugar solution. A researcher showed the bees how to “putt” a ball across the “green,” using a plastic bee on a stick that demonstrated how to move the round object.

The researchers trained three groups  bees differently, New Scientist reported. One group watched a previously trained bee solving the task; another was shown the ball moving into the hole, pulled by a hidden magnet; and a third group was given no demonstration, but was shown the ball already in the hole containing the reward.

The researchers then let the bees do the task on their own. The bees that watched others move the ball were the most successful and took less time to solve the task. Bees that saw the magnetic demonstration also were more successful than those that did not view it.

When the bees were trained with three balls placed at different distances from the hole, most of the successful bees moved the one closest to the hole. This showed that they were able to make generalizations to solve the task more easily, rather than copying exactly what they had seen, New Scientist reported. They also succeeded when faced with a black ball after being trained with a yellow one, showing they weren’t just attracted to the specific color.

“They don’t just blindly copy the demonstrator; they can improve on what they learned,” Loukola said. He thinks this cognitive flexibility could help the bees forage successfully in changing natural environments. “This ability to copy others and improve upon what they observe, I think that’s really important.”

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Support For Health Law Grows, Leaving Republicans In A Bind

Republican members of Congress are at home this week, with many of them getting an earful from anxious constituents about their plans to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. A poll out Friday gives those lawmakers something to be anxious about, too.

The monthly tracking poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds overall support for the health law ticked up to 48 percent in February, the highest point since shortly after it passed in 2010. That was a 5-point increase since the last poll in December. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent project of the foundation.)

In addition, 6 in 10 people said they did not favor current GOP proposals for turning control of Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income residents, over to the states or changing the federal funding method. More than half said Medicaid is important to them or family members.

The increase in the law’s popularity is almost entirely due to a spike in support among independents, whose approval of the law has risen to 50 percent, compared with 39 percent unfavorable. Continuing a trend that dates to the passage of the law, the vast majority of Democrats approve of it (73 percent), while the vast majority of Republicans disapprove (74 percent).

Poll respondents are also concerned about the way Republicans say they will overhaul the measure. While they are almost evenly divided between wanting to see the law repealed (47 percent) or not repealed (48 percent), very few (18 percent) of those favoring repeal support the idea of working out replacement details later. More than half of the repeal supporters (28 percent of the sample) say the repeal and the ACA’s replacement should come simultaneously.

Interestingly, even among Republicans, fewer than a third (31 percent) favor an immediate repeal, while 48 percent support simultaneous repeal and replacement, and 16 percent don’t want the law repealed at all.

Simultaneous repeal and replacement, which is what President Donald Trump has promised, could prove difficult since Republicans have not agreed to a plan. They are using a special budget procedure, called reconciliation, that allows them to move legislation with only a simple majority in the Senate, but that bill is limited in what it can remove from the law and what can be added to it. Other bills would likely have to overcome a filibuster by Democrats in the Senate, which requires 60 votes. Republicans currently have a 52-48 majority in that chamber.

When asked about the Republican plans to overhaul the Medicaid program, nearly two-thirds of those polled prefer the current Medicaid program to either a “block grant” that gives states more flexibility but would limit Medicaid’s currently unlimited budget, or a “per capita cap,” which would also limit spending to states but would allow federal funding to rise with enrollment increases.

Respondents also strongly favor letting states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act continue to receive federal funding. The Supreme Court in 2012 made that expansion optional; 31 states (plus Washington, D.C.) adopted it. Eighty-four percent said letting the federal funds continue was very or somewhat important, including 69 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of respondents in states that did not expand the program.

Republicans are counting on savings from capping Medicaid to pay for other health care options they are advocating.

The national telephone poll was conducted Feb. 13-19 with a sample of 1,160 adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the full sample.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Threat Of Obamacare Repeal Leaves Community Health Centers In Limbo

Treating people for free or for very little money has been the role of community health centers across the U.S. for decades. In 2015, 1 in 12 Americans sought care at one of these clinics; nearly 6 in 10 were women, and hundreds of thousands were veterans.

