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►  Only woman to win math equivalent of Nobel Prize dies

STANFORD — Maryam Mirzakhani, a Stanford University professor who was the first and only woman to win the prestigious Fields Medal in mathematics, has died. She was 40.

Mirzakhani, who battled breast cancer, died on Saturday, the university announced. It did not indicate where she died.

In 2014 Mirzakhani was one of four winners of the Fields Medal, which is presented every four years and is considered the mathematics equivalent of the Nobel Prize. She was named for her work on complex geometry and dynamic systems.

“Mirzakhani specialized in theoretical mathematics that read like a foreign language by those outside of mathematics: moduli spaces, Teichmüller theory, hyperbolic geometry, Ergodic theory and symplectic geometry,“ according to the Stanford press announcement. “Mastering these approaches allowed Mirzakhani to pursue her fascination for describing the geometric and dynamic complexities of curved surfaces_spheres, doughnut shapes and even amoebas - in as great detail as possible.“

The work had implications in fields ranging from cryptography to “the theoretical physics of how the universe came to exist,“ the university said.

Mirzakhani was born in Tehran, Iran, and studied there and at Harvard University. She joined Stanford as a mathematics professor in 2008.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani issued a statement Saturday praising Mirzakhani. “The grievous passing of Maryam Mirzakhani, the eminent Iranian and world-renowned mathematician, is very much heartrending,“ Rouhani said in a message that was reported by the Tehran Times.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said her death pained all Iranians, the Tehran Times reported.

“The news of young Iranian genius and math professor Maryam Mirzakhani’s passing has brought a deep pang of sorrow to me and all Iranians who are proud of their eminent and distinguished scientists,“ Zarif posted in Farsi on his Instagram account. “I do offer my heartfelt condolences upon the passing of this lady scientist to all Iranians worldwide, her grieving family and the scientific community.“

Mirzakhani originally dreamed of becoming a writer but then shifted to mathematics.

When she was working, Mirzakhani would doodle on sheets of paper and scribble formulas on the edges of her drawings, leading her daughter to describe the work as painting, according to the Stanford statement.

Mirzakhani once described her work as “like being lost in a jungle and trying to use all the knowledge that you can gather to come up with some new tricks, and with some luck you might find a way out.“

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne called Mirzakhani a brilliant theorist who made enduring contributions and inspired thousands of women to pursue math and science.

Mirzakhani is survived by her husband, Jan Vondrák, and daughter, Anahita.


►  Trump’s no ‘dying in the streets’ pledge faces reality check

Donald Trump has often said he doesn’t want people “dying in the streets” for lack of health care.

But in the United States, where chronic conditions are the major diseases, people decline slowly. Preventive care and routine screening can make a big difference for those at risk for things such as heart problems and cancer, especially over time.

That edge is what doctors and patients fear will be compromised if Republican efforts to repeal the Obama-era health law lead to more uninsured people. The uninsured tend to postpone care until problems break through.

It’s a message that lawmakers are hearing from doctors’ groups and constituents, in letters and emails, and at town hall meetings.

About 10 years ago, Cathy Cooper of Ocala, Florida, was battling a blood cancer. Against doctor’s advice, she continued to work full time as a paralegal, through chemotherapy and radiation, just to preserve her health insurance. Cooper said she would schedule chemo on Fridays, spend the weekend sick from side effects and report back to work Monday.

Now in her early 30s, Cooper is healthy. She has her own business as a photographer specializing in maternity, newborns, families and seniors, and a family of her own. Her health insurance is through HealthCare.Governor With her cancer history, Cooper is worried about changes under debate that may reduce options for people with medical conditions. She said she voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

“The ‘dying in the streets’ thing — it’s an over-time process,” said Cooper. “If I didn’t have insurance, it (cancer) could just keep forming inside me and I wouldn’t know. Then I’d go into the hospital, and there’s nothing they could do. And then, yeah, I could die in the street. But that’s because I wouldn’t have had insurance to get things checked out prior to that point.”

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Octavia Cannon said that’s basically what happened to one of her patients several years ago. The patient, a working mother with three young children and more than one job, was uninsured after losing previous Medicaid coverage. She went to Cannon, an osteopathic ob-gyn, because of abnormal bleeding. Cannon said she knew something was horribly wrong on the basis of her initial physical examination. The pathology lab confirmed advanced cervical cancer.

