NEW YORK (AP) — Shavonte Zellous is thrilled that the New York Liberty will have a float in Sunday’s pride parade, the first for a sports franchise in the city.

“I’m excited. I haven’t been in a pride parade before, so I think I’m more excited than most,” said Zellous, a guard who wore rainbow-colored shoes Friday night for the Liberty’s pride game. “Especially with the stuff that happened in Orlando last year. I want to thank the W (WNBA) and the Liberty for doing a thing like this. I think it will be a great turn out.”

New York players, coaches and front-office staff will be on the float rolling down Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue, ending in the West Village.

“I think everybody is jumping on board and open to the mentality of it’s your life, that’s what you want to do, I’m going to support you,” Zellous said. “I’m going be happy for you regardless.'”

Liberty President Isiah Thomas has always wanted the team to be trailblazers, and having a float in the parade was important to him.

“We like to lead and our motto is ‘Show up,'” he said. “We’ve been the first in a lot of the social justice and equality areas and standing up and speaking out, and we invite all the other leagues and sports teams to participate and follow.”

The WNBA has been at the forefront of pride activities over the last four years, with all of the teams getting involved. Many players have marched at pride parades before, but no teams have had a float, according to the league.

“It’s going to be a great day,” said Thomas, who will try to make it back for the parade after being out of town attending the memorial service for his former GM with the Pistons. “Wish we all could be there. It’s one of the biggest and funnest events in New York.”

Thomas was surprised that the Liberty hadn’t had a float before, but in the past the team usually had a game on the day of the parade, which made it difficult.

The NBA and WNBA had a float in the parade last year with Commissioner Adam Silver and President Lisa Borders both attending. The two leagues will do so again.

“It’s an excellent thing, diversity and inclusion is a value of our family, what we did last year and continue to do this year is to bring those values to life. The audio matches the video,” Borders told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “We’re walking the walk.”

Borders used to be the vice mayor of Atlanta and marched in that city’s pride parade for seven years.

“This is a regular thing for me as a leader and person who believes in opportunity for all and inclusion for all,” she said. “I grew up in the era of civil rights and it’s natural for me.”

Connecticut Sun coach Curt Miller, who is openly gay, applauded the Liberty and the league for having their floats.

“It means a lot and shows that the NBA and WNBA are out in front with diversity and inclusion and the celebration of it,” Miller said before his team won its fifth straight game. “They are a model professional league.”

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — FIFA should pick the best referees for the World Cup and not limit its list to one per nation, according to coaching great Guus Hiddink.

Hiddink, a two-time World Cup semifinalist, told The Associated Press three or four referees should be chosen from the same country if they were best at a job getting more complex as video review is tested.

“It’s not a World Cup for referees, it’s a World Cup for football teams,” the Dutch coach said in St. Petersburg where he is analyzing Confederations Cup games for American broadcaster Fox Sports.

“We want to have the best teams so we want to have the best referees as well. Not necessarily European. Without looking to their nationality, which are the best referees?”

At the 2014 World Cup, FIFA had 25 referees from 25 different countries working in Brazil.

“I don’t think it’s a law that you have to have from every country or from every continent a referee,” said Hiddink, who led the Netherlands in 1998 and co-host South Korea in 2002 to within a game of the World Cup final.

While Hiddink’s South Korea benefited from controversial referee decisions, his Australia team in 2006 lost to a stoppage-time penalty against eventual winner Italy in the Round of 16.

Hiddink likes the video review which FIFA hopes will get fast-track approval for the 2018 World Cup, though with one concern. Trials are scheduled next season in only some national competitions worldwide.

“Referees who are coming from, with all respect, less developed countries regarding this system, let them learn as soon as possible,” he said.

Still, Hiddink supported the only African referee here, Bakary Gassama of Gambia, for handling a running melee involving New Zealand and Mexico players.

“This referee was a little bit criticized but I will defend this man,” said Hiddink, describing a “far over the top” incident with “15 or 16 players hustling.”

In other observations on the World Cup rehearsal tournament:

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BEAUTIFUL GAME

Hiddink’s favorite from the first two rounds of group games was Chile and Germany playing to a 1-1 draw in Kazan.

It was a “beautiful example” of trying to outplay an opponent from the first whistle.