The community clinics — now roughly 1,300-strong — have also expanded in recent years to serve people who gained insurance under the Affordable Care Act. In 2015, community health centers served 24.3 million people — up from 19.5 million in 2010. Most of the centers are nonprofits with deep roots in their communities and they meet the criteria to be a federally qualified health center. That means they can qualify for federal grants and a higher payment rate from Medicaid and Medicare.

The ACA was a game changer for these clinics — it has enabled them to get reimbursement for much more of the care they provided, because more of their patients now had private insurance or were on Medicaid. Revenue at many clinics went up overall, and many of the health centers used federal funding available under the law to expand their physical facilities and add more services, such as dentistry, urgent care or mental health care.

With repeal of the ACA looming, clinic directors said they stay up at night wondering what’s next. We spoke with four, who all say their clinics are in a holding pattern as Congress debates the health law’s future.

Saban Community Clinic, Los Angeles

Julie Hudman, the CEO of Saban Community Clinic in Los Angeles, Calif., said there’s a lot at stake for her patients.

“A lot of the folks that we see are single adults,” she explained. “They’re maybe more transitional. They’re homeless patients. They have behavioral health challenges. They’re really, to be honest, some of the most vulnerable and poorest patients of all.”

Before the ACA went into effect, eligibility for Medi-Cal, as Medicaid is known in California, depended on a variety of factors, including income, household size, family status, disability and others. Under Obamacare, according to the California Department of Health Care Services, people can now qualify for Medi-Cal on the basis of income alone if their household makes less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level — that’s $16,395 for an individual and $33,534 for a family of four.

Prior the ACA, about half of the Saban clinic’s 18,000 patients were uninsured, Hudman said. They paid little for treatment — maybe a copay of $5 or $10. Almost all of those patients qualified for Medi-Cal after the health law expanded eligibility, she said, and that’s made a big difference for the clinic’s bottom line: Medi-Cal pays the clinic around $200 per patient visit.

These days, more than half of Saban’s revenue comes from health insurance. The possibility of losing some of that money, Hudman said, is forcing some hard decisions. She had been looking to lease or buy a fourth facility, she said, but now that plan is on hold; as are her hopes of expanding free help for the homeless.

“I’m not willing to move forward and take some of those risks,” she said. “I need to make sure that we’re able to pay our bills and pay our staff.”

Before the last election, Hudman said, “we had a lot of momentum moving forward. And now we’ve just sort of stalled.” — Rebecca Plevin, KPCC, Los Angeles

Jordan Health, Rochester, N.Y.

In the last few years, funding has been on the rise at Jordan Health, in Rochester, N.Y., and so has the extent of the clinic’s services.

The boost in funding has partly come from higher reimbursement rates the ACA authorizes, and from the increased number of patients at the clinic who have insurance. But Jordan Health, which has 10 locations in the area, has also benefited from the federal government’s pumping of more money into what are known as section 330 grants that enable expansion of services and facilities.

[caption id="attachment_702819" align="alignright" width="270"] Janice Harbin, CEO of Jordan Health in Rochester, N.Y. says section 330 grants have allowed Jordan Health to hire more health practitioners. (Karen Shakerdge/WXXI)[/caption]

The 330 grant money gives qualified clinics the option of offering services that aren’t billable to insurance plans. At Jordan Health, the funds enabled the hiring of some different types of health practitioners who were not previously part of the team — dietitians, behavioral health specialists and care coordinators. And that, in turn, said Janice Harbin, president and CEO of Jordan Health, means patients can increasingly get the different kinds of care they need in one place.

Almost 90 percent of Jordan’s patients are considered a racial or ethnic minority, and over 97 percent live at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty line, according to data gathered by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration.

“When you’re dealing with a situation of concentrated poverty,” Harbin said, “your patient needs more than just ‘OK, let me give you a checkup, and pat you on the back and say now go out and do all these things I told you to do.'”

Jordan Health received an increase of about $1 million since 2013, according to its grant coordinator, Deborah Tschappat.

Tschappat said she expects Jordan will get about the same annual award in 2017, assuming federal funding for the 330 program stays about the same. If federal funding is cut significantly, they would potentially lose some services.

For now, Jordan Health plans to “expand services judiciously, while increasing efficiency and productivity,” Tschappat said.