“In six months, she was dead,” Cannon recalled. “All I could think was ‘Who is going to take care of these babies?’ If she had only come in for a Pap smear.”

Such stories are swirling around the Senate debate as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pushes toward a vote on legislation rolling back much of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The GOP bill has been facing headwinds since the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would lead to 22 million more uninsured people by 2026.

Administration officials say the nonpartisan budget office has been wrong before about health coverage, and its analytical methods may give too much weight to the current requirement that most people carry health insurance or risk fines. (Republicans would repeal that immediately.) Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Trump’s goal is more people with health insurance, not fewer.

“Nobody is looking at it in its totality,” Price said recently on NBC. “We will bring down premiums, we will increase coverage, we’ll increase choices. And I believe we’ll increase the quality of care provided in this nation.”

There’s not much debate about the negative consequences of being uninsured.

Studies by the National Academies have found that the uninsured are more likely to receive too little care, and too late; be sicker and die sooner; and receive poorer care in the hospital.

But surprisingly, there are questions about whether gaining coverage produces tangible health benefits.

Major government surveys have documented clear improvements to family finances associated with Obama’s coverage expansion. On health itself, the evidence is mixed.

Medicaid expansions in New York, Maine and Arizona in the early 2000s were associated with a 6 percent decline in death rates in those states, compared with neighboring states that did not expand coverage for low-income people. A study of Massachusetts found a similar trend.

But in Oregon a Medicaid expansion study that found a marked reduction in depression failed to detect significant improvement in blood sugars, blood pressure and cholesterol levels — risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Cyrus Hamidi, a solo family medicine practitioner in Sparks, Maryland, said having insurance is a start, reducing barriers to access for patients.

“If you have to pay to go to the doctor, then you worry about payment instead of what you need to do to reduce the risk of dropping dead,” he said.

Gaywin Day, a union electrician from Austin, Texas, said being able to get coverage under Obama’s law in the aftermath of a medical crisis has been “a lifesaver.”

Day, in his early 60s, was between jobs and uninsured when he had a stroke in March. A couple of months later, a “special enrollment period” enabled him to get subsidized coverage through HealthCare.gov, opening doors to physical therapy and follow-up medical care.

Now, Day no longer uses a walker or cane. He’s thinking about returning to work.

“Nobody wants anybody dying in the streets, but if I hadn’t got this. ... I could just be shriveling up in my bed,” he said.

He didn’t cast a ballot last year. “I don’t vote,” said Day. “I do a lot of praying.”


►  NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen last week

A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

___

NOT REAL: Trump Jr.: “My Russian Meetings Prove I’m A Real American That Knows How To Create Opportunities And Fake Advantages”

THE FACTS: Hoax site politicot.com published a lengthy defense attributed to Donald Trump Jr. of his meeting with a Russian lawyer last summer during the campaign against Hillary Clinton, featuring a screen grab of the president’s son speaking on Fox News. Trump never made the remarks, with quotes like “our people value results above all else” and “the end justifies the means,” in public statements. In his Fox interview this week, the president’s eldest son called the meeting routine opposition research, but added he “probably would have done things a little differently.”

___

NOT REAL: Nancy Pelosi Taken From Her Home By DEA After Her Own Daughters Sold Her Out

THE FACTS: A series of stories from several sites claim House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is embroiled in a drug scandal after daughters were caught with cocaine in Berkeley, California, or the Mexican border. The names of the daughters in the stories vary, but none of them are the names of Pelosi’s actual daughters, Christine, Alexandra, Jacqueline and Nancy. A search of the federal court system reveals no pending drug cases against anyone named Pelosi.

___

NOT REAL: Rapper Lil Wayne Makes A Shocking Announcement, He Is Left With Just A Month To Live

THE FACTS: The story from huntingforusa.com claims Lil’ Wayne held a news conference in Atlanta to announce that he has stage 4 skin cancer brought on by his numerous tattoos. Wayne never held such a news conference and it appears the hoax has been circulating online for more than a year. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation , doctors have never found an increased prevalence of skin cancer in people with tattoos.

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NOT REAL: Muslim Figure: “We must have Pork-Free Menus Or We Will Leave U.S.”