Hiddink, whose last coaching job was with Chelsea in 2016 after Jose Mourinho was fired, enjoys the fast pace of Champions League games

“I don’t think the nature of the game is changing,” the 70-year-old coach said. “The attitude and the intensity is how it was. There are some small changes in the rules which are good and which have the intention to make it more fair.”

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ADVICE FROM THE TOP

As a former Russia national team coach, Hiddink was not surprised that President Vladimir Putin urged players to impress the public at its home tournament.

“Everybody is a national team manager,” said the coach who led Russia to a surprise semifinal place at the 2008 European Championship. “From the man in the street to the high-ranked bosses in the Kremlin.

“They all have ideas about football as we have ideas about politics. For me that is OK.”

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GOT TO GET AHEAD

Hiddink sees a similarity in his two former teams at the Confederations Cup: Russia and Australia both seem to play better when trailing 1-0.

“Then you can see the potential is there,” he said of a Russia team that tends to be “too cautious, too careful sometimes.”

“I know a lot of the mentality of the Aussies — they always react when there is a setback,” he said, hoping they could “think in a different way” by scoring first.

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VIDEO REVIEW

Hiddink is in favor of video review and thinks players will quickly adapt — as long as the system works fast.

“Do it calm but quick,” he said. “You see players accept it. They accept it because it’s fair.”

Hiddink’s Fox Sports colleague Eric Wynalda, who played at three World Cups for the United States, also sees speed of decisions as key.

“Hopefully it doesn’t take 3 minutes, it takes 30 to 40 seconds,” Wynalda told The AP. “So far, I think we’re working out the kinks.”

Wynalda hopes video review can be extended to post-match disciplinary action against diving and simulation.

“It is a Big Brother approach but still it’s the only way to get guys playing the game in the right way. Fairness is the goal.”

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has a way of presenting missions as accomplished even when they’re not.

So it was when he told Iowans he’s put farmers back at their plows, secured a historic increase in military spending and empowered homebuilders to swing their hammers again. Those all remain aspirations, not achievements.

Trump is also known to propose something already in effect, as when he declared “the time has come” for a welfare moratorium for immigrants. President Bill Clinton signed such a moratorium into law in 1996.

A look at a variety of Trump’s statements from the public square over the past week:

TRUMP: “We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy and pays for itself. And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money. And that’s good right? … Pretty good imagination, right? Good? My idea.” — in Iowa on Wednesday.

THE FACTS: His idea? Others came forward with such proposals back when he was criticizing solar power as too expensive.

The notion of adding solar panels to the wall he wants to build along the Mexico border was explored in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in March. Vasilis Fthenakis, director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, former director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University, concluded it was “not only technically and economically feasible, it might even be more practical than a traditional wall.”

They said a 2,000-mile solar wall could cost less than $1 billion, instead of tens of billions for a traditional border wall, and possibly become “wildly profitable.” The writers were studying a concept laid out by Homero Aridjis and James Ramey in the online World Post in December.

The idea also was proposed by one of the companies that submitted its design to the government as a border wall prototype. Las Vegas-based Gleason Partners proposed covering some sections of the wall with solar panels and said that selling electricity from it could eventually cover the cost of construction.

Trump repeatedly described solar power in the campaign as “very, very expensive” and “not working so good.”

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TRUMP: “So, we’ve achieved a historic increase in defense spending.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: He hasn’t. He is proposing a large increase but Congress is still debating — and is nowhere near deciding on — more money for defense for 2018.

All that’s been achieved is a $25 billion increase for this year and there’s nothing remotely historic about that. The Pentagon has received annual budget increases equal to or greater than $25 billion seven times in the past 15 years alone.

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TRUMP: “The time has come for new immigration rules which say that those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years. And we’ll be putting in legislation to that effect very shortly.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: A federal law passed in 1996 already has that effect. It bars most foreigners who enter the country on immigrant visas from being eligible for federal benefits like Social Security and food stamps for the first five years. States typically have the authority to determine eligibility for local programs. As for people in the country illegally, they are generally prohibited from those benefits altogether. Same with foreigners who are in the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas.

