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  1. Here Are the Toys Amazon Predicts Will Be Red Hot for the 2018 Holiday Season Fortune By Chris Morris August 28, 2018 EXCERPT: If you thought pumpkin spice lattes were being released too early this year, you might want to brace yourself for this one. Amazon has posted its predictions of the 100 hottest toys for the upcoming holiday season—nearly four months before Christmas. The list this year is loaded with familiar names like Lego, collectible toys and dolls, like LOL Surprise, and educational STEM-focused toys. It also includes a game called “Don’t Step In It,” where players have to avoid traipsing through unicorn poop. Happy holidays, America! While the timing of the list might irk some people the same way Christmas decorations in department stores on Labor Day do, it gives parents a heads up on which toys will be red hot this season, giving them a longer window to find the ones that often sell out (as Hatchimals did two years ago). That said, here are some of the items from Amazon’s list, which isn’t ranked, that are likely to be popular among kids this year. furReal Munchin’ Rex Already sold out, this plush figure responds with more than 35 sound and motion combinations when kids wave at it or feed it treats (which it might spit out if it doesn’t like them). LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Building Kit Lego is always a hit during the holidays. This year, the company’s $100, 878-piece recreation of the Hogwarts Great Hall is likely to be in demand. It measures over 14 inches high and 11 inches wide L.O.L. Surprise! Bigger Surprise What is it? Who knows? It’s not coming out until Sept. 25, but with a reported 60+ limited edition LOL Surprise dolls and accessories, it’s going to be hard to find. Poopsie Slime Surprise Unicorn Pretty much anything slime related is still red hot with kids these days. Throw in unicorns and the name “Poopsie” and it’s probably a lock that this $50 critter is going on their wish list. Harry Potter Coding Kit Young wizards in training can build their own wand and program it to perform all sorts of actions on tablet screens in this $100 STEM-focused toy. (It will be released Oct. 1.) What’s That Smell? If avoiding stepping in unicorn poop isn’t your thing, this $20 adult party game has players try to guess an item solely based on smell. Guess wrong and you must take the whiff of shame—three big inhales of “Stank” cards that feature “extra old toe cheese, diaper blowout, hot chunky vomit or … B.O.” You can find the complete 100-item list on Amazon. SOURCE: http://fortune.com/2018/08/28/amazon-hot-holiday-toys-2018/
  2. Dorcas Reilly, Creator of Green Bean Casserole, Dies at 92 Friends and family are mourning the creator of an iconic recipe and a Thanksgiving staple. NBC Connecticut By David Chang October 23, 2018 EXCERPT: Friends and family are mourning the creator of an iconic recipe and a Thanksgiving staple. Dorcas Reilly, the inventor of Campbell’s green bean casserole, died on Oct. 15. She was 92. “Dorcas was an incredible woman, whose legacy will live on in more than 20 million American households this Thanksgiving,” the Campbell Soup Company wrote on its website. Reilly, of Haddonfield, New Jersey, gained fame while working for Campbell’s Home Economics department in 1955. She combined green beans and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup to create what was originally called “Green Bean Bake.” The recipe would later be known as green bean casserole, referred to by Campbell as “the mother of all comfort foods.” Dorcas left Campbell's in 1961 and returned in 1981 to serve as manager of the Campbell’s Kitchen. She then retired in 1988. Campbell's donated Dorcas’ original recipe for green bean casserole to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2002. A spokesperson described Dorcas as a person who was admired for her “humble and unassuming nature.” “Dorcas would often share that the first time she made her famous recipe, it did not receive the highest rating in Campbell’s internal testing," the spokesperson wrote. "Yet, it was her persistence and creativity that led to an enduring recipe that will live on for decades to come.” SOURCE: https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/national-international/Dorcas-Reilly-Campbell-Green-Bean-Casserole-Death-498372271.html
  3. U.S. Postal Service to Issue Classic Santa Stamps this Christmas Art Features Images from 1950s Coca-Cola Ads PRNewswie-USNewswire June 26, 2018 EXCERPT: It's beginning to look like a classic Christmas! This October, the Postal Service will ring in the 2018 holiday season with four Sparkling Holidays stamps featuring character-rich close-ups of Santa Claus. The Santa images are from Haddon Sundblom paintings created for The Coca-Cola Company holiday advertisements that ran from the 1940s through the early 1960s. Sundblom, a famed commercial artist, depicted a rosy-cheeked, smiling, grandfatherly man in a red suit that came to embody the very essence of "Santa." The Sparkling Holidays stamps will be issued as Forever stamps. Forever stamps are always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail 1-ounce price. Additional details will be announced before the stamps' release. The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. SOURCE: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-postal-service-to-issue-classic-santa-stamps-this-christmas-300672388.html