In the coming months Harbin and her colleagues will be lobbying lawmakers in Albany and Washington, D.C., to renew Jordan’s funding — including the 330 grant, which is set to end in September.

“We’re used to doing a lot with a little, but we increasingly know that we do need to have financial support,” Harban said. “And that’s keeping us up at night.” — Karen Shakerdge, WXXI, Rochester

Adelante Healthcare, Phoenix

Adelante Healthcare has been part of the health safety net in Phoenix for nearly four decades — when its doctors began helping farm workers in the city’s surrounding fields. But the Affordable Care Act enabled Adelante to expand like a brand new business.

“Adelante has grown by 35 percent in the last 12 months,” said Dr. Robert Babyar, Adelante’s assistant chief medical officer. “We’ve increased our provider staffing — almost doubled our providers. And the number of services we provide has doubled.”

Adelante operates nine clinics throughout the Phoenix metro area. The one where Babyar met with me includes play areas for children and a dental office.

Most of their 70,000 patients are low-income and about half are covered by either Medicaid or KidsCare — Arizona’s version of the Children Health Insurance Program. In 2014, Arizona became one of the Republican-led states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA. That brought more than 400,000 people onto the state’s Medicaid rolls and created big demand for Adelante. Low-income patients who did not have insurance before the expansion had relied on Adelante’s sliding fee schedule. Much of that population now has health coverage, either through the ACA marketplace or the state.

“That opened up more options for our patients, more specialists they could see, procedures they could have done,” Babyar said.

As Congress moves to repeal and replace the health care law, Adelante is in a holding pattern. It has delayed the groundbreaking of a new site until later this year because of the uncertainty. A full repeal of the ACA — without a replacement that keeps its patients covered — would limit any future growth, and strain the new staff and resources it has added. It wouldn’t be the first time Adelante had to scale back its services because of changes to Medicaid. In 2010 and 2011, Arizona lawmakers froze enrollment for its CHIP program and for childless adults in Medicaid. Then, in 2012, Adelante lost more than a million dollars.

Babyar said it has taken several years to get their new patients into the system and working with doctors consistently to manage their conditions.

“All the progress we made with those patients to stay and be healthy — that can fall apart really quick,” said Babyar. — Will Stone, KJZZ, Phoenix

Denver Health, Denver

Denver’s Federico F. Peña Southwest Family Health Center is part of Denver Health — the safety-net system that takes care of low-income people.

“Definitely this clinic has benefited from Obamacare,” said Dr. Michael Russum, who practices family medicine for Denver Health and helps lead the clinic. “And this population has benefited from Obamacare by the expansion of Medicaid.”

That’s what helped make the economics work as Denver Health put a new $26 million clinic in a high poverty neighborhood in 2016, said Dr. Simon Hambidge, Denver Health’s CEO of Community Health Services. With the ACA in place, he said, the health system was able to count on the new clinic having a population of paying patients with insurance that could help support it.

Hambidge predicted the hospital will weather the storm if Obamacare is repealed and there are serious cuts to safety-net programs, like Medicaid and Medicare, as some Republicans have suggested. But it will probably be harder to open new clinics in other high-need neighborhoods, he conceded.

“We’ll survive,” Hambidge said. “We may not be able to be as expansive, because we would be back to less secure times.” — John Daley, Colorado Public Radio

This story is part of NPR’s reporting partnership with local member stations and Kaiser Health News.

7 things to know now: Trump at CPAC; FBI on Russia; Alan Colmes dies; Oscars

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Asking the FBI for help: White House chief of staff Reince Priebus has asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump's campaign staffers had contact with Russian intelligence agencies during the presidential election. According to The Associated Press, Priebus' request came after the FBI told the White House it believed a New York Times story describing those contacts was not accurate. So far, the FBI has not said anything publicly about the report.

2. No mass deportations: John Kelly, secretary of Homeland Security, said Thursday that the United States has not planned any mass deportations of undocumented immigrants, and would not enlist the military to enforce immigration laws. According to the AP, Kelly said any deportations would comply with existing U.S. law and human rights requirements.