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TRUMP: Addressing why he raised the possibility that his Oval Office conversation with fired FBI Director James Comey might have been recorded: “When he found out that I, you know, that there may be tapes out there, whether it’s governmental tapes or anything else, and who knows, I think his story may have changed.” — Fox News interview aired Friday.

THE FACTS: There’s no evidence of any change in what Comey testified on June 8 before the Senate Intelligence committee. In that appearance — the only time Comey has publicly addressed the subject — his story was consistent. He said that on three occasions beginning in January he’d told the president that he was not then the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation on him as part of its work to probe Russian influence on the 2016 presidential election.

Since then, it has been reported that Trump is under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller over his May 9 firing of Comey and whether that or other actions by the president constitute obstruction of justice.

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TRUMP: “You see what we’ve already done. Homebuilders are starting to build again. We’re not confiscating their land with ridiculous rules and regulations that don’t make sense.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: Housing starts as tracked by the Census Bureau have actually fallen over the past three months. Trump seems a bit mixed up on deregulation. Some of the biggest constraints on homebuilders come from local governments, rather than federal rules.

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TRUMP: On cutting regulations to help farmers: “Farmers are able to plow their field. If they have a puddle in the middle of their field, a little puddle the size of this, it’s considered a lake and you can’t touch it. And if you touch it, bad, bad things happen to you and your family. We got rid of that one, too, OK?” — Iowa speech

THE FACTS: He didn’t get rid of the regulations he’s talking about. He signed an executive order in February directing the Environmental Protection Agency to review a rule protecting clean water. The rule can stop some farmers from using pesticides and herbicides. It’s still in place, pending the review.

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TRUMP: “Former Homeland Security Advisor Jeh Johnson is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia.” — tweet Thursday.

THE FACTS: Johnson did not state that conclusion. He was homeland security secretary (not adviser) from December 2013 to January 2017. He was asked at a House Intelligence committee hearing Wednesday whether he knew of any evidence of collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign.

Johnson said he was not aware of any information beyond what’s been reported publicly and what the U.S. intelligence community has gathered. That is not a statement of belief that no collusion took place. Pressed on the matter, he said Comey probably had some information to go on when the FBI opened an investigation into possible collusion.

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TRUMP: “Unemployment is at a 16-year low.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: Unemployment is indeed that low, at 4.3 percent.

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TRUMP: “We are 5 and 0, as you know, in these special elections. And I think the Democrats thought it would be a lot different than that. 5-0 is a big — that’s a big margin.” — Fox News interview aired Friday.

THE FACTS: Wrong score. Right score: 4-1. Republicans won open House seats in Kansas, Georgia, Montana and South Carolina. Democrats held onto a seat in California.

Trump’s miscount wasn’t a one-time gaffe. It was also a line that roused supporters in his Iowa speech. “So, we’re 5 and 0. We’re 5 and 0,” he said to applause Wednesday night. “Five and 0. Five and 0,” he said at another point.

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TRUMP: “Since I was elected, illegal border crossings — and this is without the wall, before the wall — have decreased by more than 75 percent, a historic and unprecedented achievement.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: That’s overblown, according to government figures about the Mexico border. The decrease in his first four full months in office is about 59 percent, still substantial but not more than 75 percent.

More than 56,600 foreigners have been caught crossing from Mexico illegally between February and May, down from 137,800 people in the same period during President Barack Obama’s last year in office.

The number of illegal crossings is not known because some people slip in undetected. Officials consider the number arrested to be representative of the broader trend of attempts to cross illegally.

In bragging that the numbers are down “without the wall,” Trump omits the fact that there already are roughly 650 miles of fencing along the nearly 2,000-mile long Mexican border.

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TRUMP: “We’re working really hard on massive tax cuts. It would be, if I get it the way I want it, the largest tax cut in the history of the United States of America. Because right now, we are one of the highest-taxed nations in the world. Really on a large-scale basis, we are the highest tax nation in the world. … And I think it’s going to happen.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: The overall U.S. tax burden is actually one of the lowest among the 32 developed and large emerging-market economies tracked by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Taxes made up 26.4 percent of the total U.S. economy in 2015, according to the OECD. That’s far below Denmark’s tax burden of 46.6 percent, Britain’s 32.5 percent or Germany’s 36.9 percent. Just four OECD countries had a lower tax bite than the U.S.: South Korea, Ireland, Chile and Mexico.