  4. Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade on verge of cancellation after 108 years September 24, 2018 by Elisha Dacey- Global News Excerpt - The Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade says if they don’t get much-needed funding in the next two weeks, they will have to cancel the event. The event’s board of directors said Monday they’re short $68,000 needed to build a new Santa float and pay costs for the parade. If the money isn’t found by Oct. 5, the parade will be cancelled. **** “With this support confirmed in 2017, the organization began construction of a new float, which is on schedule for completion in early November 2018. In April 2018, the sponsorship was rescinded leaving a marked gap in the fundraising campaign.” They did not say who the sponsor was. The parade has run since 1909. The organizers are asking for donations through their GoFundMe page. SOURCE
  5. Rockettes’ Christmas Show Gets More Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall Variety by Gordon Cox October 2, 2018 EXCERPT The “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” may have been around for 85 years, but don’t call it old-fashioned. The annual Yuletide showcase for the Rockettes is getting a major tech upgrade this year, boosting the show’s immersive and interactive elements, incorporating drones in the performance and bridging tech and live entertainment in ways that will all come together in a brand-new finale staged by Tony-nominated director Sam Buntrock. Don’t worry: This year’s “Christmas Spectacular” will still have that traditional Nativity scene, replete with live camels, which has always come toward the end of the annual production. But the new finale — featuring performers interacting with animation on one of the largest 8K LED displays in the world; 100 small, flying drones; live aerialists; and, of course, a new number for the Rockettes — will turn its attention to the North Star. “It’s an expressionistic sequence,” says Buntrock, known for meshing technology and theater in stage productions like the 2008 Broadway revival of “Sunday in the Park With George.” “It traces the North Star through time, and fragments that into points of light that then get carried forth into the world, in the tiny points of light on a Christmas tree or on a candle. It has this sense that the Christmas lights have an origin story — like Batman.” SOURCE: https://variety.com/2018/legit/news/christmas-rockettes-radio-city-music-hall-1202964995/amp/
  6. What To Eat This Holiday If You Live In The UK: Christmas Tree-Flavored Chips FoodBeast.com October 6, 2018 EXCERPT: In the UK, propped among other varieties of chips (we're talking potato chips not fries), are a supermarket chain's newest holiday flavor. Snack brand 'Iceland' released "Christmas Tree Flavour Salted Hand-Cooked Crisps" throughout UK grocery stores. The ingredients are pretty simple: potatoes, sunflower oil, pine oil, and pine salt seasoning — an expected combination to create a piney, woodsy taste. A pine-flavored chip definitely sounds odd, but the flavors may taste similar to rosemary. Not so outlandish now, huh? But, whether it is a marketing ploy or not, this festive flavor breaks away from the flavors that we, as a society, have grown to associate with the holidays: pumpkin spice, peppermint, etc. As of now, these chips are only available in the UK but, honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if it popped up in Trader Joe's shelves. Yet, for now, the British are winning the oddest potato chip flavor contest (sorry Lay's). SOURCE: https://www.foodbeast.com/news/what-to-eat-this-holiday-if-you-live-in-the-uk-christmas-tree-flavored-chips/
  7. Pre-lit Christmas trees: How to style and where to buy Here's a selection of the best pre-lit Christmas trees available to buy... Country Living By Katie Avis-Riordan Sep 3, 2018 EXCERPT: Come Christmas, many people choose a pre-lit Christmas tree over a real, traditional Christmas tree. Whether it's a fibre optic Christmas tree or an artificial Christmas tree decorated with LED lights, a pre-lit tree can look fantastic in your home and save you from buying a new tree every year. So here's everything you need to know about this type of Christmas tree, including how to style one and where to buy them... What are pre-lit Christmas trees? A pre-lit Christmas tree consists of an artificial fir tree which comes already pre-wired with lights. These lights cannot normally be removed from the tree as they are built