THE FACTS: This headline leads multiple sites’ stories featuring photographs of different women, all unnamed, wearing head coverings traditionally worn by Muslims. The piece never mentions the Muslim figure again or the claim. Instead, it recounts a mayor’s effort to ban school menus that exclude pork, a meat that is forbidden under Islamic dietary law, and presented Donald Trump’s travel ban visitors from several Muslim-majority nations as “an ideal solution.” The mayor named in the piece is from France, not the U.S., and the controversy in France is in no way connected to the U.S. travel ban.

___

NOT REAL: Dead Body Of Homeless Man Turns Out To Be The Legendary Elvis Presley

THE FACTS: This story from Now8News, an admitted hoax site, resurrects an old claim by Elvis conspiracy theorists that the King didn’t actually die and instead entered the “witness protection program.” The theory was the basis for a now-shuttered facility in Missouri called The Elvis Is Alive Museum. Elvis Presley was buried at Graceland, his Memphis, Tennessee, home following his death in 1977.


►  Guns, churches and immigrants: What’s in that spending bill?

WASHINGTON — Out of the spotlight, a House panel has taken steps to help victims of gun violence, allow robust politicking from the pulpit, and prevent doctors in the District of Columbia from helping terminally ill people commit suicide.

The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee passed a $20 billion spending bill Thursday to fund the Treasury Department, the Judiciary and other federal agencies.

Quietly tucked inside were numerous provisions that have little to do with funding the federal government. These are called riders. Some are controversial while others are bipartisan. Many will be discarded when Republicans and Democrats negotiate a final spending package this fall — though some will survive.

The bill now goes to the full House. A look at some of the provisions:

___

YOUNG IMMIGRANTS

The bill would allow young immigrants enrolled in former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Actions for Childhood Arrival program to apply for jobs with the federal government.

Representative Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., said young people brought into the country as children “identify as Americans.” For many, he said, the U.S. is the only country they have ever called home.

“Denying Dreamers the opportunity to serve their community and country through public service stands in stark contrast to our nation’s core values,” Aguilar said, using a nickname applied to people enrolled in the DACA program.

The DACA program gives hundreds of thousands of young people illegally brought into the U.S. as children a work permit and protection from deportation.

Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, said Americans will be outraged to learn that people in the U.S. illegally would be able to compete for federal jobs.

“So much for Republican promises of making decisions that put American workers first,” Beck said.

Donald Trump pledged as a candidate to “immediately end” the DACA program. But as president, he has said that class of immigrants will not be targets for deportation. He said his administration is “not after the Dreamers, we are after the criminals.”

___

POLITICAL CHURCHES

One provision prevents the IRS from enforcing a 63-year-old law that prevents churches and other nonprofits from backing political candidates. Under the law, nonprofits could lose their tax-exempt status if they get directly involved in political campaigns, either by donating to them or publicly endorsing candidates.

The law doesn’t stop religious groups from weighing in on public policy or organizing in ways that may benefit one side in a campaign.

The provision forbids the IRS from spending money to enforce the law against “a church, or a convention or association of churches,” unless the IRS commissioner signs off on it and notifies Congress.

___

ASSISTED SUICIDE

The bill would prohibit funding for doctor-assisted suicide in the District of Columbia. It also repeals the DC Death with Dignity Act.

In December, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a law that makes it legal for doctors to prescribe fatal medication to terminally ill residents.

Congress granted District residents an elected mayor and legislature in 1973, though Congress retained broad authority over the city, including the ability to block local laws.

The House Oversight Committee passed a bill earlier this year to block the assisted-suicide law, but the deadline passed for Congress to act.

On Thursday, the appropriations committee adopted an amendment by Representative Andy Harris, R-Md., that tries to stop the law by blocking money to implement it.

___

GUN VIOLENCE

The bill encourages states to use funding from the Crime Victims Fund to establish or expand hospital-based programs that help victims of gun violence.

Under such programs, gunshot victims receive counseling at hospitals to help them access community services and avoid getting shot again.

“This provision will not only allow more firearms assault victims to receive the services they need, it will save lives in at-risk communities,” said Robin Lloyd of Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group started by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona.

