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Archbishop Sheen one step closer to sainthood

July 6, 2019 -- Pope Francis has officially recognized the recovery of a lifeless baby in Illinois as a miracle associated with Fulton J. Sheen, bringing the late archbishop closer to sainthood.

Sheen is believed to have interceded when the infant showed no signs of life after being born in 2010. The Diocese of Peoria, Ill., reported that family and friends prayed to the archbishop. James Fulton Engstrom was transferred to a hospital near the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, where Sheen was ordained in 1919 and is now entombed, and revived after 61 minutes of showing no vital signs.

The child is now healthy and happy, the diocese said.

A seven-member panel of medical experts advising the Vatican Congregation for the Causes of Saints gave unanimous approval of the miracle attributed to the famous television personality and evangelist in March 2014. The Vatican's recognition of the miracle paves the way for Sheen to be beatified. A second miracle, typically after the beatification, is usually required for canonization as a saint.

Sheen was a television catechist during the 1950s and '60s in the United States. His Emmy-award winning television show "Life is Worth Living" reached huge audiences. Sheen was ordained in Peoria at the age of 24 and appointed auxiliary bishop of New York in 1951. He became bishop of Rochester in 1966, retired in 1969 and died in 1979.

Bellavia receives Medal of Honor

June 25, 2019 -- President Donald Trump presented the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor, to Batavia resident David Bellavia, who served as an Army staff sergeant.

Bellavia is the first living Iraq War veteran to be presented the award. He received it for his "conspicuous gallantry" during the Second Battle of Fallujah, the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War.

Bellavia was deployed to Iraq in 2004. He was discharged from the Army a year later, in 2005, and co-hosts a daily radio talk show in Buffalo.

Geiger, actress Hampshire call off engagement

June 10, 2019 -- Singer-songwriter Teddy Geiger and actress Emily Hampshire have called off their engagement.

Geiger, 30, and Hampshire, 37, revealed they were dating in September 2018 and were posted frequently about their relationship on social media. They announced their engagement two months later.

They were last photographed together on March 27 at the Canadian Screen Awards.

White House announces Bellavia will receive Medal of Honor

June 7, 2019 -- Batavia resident David Bellavia will receive the Medal of Honor for rescuing his squad and clearing out a house full of Iraqi insurgents during the Battle of Fallujah, the White House announced.

Bellavia will receive the nation's highest military award for valor on June 25.

The Second Battle of Fallujah was the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War. Coalition forces entered the city in November 2004 to retake it from the Iraqi insurgency and close to 100 American soldiers lost their lives during the six-week battle.

Bellavia's platoon had been ordered to clear out a block of 12 buildings when the soldiers were pinned down during nighttime fighting. Bellavia provided covering fire for his fellow soldiers to escape and then ran into the house with an M16, where he helped clear out the entire house and killed four insurgents inside. At one juncture, Bellavia entered a room full of propane tanks and plastic explosive, where, for fear of setting off an explosion, he fought an insurgent in hand-to-hand combat before stabbing him in the collarbone.

Bellavia killed one more insurgent on the roof.

Michael Ware, a Time Magazine journalist embedded with the unit, wrote in Bellavia's initial Medal of Honor nomination that "SSG Bellavia single-handedly saved three squads of his Third Platoon that night, risking his own life by allowing them to break contact and reorganize. He then entered and cleared an insurgent strong point, killing four insurgents and mortally wounding another."

Laurer inducted into WWE hall of fame

April 6, 2019 -- WWE inducted Rochester native Joanie Laurer, who wrestled under the name of "Chyna," into its hall of fame during a ceremony in Brooklyn.

Lauer, who died in 2016 at the age of 46, was inducted along with Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn, and X-Pac.

Promoted as the "Ninth Wonder of the World" (Andre the Giant was said to be the eighth), Lauer was the "enforcer" for the D-Gen X gang. and took on male wrestlers before working her way up to becoming WWE's first female Intercontinental Champion.

Laurer was born in Rochester in 1969 and went to school in Penfield, Pittsford and Monroe High School. She graduated from the University of Tampa.


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