into the tree's design. Pre-lit trees are illuminated with mini bulb lights, LED lights or fibre optic lights. They come in all shapes and sizes, from tabletop trees to 7ft trees or even larger. The benefits of a pre-lit tree As pre-lit Christmas trees are artificial, you won't have to deal with the hassle of clearing up pine needles. Another bonus to buying a pre-lit tree is that you won't have to sort out your pile of tangled fairy lights or make the effort to string lights on the tree – it's already been done for you. Plus, you can do your bit for the environment and use the tree again year after year to minimise waste and be more eco-friendly. How to style pre-lit Christmas trees Here are some Pinterest ideas to give you inspiration on how to style pre-lit Christmas trees... 1. The natural look This look wants to make it appear as if you've plucked a tree straight from a snow-covered forest and brought it inside to nurture and decorate. 2. The Scandi look Simplicity is key for those pre-lit Christmas trees which display only the shape of the tree's twigs and branches. The lack of greenery makes the lights, and any other decorations you choose to hang from it, stand out even more. ... SOURCE: https://www.countryliving.com/uk/homes-interiors/interiors/a22859768/best-pre-lit-christmas-trees/
  8. Albion cuts the ribbon for new Santa mural 22 July 2018 Orleans Hub EXCERPT: The 24-foot-long mural was an Albion Rotary project and included many community donations. The mural commemorates the life and work of Charles W. Howard. In 1937, Howard founded a Santa Claus School in Albion, dedicating his life to establishing a high standard for Santas everywhere. “To play the part of Santa is a privilege, not a job,” Howard said. He served as the Santa in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade for nearly 20 years. Howard died in 1966 but the Santa school continues today in his name in Midland, Mich. The Rotary Club also wanted the mural to highlight Albion’s extraordinary downtown, Courthouse Square and the Erie Canal Source URL: https://orleanshub.com/albion-cuts-the-ribbon-for-new-santa-mural/
  9. Bloomex Supports Canadian Troops Through Operation Santa Claus June 28,2018 Press Release- Ottawa, Canada, June 28, 2018 --(PR.com)-- Bloomex has partnered with the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) and their Operation Santa Claus program, which sends care packages to deployed Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members over the holiday season. Bloomex will provide Canadians with the opportunity to create free personalized greeting cards to express their thanks and well wishes to the troops. The goal is to send one card for every active deployed Canadian soldier who is overseas this December, which could be as many as 3000 men and women. Every year, thanks to partnerships from corporations in Canada and community involvement from Canadians, Operation Santa Claus delivers holiday packages to deployed CAF members worldwide. The packages contain gifts that are uniquely Canadian to remind our soldiers of home while they are away from their loved ones. "We truly appreciate the effort and dedication of our CAF men and women," says Sue McDonald, Director of PR and Corporate Sponsorship at Bloomex Canada. "We wanted to provide a way for Canadians to recognize the sacrifices our soldiers make, especially when they have to be so far from family and friends during the holidays." Receiving an Operation Santa Claus care package has proven year after year to lift the spirits of the brave men and women of the CAF, their kind words of appreciation make our efforts that much more meaningful. "Thank you so much for the extremely thoughtful Operation Santa Claus package that we each received. Please pass our thanks to all of the partners and let them know that receiving the packages really did improve our morale and made Christmas more enjoyable for all of us!" – Lietenant-Colonel 2017 About Bloomex Canada Bloomex is the largest florist in Canada. Orders are taken and processed through the company's site at www.bloomex.ca or by phone, and then delivered to customers via local courier. In addition to flowers, Bloomex offers a variety of other gift items including plants, gift baskets, gourmet foods, sweets and treats, balloons and other items. The company serves Canada, the US, and Australia. About Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services (CFMWS) is responsible for administering Non-Public Property (NPP) on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff and for delivering selected public morale and welfare programs, services, and activities to eligible members and their families on behalf of the Chief of Military Personnel. CFMWS mission is to enhance the morale and welfare of the military community, thus contributing to the operational readiness and effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Contact Information: Bloomex Canada Heather Ireland 613-228-2727 Contact via Email www.bloomex.ca Read the full story here: https://www.pr.com/press-release/757912 Press Release Distributed by PR.com