___

REPEAL DODD-FRANK

The bill takes aim at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created under the Dodd-Frank Act in the wake of the economic crisis. The agency gets funding from the Federal Reserve, a move designed to promote independence. House Republicans want Congress to control the agency’s purse strings, which would give lawmakers greater say over manpower and priorities.

The bill would also strip the agency of its primary enforcement tool, the authority to go after lenders and debt collectors that it determines have engaged in unfair, deceptive or abusive practices. The agency has used that authority to return billions of dollars to consumers.


►  Travel ruling paves way for more refugees, but appeal awaits

WASHINGTON — A court decision on Donald Trump’s travel ban has reopened a window for tens of thousands of refugees to enter the United States, and the government is looking to quickly close it.

The administration said Friday that it would appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court after a federal judge in Hawaii ordered it to allow in refugees formally working with a resettlement agency in the United States.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson also vastly expanded the list of U.S. family relationships that refugees and visitors from six Muslim-majority countries can use to get into the country, including grandparents and grandchildren.

The ruling Thursday was the latest twist in a long, tangled legal fight that will culminate with arguments before the nation’s high court in October.

It could help more than 24,000 refugees who had already been vetted and approved by the United States but would have been barred by the 120-day freeze on refugee admissions, said Becca Heller, director of the International Refugee Assistance Project, a resettlement agency.

“Many of them had already sold all of their belongings to start their new lives in safety,“ she said. “This decision gives back hope to so many who would otherwise be stranded indefinitely.“

Citing a need to review its vetting process to ensure national security, the administration capped refugee admissions at 50,000 for the 12-month period ending September 30, a ceiling it hit this week.

The federal budget can accommodate up to 75,000 refugees, but admissions have slowed under Trump, and the government could hold them to a trickle, resettlement agencies say.

“Absolutely this is good news for refugees, but there’s a lot of uncertainty,“ said Melanie Nezer, spokeswoman for HIAS, a resettlement agency. “It’s really going to depend on how the administration reacts to this.“

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the administration will ask the Supreme Court to weigh in, bypassing the San Francisco-based 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, which has ruled against it in the case.

The Supreme Court allowed a scaled-back version of the travel ban to take effect last month.

“Once again, we are faced with a situation in which a single federal district court has undertaken by a nationwide injunction to micromanage decisions of the co-equal executive branch related to our national security,“ Sessions said. “By this decision, the district court has improperly substituted its policy preferences for the national security judgments of the executive branch in a time of grave threats.“

The administration took a first step by filing a notice of appeal to the 9th Circuit, allowing it to use a rule to petition the high court directly. There’s no timetable for the Supreme Court to act, but the administration will be seeking quick action that clarifies the court’s June opinion.

The justices now are scattered during their summer recess, so any short-term action would come in written filings.

The administration has lost most legal challenges on the travel ban, which applies to citizens of Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran and Yemen.

The Supreme Court’s ruling exempted a large swath of refugees and travelers with a “bona fide relationship” with a person or an entity in the U.S. The justices did not define those relationships but said they could include a close relative, a job offer or admission to a college or university.

The Trump administration defined the relationships as people who had a parent, spouse, fiance, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law or sibling already in the U.S.

Watson enlarged that group to include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

Hawaii Attorney General Douglas S. Chin, who sought the broader definition, said Thursday’s ruling “makes clear that the U.S. government may not ignore the scope of the partial travel ban as it sees fit.“

“Family members have been separated and real people have suffered enough,“ Chin said.


►  Major insurance groups call part of health bill ‘unworkable’

WASHINGTON — Two of the insurance industry’s most powerful organizations say a crucial provision in the Senate Republican health care bill allowing the sale of bare-bones policies is “unworkable in any form,“ delivering a blow to party leaders’ efforts to win support for their legislation.

The language was crafted by conservative Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and leaders have included it in the overall bill in hopes of winning votes from other congressional conservatives. But moderates have worried it will cause people with serious illnesses to lose coverage, and some conservatives say it doesn’t go far enough.

Two of the 52 GOP senators have already said they will oppose the legislation. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot lose any others for the legislation to survive a showdown vote expected next week.

The overall measure represents the Senate GOP’s attempt to deliver on the party’s promise to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, which they’ve been pledging to do since its 2010 enactment.