It’s not clear Trump will sign the largest tax cut in U.S. history. His administration has yet to settle on enough details of any planned overhaul to make that claim. To put the claim in context, President Ronald Reagan essentially cut taxes during his first term by slightly more than 2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. For Trump to surpass that, his tax cut would essentially have to be more than $400 billion a year.

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TRUMP: “We have Gary Cohn, who’s the president of Goldman Sachs. That’s somebody. He’s the president of Goldman Sachs. He had to pay over $200 million in taxes to take the job, right? … This is the president of Goldman Sachs, smart. Having him represent us. He went from massive paydays to peanuts. … But these are people that are great, brilliant business minds. And that’s what we need.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: Trump appears to be confusing taxes paid with stocks sold. Cohn and his family members held about $220 million in Goldman stock, which he had to divest in order to resolve possible conflicts of interest before becoming White House economic adviser. He would have had to pay taxes on any capital gains from the sale, but that sum would only be a fraction of the figure cited by Trump. Moreover, Cohn had to divest the stock in pieces, so the final tally from his sales is unclear, as the stock has declined from highs in March.

It’s also worth noting the president’s about-face praise for Wall Street. His campaign routinely criticized Goldman Sachs and its ties to Hillary Clinton, even using it as a villain in a political ad that included video of the bank’s chairman and CEO.

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TRUMP: “You have a gang called MS-13. … They do things that nobody can believe. These are true animals. We are moving them out of the country by the thousands, by the thousands. … We’re getting them out, MS-13.” — Iowa speech.

THE FACTS: There is no publicly available evidence to support this claim about the violent gang. In recent weeks, federal authorities have arrested hundreds of suspected MS-13 gang members. Many of those arrested have been identified by the government as immigrants, but it is unclear if they have yet been deported. Any suspected gang members who are U.S. citizens cannot be kicked out of the country. The gang was formed decades ago in Los Angeles and has spread.

Overall arrests of immigrants in the country illegally have increased in recent months, but deportations have declined slightly, according to the most recently available government data.

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SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER, on Republican health care legislation: “They want to bring the bill to the floor, rush it in the dark of night, for a simple reason — they are ashamed of their bill. They don’t want anybody to see it, least of all the public. … They can’t even whisper what it’s about they are so, so ashamed of it.” — Senate speech Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Both parties resort to secrecy in Congress at times, especially when hard-fought legislation is at stake. When Democrats grappled with a conservative uproar over President Barack Obama’s health care bill, they held private meetings to iron out details and reach agreements to clinch the legislation’s approval. That said, they also held scores of hearings and staged many days of debate in 2009 and 1010. The Senate’s Republican leadership has held no hearings on its legislation, the contents of which are unknown. It’s unusual for such a major bill to be written from scratch behind closed doors then rushed through Congress in a few days.

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VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: “I like that line that says, you know, the Internal Revenue Code is twice as long as the Bible, with none of the good news.” — speech Tuesday to manufacturers.

HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: “You know, there’s this old line about the tax code. Our tax code is about five times as long as the Bible but with none of the good news.” — speech to the same group Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Ryan has the ratio about right: The tax code runs nearly 4 million words, according to a 2013 government report, while the Bible has 700,000 to about 800,000, depending on the version and variations in translation. Pence understated the difference. Both got laughs.

A number of Republicans over the years have compared the size of the texts to make the point that Americans are under an unholy burden from the IRS.

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Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Alicia A. Caldwell, Jill Colvin and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.

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Find AP Fact Checks at http://apne.ws/2kbx8bd

BOSTON (AP) — David Ortiz stepped up to the microphone, wiped the tears from his eyes and waited for the sold-out Fenway crowd to shout “Papi!” a few more times.

The Red Sox stood at the top step of their dugout. The Los Angeles Angels tipped their caps. Friends and family and dignitaries from two countries lined the infield. Three World Series trophies glistened in the twilight sun.

Hall of Famers Carl Yastrzemski, Pedro Martinez, Wade Boggs and Jim Rice — whose numbers preceded Ortiz’s to the Fenway facade — were the only ones who could know how he felt.