3. Trump to speak at CPAC: President Trump will be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday morning. He is expected to express his appreciation for the support he received from conservatives during the election, according to top aide Steve Bannon who spoke Thursday at the conference being held near Washington D.C.

4. Another vacancy on the court: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said he thinks, “the odds are very good" that a seat on the Supreme Court will become vacant this year. Cruz, in an interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, said he has no “inside information” about one of the eight current justices deciding to leave, but "that most of my professional career has been as a Supreme Court litigator and I know the Court well." Judge Neil Gorsuch was nominated to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died last year at the age of 79. His confirmation hearings are set to begin next month.

5. Colmes dies: Fox News commentator Alan Colmes died Thursday after a brief illness. Colmes, a liberal, was paired with Sean Hannity, a staunch conservative, for a nightly show that ran from 1996 to 2009. In a statement Thursday, Hannity called Alan Colmes "one of life's most decent, kind and wonderful people you'd ever want to meet."

And one more

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host the Oscar Awards on Sunday as Hollywood honors its own. “La La Land” is expected to be a big winner going into the show with 14 nominations. The ceremony starts at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday.

In case you missed it

Bond set for protester who made grab for Confederate flag

Bond was set Thursday for a protester who jumped a barricade and attempted to snatch a Confederate flag away from a member of the South Carolina Secessionist Party, WSCS reported.

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Muhiyidin Moye, the leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Charleston, is charged with disorderly conduct stemming from Wednesday’s incident. A judge set a personal recognizance bond of $2,382 for Moye, 31, WCSC reported.

Moye’s leap was caught on live television as he ran across the street, jumped police tape and tried to take away a Confederate flag from another man. Members of the South Carolina Secessionist Party were among several groups gathered outside Sottile Theatre at the College of Charleston to protest an event featuring African-American activist and filmmaker Brittany “Bree” Newsome. 

 “It’s a soldier’s flag and South Carolina lost a quarter of our male population, that’s what that flag represents to us. Black, white, Hispanic, all colors served under that flag so to make it a racial thing is ingenuous," said James Bessinger, who was holding the Confederate flag.

Newsome climbed a 30-foot flagpole and temporarily removed the South Carolina State House's Confederate flag in 2015. She was one of two people arrested after the June 27, 2015, flagpole incident and charged with defacing state property. Newsome said the charges have since been dropped and the case was dismissed. 

Her visit to speak at the College of Charleston is what prompted the Secessionist Party to show resistance. In a discussion called "Tearing Hatred from the Sky," Newsome spoke about her State House Confederate flag protest and other demonstrations she's participated in.

“To bring a woman in like this for a platform like this, it legitimizes that type of behavior. It really validates vandalism and criminal violence," Bessinger said.

"Bree’s intention was to create a new image, a new symbol and a new consciousness of the power inherent in direct action," an event description on the College of Charleston website read.

Last week, a woman posted on Facebook that the college’s decision to host Newsome was “a sure-fire mistake.”

“As long as a person of her nature is put on a pedestal all of this unnecessary bickering, violence, protesting, and vandalism will never stop,” Crystal Branham posted on Feb. 16.

Protester jumps barricade and attempts to get Confederate flag from man #chsnews — Ray Rivera (@RayRiveraLive5) February 22, 2017

Florida woman charged with shooting up heroin in 7-Eleven bathroom

A Florida woman was arrested Wednesday after reportedly shooting up heroin in a 7-Eleven bathroom, Port St. Lucie police said.

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Amanda Bello, 37, was arrested and faces heroin, cocaine and drug paraphernalia charges, police said.

Late Wednesday an officer was at the 7-Eleven and heard groaning from the women’s bathroom. Someone was banging on the walls, the officer said.

The officer knocked on the door and asked the person to come outside. Bello came out of the bathroom, was incoherent and “moving erratically,” according to police records.

Bello left an empty syringe behind the toilet, police said. Another woman, Alexandra Graham, 26, led officers to the car Bello had driven them in. The report identifies Graham as Bello’s partner.

Police found two bags of heroin, cocaine, glass pipes, a spoon with dried heroin, needles and other paraphernalia in the car, records state.

Graham also faces charges of heroin, cocaine and drug paraphernalia charges. 

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