The criticism of Cruz’s provision was lodged in a rare joint statement by America’s Health Care Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association. The two groups released it late Friday in the form of a letter to McConnell, R-Ky.

“It is simply unworkable in any form,“ the letter said. They said it would “undermine protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions,“ increase premiums and lead many to lose coverage.

The provision would let insurers sell low-cost policies with skimpy coverage, as long as they also sell policies that meet a stringent list of services they’re required to provide under Obama’s law, like mental health counseling and prescription drugs.

Cruz says the proposal would drive down premiums and give people the option of buying the coverage they feel they need.

Critics say the measure would encourage healthy people to buy the skimpy, low-cost plans, leaving sicker consumers who need more comprehensive coverage confronting unaffordable costs. The insurers’ statement backs up that assertion, lending credence to wary senators’ worries and complicating McConnell’s task of winning them over.

The two groups say premiums would “skyrocket” for people with preexisting conditions, especially for middle-income families who don’t qualify for the bill’s tax credit. They also say the plan would leave consumers with fewer insurance options, so “millions of more individuals will become uninsured.“

According to an analysis by the BlueCross BlueShield Association, major federal consumer protections would not be required for new plans permitted by the Cruz amendment.

Among them: guaranteed coverage at standard rates for people with pre-existing conditions, comprehensive benefits, coverage of preventive care — including birth control for women — at no added cost to the consumer, and limits on out-of-pocket spending for deductibles and copayments.

The bill provides $70 billion for states to use to help contain rising costs for people with serious conditions. But the insurance groups’ statement says that amount “is insufficient and additional funding will not make the provision workable for consumers or taxpayers.“

The Cruz provision language in the bill is not final. McConnell and other Republicans are considering ways to revise it in hopes of winning broader support.

McConnell and top Trump administration officials plan to spend the next few days cajoling senators and home-state governors in an effort to nail down support for the bill.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is expected to release its analysis of McConnell’s revised bill early next week, including an assessment of Cruz’s plan.

The office estimated that McConnell’s initial bill would have caused 22 million additional people to be uninsured.


►  Trump’s no ‘dying in the streets’ pledge faces reality check

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has often said he doesn’t want people “dying in the streets” for lack of health care.

But in the United States, where chronic conditions are the major diseases, people decline slowly. Preventive care and routine screening can make a big difference for those at risk for things such as heart problems and cancer, especially over time.

That edge is what doctors and patients fear will be compromised if Republican efforts to repeal the Obama-era health law lead to more uninsured people. The uninsured tend to postpone care until problems break through.

It’s a message that lawmakers are hearing from doctors’ groups and constituents, in letters and emails, and at town hall meetings.

About 10 years ago, Cathy Cooper of Ocala, Florida, was battling a blood cancer. Against doctor’s advice, she continued to work full time as a paralegal, through chemotherapy and radiation, just to preserve her health insurance. Cooper said she would schedule chemo on Fridays, spend the weekend sick from side effects and report back to work Monday.

Now in her early 30s, Cooper is healthy. She has her own business as a photographer specializing in maternity, newborns, families and seniors, and a family of her own. Her health insurance is through HealthCare.Governor With her cancer history, Cooper is worried about changes under debate that may reduce options for people with medical conditions. She said she voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

“The ‘dying in the streets’ thing — it’s an over-time process,“ said Cooper. “If I didn’t have insurance, it (cancer) could just keep forming inside me and I wouldn’t know. Then I’d go into the hospital, and there’s nothing they could do. And then, yeah, I could die in the street. But that’s because I wouldn’t have had insurance to get things checked out prior to that point.“

In Charlotte, North Carolina, Dr. Octavia Cannon said that’s basically what happened to one of her patients several years ago. The patient, a working mother with three young children and more than one job, was uninsured after losing previous Medicaid coverage. She went to Cannon, an osteopathic ob-gyn, because of abnormal bleeding. Cannon said she knew something was horribly wrong on the basis of her initial physical examination. The pathology lab confirmed advanced cervical cancer.

“In six months, she was dead,“ Cannon recalled. “All I could think was ‘Who is going to take care of these babies?‘ If she had only come in for a Pap smear.“

Such stories are swirling around the Senate debate as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., pushes toward a vote on legislation rolling back much of former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The GOP bill has been facing headwinds since the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would lead to 22 million more uninsured people by 2026.