“It’s an honor to get to see my number right next to all those legends,” Ortiz said before his No. 34 was unveiled along the right-field roof boxes on Friday night.

“I remember hitting batting practice on this field; I always was trying to hit those numbers. But I never thought about having my number up there,” he said. “Every player that is up there did things that are very, very special for this ballclub and this community.”

Ortiz retired last season as one of the most productive offensive players in franchise history, and the single-most important player to wear a Red Sox uniform in a century. With three World Series titles — including the 2004 championship that ended an 86-year drought — Ortiz dragged the ballclub out of its dynasty of disappointment and gave a fresh generation of Bostonians reason to fall in love with the Red Sox anew.

But it was Ortiz’s defiant speech after the Boston Marathon bombings that cemented him as a civic hero and helped prompt the Red Sox to retire his number less than a year after he retired. As a nod to his foul-mouthed challenge to those who would test the city’s resolve, Ortiz took the microphone on Friday with the welcome, “This is his (pause) city.”

“There wasn’t an empty seat,” Ortiz said afterward. “It made me feel like one of the important games we had where the fans wanted to be there from the very beginning and show love and support. It was pretty amazing.”

Ortiz is the 10th Red Sox player to have his number retired, and he was joined by four of the others, plus family representing the ones who couldn’t be there. Also recognized during the ceremony were representatives from the Dominican Republic, the city of Boston, and family of Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, from whom Ortiz adopted both his No. 34 and his ever-present smile.

“Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to give Boston the greatest gift ever: my compadre, David Ortiz,” said Martinez, who helped convince the Red Sox to sign Ortiz in 2003, a year before their curse-busting title. “You are a great ambassador of the game. I don’t have enough words to say today how proud I am, and how proud of a papa I feel today. “Yes, he is ‘Big Papi.’ But I feel like ‘Grampa.'”

Current second baseman Dustin Pedroia, Ortiz’s teammate on the 2007 and ’13 World Series champions, came out of the dugout to be enveloped in a giant bear hug.

“You’re not our teammate, you’re not our friend. You’re family,” Pedroia said. “And it will be like that until the day you die.”

With that, Ortiz broke out the handkerchief.

“Man, the little guy made me cry,” he said. “Wow.”

Much like it was for his farewell tour last season, the ballpark was decked out in Ortiz’s honor, from a five-story silhouette hanging from the concourse ramp outside to the No. 34 mowed into the outfield grass. Fans were given posters with the No. 34, and it was painted onto both on-deck circles.

After both the Dominican and U.S. national anthems — each accompanied by a giant flag covering the Green Monster — Ortiz took a ball from ex-teammate Tim Wakefield and threw (somewhat wildly) to former catcher Jason Varitek.

The beloved slugger shook hands with virtually everyone on the field as he left it, while a video played from the careers of the other 10 players with their numbers retired. (Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 has been taken out of service by every team in baseball.)

Even Angels manager Mike Scioscia, the victim of Ortiz’s heroics in three different postseasons, said he enjoyed watching. “What he’s done, in a lot of cases, unfortunately, came at our expense,” he said after the Red Sox won 9-4.

Although the Red Sox have offered Ortiz a spot in the organization, he told reporters that he has stayed away from the team since his retirement to avoid being a distraction.

“I told myself, ‘Give everybody their space,'” he said. “But it’s going to happen.”

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — With a wave of his cap to the LSU fans, Alex Lange disappeared into the dugout after what very well could have been his last outing as a collegian.

It was one of his best, and most timely.

The Chicago Cubs’ first-round draft pick limited top-seeded Oregon State to two hits over 7 1/3 innings in a performance Friday that carried the Tigers to a 3-1 victory and ended the Beavers’ 23-game winning streak.

It also set up a winner-take-all Bracket 1 final at the College World Series on Saturday, with the winner going to the best-of-three finals beginning Monday.

Lange (10-5) won a CWS elimination game for the second time in his career, and he said his experience pitching so many important games at home in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, prepared him.

“I had a sense of calmness about me this morning when I woke up, and getting to the yard. I was expecting to be amped up and juiced up,” Lange said. “I was calm and relaxed. I think that goes back to pitching in Alex Box Stadium in front of 12,000 people every Friday night. It wasn’t a big shocker or big difference. This is why I came to LSU, to play in these big games. And keeping your team in the ballgame and keeping the season alive is pretty awesome.”