Administration officials say the nonpartisan budget office has been wrong before about health coverage, and its analytical methods may give too much weight to the current requirement that most people carry health insurance or risk fines. (Republicans would repeal that immediately.) Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said Trump’s goal is more people with health insurance, not fewer.

“Nobody is looking at it in its totality,“ Price said recently on NBC. “We will bring down premiums, we will increase coverage, we’ll increase choices. And I believe we’ll increase the quality of care provided in this nation.“

There’s not much debate about the negative consequences of being uninsured.

Studies by the National Academies have found that the uninsured are more likely to receive too little care, and too late; be sicker and die sooner; and receive poorer care in the hospital.

But surprisingly, there are questions about whether gaining coverage produces tangible health benefits.

Major government surveys have documented clear improvements to family finances associated with Obama’s coverage expansion. On health itself, the evidence is mixed.

Medicaid expansions in New York, Maine and Arizona in the early 2000s were associated with a 6 percent decline in death rates in those states, compared with neighboring states that did not expand coverage for low-income people. A study of Massachusetts found a similar trend.

But in Oregon a Medicaid expansion study that found a marked reduction in depression failed to detect significant improvement in blood sugars, blood pressure and cholesterol levels — risk factors for heart disease and diabetes.

Dr. Cyrus Hamidi, a solo family medicine practitioner in Sparks, Maryland, said having insurance is a start, reducing barriers to access for patients.

“If you have to pay to go to the doctor, then you worry about payment instead of what you need to do to reduce the risk of dropping dead,“ he said.

Gaywin Day, a union electrician from Austin, Texas, said being able to get coverage under Obama’s law in the aftermath of a medical crisis has been “a lifesaver.“

Day, in his early 60s, was between jobs and uninsured when he had a stroke in March. A couple of months later, a “special enrollment period” enabled him to get subsidized coverage through HealthCare.gov, opening doors to physical therapy and follow-up medical care.

Now, Day no longer uses a walker or cane. He’s thinking about returning to work.

“Nobody wants anybody dying in the streets, but if I hadn’t got this. ... I could just be shriveling up in my bed,“ he said.

He didn’t cast a ballot last year. “I don’t vote,“ said Day. “I do a lot of praying.“


►  Canceled $30K wedding becomes dinner for Indiana homeless

An Indiana woman didn’t want her canceled $30,000 wedding to go to waste, so she threw a dinner party for the homeless.

A bus pulled up to the swanky event center on Saturday that Sarah Cummins had booked for the reception in Carmel, a suburb north of Indianapolis. About a dozen veterans from a local organization were among the guests who dined on bourbon-glazed meatballs, roasted garlic bruschetta and wedding cake.

Cummins told the Indianapolis Star that she and her fiance called off the wedding a week ago. She declined to give a reason, but she said they were left with a nonrefundable contract for the Ritz Charles in Carmel and a plated dinner for 170 guests.

“For me, it was an opportunity to let these people know they deserved to be at a place like this just as much as everyone else does,” Cummins said.

Cummins said she decided that rather than throw away the food she would bring some purpose to the event and contacted area homeless shelters. She cheerfully greeted and welcomed her guests when they arrived Saturday.

Several local businesses and residents donated suits, dresses and other items for the guests to wear.

Charlie Allen, who’s spent three months at a homeless mission, received a donated jacket.

“I didn’t have a sport coat,” he said, tugging gently at the lapels. “I think I look pretty nice in it.”

Like other guests, Allen said he was grateful for the invitation.

“For a lot of us, this is a good time to show us what we can have,” he said. “Or to remind us what we had.”

Three of Cummins’ seven bridesmaids, along with her mother and aunts, came to support her at the event. Guests also dined on chicken breast with artichokes and Chardonnay cream sauce and wedding cake.

Cummins, a 25-year-old Purdue University pharmacy student, said her ex-fiance, Logan Araujo, footed most of the bill for the wedding contract, with Cummins and her parents, along with one of Araujo’s family friends, paying the rest. Cummins said that when she approached Araujo about donating the dinner, he agreed to what he believed was a selfless way to handle the situation.

Cummins said she is not sure yet what she will do with the wedding dress.

“It’s too painful to think about.”

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