The Tigers (51-18) avenged a 13-1 loss to the Beavers (56-5) on Monday and became the first team to knock them off since Southern California on April 29.

They did all of their scoring against national wins leader Jake Thompson (14-1). Max Engelbrekt relieved in the seventh after Josh Smith hit Thompson’s first pitch of the inning into the right-field seats for a two-run lead.

Oregon State was still stinging after the game from a call in the third inning when, with runners on first and second, Steven Kwan sliced a ball down the left-field line that bounced off the wall and was ruled foul. TV replays indicated it was a fair ball.

Oregon State coach Pat Casey said by the time someone on his staff told him to ask for a video review, the next pitch had been thrown, closing his window of opportunity.

NCAA national coordinator of umpires George Drouches said through an NCAA spokesman that crew chief Danny Collins should have called for a video review. Collins, who was working third base, made the original foul call. Kwan ended up popping out to shortstop before Lange walked two straight to force in a run.

Had the ball been ruled fair, Casey said, “I do believe that it certainly would have changed that inning, that’s for sure.”

For Lange, there was a moment of anxiety.

“I’m looking, and you’re talking to it, kind of like a golfer talks to a ball,” he said. “I was like, ‘Get foul, get foul.’ Then they called it foul, and I thought it was foul. But what I heard in the dugout, it might have been fair. So I’m just glad they called it foul. Obviously, that’s a pretty big situation.”

Lange ran into trouble in the third when he walked three batters and gave up a double. Only one more batter advanced past first against him, and he retired eight in a row before he turned the game over to closer Zack Hess with one out in the eighth. Hess retired the last five batters, four by strikeout, for his fourth save.

LSU opened the second inning with a double and two singles and led 2-0 when Beau Jordan’s safety-squeeze bunt scored Zach Watson.

The Beavers’ two hits were their fewest since they had four in their season opener against Indiana.

“We believe in ourselves, and we’re still 56-5 or whatever we are,” Casey said. “We need to put that behind us and get ready to play tomorrow.”

WALLOPING WATSON

Watson had three hits for the second straight game, the first player to do that in the CWS since Florida’s Richie Martin in 2015. Watson is 8 for his last 12 after going 0 for 4 against Florida State last Saturday.

PITCHING MATCHUP

Oregon State will start Tampa Bay Rays’ first-round draft pick Drew Rasmussen (3-0) against Caleb Gilbert (6-1). Rasmussen returned from Tommy John surgery in April. Gilbert has been used mostly in relief but is being pressed into the starter’s role because of a forearm injury to Eric Walker.

ABOUT SATURDAY

Something for LSU fans to chew on before the winner-take-all bracket final: Since losing five straight games from May 6-13, 2016, Oregon State is 62-6 and has not lost consecutive games.

OXFORD, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey woman has been reunited with her special necklace that was thrown in the trash after she went to a hospital, thanks to a group of hardworking sanitation workers.

Samantha LaRochelle was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital in Phillipsburg on Saturday after falling unconscious, LehighValleyLive.com (http://bit.ly/2t40qfx) reports. Hospital staff removed LaRochelle’s prized dual-pendant and accidentally threw it in the trash.

On the customized chain hangs her grandfather’s pendant and a second 14-karat gold pendant containing her late mother’s thumbprint. LaRochelle’s wife, Audrey, got the chain specially made for her.

“This thing means more to me than the world,” said LaRochelle.

LaRochelle began her search Monday. She tracked down the sanitation company that handles hospital waste with the help of a Phillipsburg police officer who scanned nine hours of surveillance video.

By Wednesday, LaRochelle’s search led her Covanta Energy Plant in Oxford where workers dug through 15 tons of hospital waste to find her necklace.

Steve Acierno, a worker at the plant, came up with the necklace after a two-hour search.

“She was super-excited to have it back. Just a great start to our day. We were all really happy for her,” Acierno said.

LaRochelle treated the sanitation workers to lunch and cake Thursday. She still can’t thank them enough for finding her necklace.

“It’s something I could never replace and they took the time, the effort,” she said.

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.