  10. It's always Christmas in North Pole, Alaska May 16, 2018 by Amanda Bohman - Daily News Miner Excerpt: FAIRBANKS - North Pole’s town motto is “Where the spirit of Christmas lives year round,” and the city website—www.northpolealaska.com—has a counter showing how many days are left until Christmas, but there’s more to do in North Pole than check out where Santa Claus lives. The community 14 miles southeast of Fairbanks down the Richardson Highway has a network of trails, including an exercise path with stations for doing different kinds of strength training, a new library and a growing inventory of parks, including a music park, a dog park, a newly-expanded skate park and a new memorial park dedicated to people in uniform who have died in the line of duty. **** The Santa Claus House, the red and white building beside a 42-foot tall, 900-pound Santa Claus statue, was originally a trading post and served as the first post office in North Pole. It’s now a gift shop and a top attraction along the Richardson Highway, where visitors can meet St. Nick and pick up some Christmas treasures. The Christmas-themed town of about 2,000 people is home to a large concentration of military veterans and hosts one of the most patriotic Fourth of July parades in the area. A street fair follows with games, family-friendly activities and vendors. One of the features of the block party is an ice-carving demonstration. SOURCE
  11. Michael Rielly

    Tis the Season for Christmas Movies

    Tis the Season for Christmas Movies MyMerryChristmas.com May 22, 2018 EXCERPT: A new survey commissioned by MyMerryChristmas.com has determined that 46 percent of annual Christmas movie watching happens between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The survey, conducted over a three day period offline in 7 American cities, reveals some surprising facts about summer Christmas movie watching in America. More than 1 in 3 Americans will see something Christmas-related at home during the dog days of summer and of those a whopping 82 percent watch a Christmas-themed show on purpose. The primary reason people watch so much Christmas during the off-season? Simple. There just isn’t time to see it all when it is Christmas in December. MyMerryChristmas.com has conducted regular surveys since 1998 and this survey actually stemmed from another that wanted to determine if President Trump had actually affected how people were saying “Merry Christmas”, as he has claimed (he hasn’t, by the way). But one of the ancillary questions on that survey, asked many times before in the past, was about Christmas movies. In studying those results a curious trend emerged that caused us to commission another survey just about Christmas movies. Perhaps most revealing in the survey was not the fact that Christmas movies are watched but rather which Christmas movies were viewed during the summer months. Of more than 1800 respondents, here is the compiled top-ten of Christmas movies of summer: Bad Santa The Muppet Christmas Carol The Polar Express Scrooged The Santa Clause While You Were Sleeping Home Alone Die Hard Christmas Vacation Elf This is a vastly different list than you traditionally see about Christmas movies in December. Some of these movies traditionally never make the top 25 much less the top 10 in December. But where are the customary classics like It’s a Wonderful Life? Those movies, the survey says, are seemingly reserved as must-watch, during the season. The summer top ten tends to be movies that respondents claim they just didn’t get time to watch the previous year. The Hallmark Channel made a splash in the news early this year for their announcement of the production of 34 new Christmas movies in 2018. That heavy production schedule is indicative not only of how popular Christmas is as a movie theme but also of the appeal of year-round Christmas movies. Hallmark famously airs Christmas movies of the past to terrific ratings during the months of summer – a counter-trend to traditional television viewing habits in America. Another interesting tidbit revealed by the summer Christmas movie survey is that the decline of Hollywood’s traditional summer blockbuster has seen the gap filled by the tried-and-true Christmas movie. 76 percent of respondents said they spend more time watching Christmas movies during the summer and less time watching the latest release at the local theater simply because old Christmas movies are more reliably entertaining. For more information about our Christmas summer movie survey, please take a listen to the latest episode of the Merry Little Podcast. SOURCE: https://mymerrychristmas.com/tis-the-season-for-christmas-movies/
  12. The star atop Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree is getting a makeover May 21, 2018 Timeout.com By Jennifer Picht EXCERPT: Pardon our interruption on things to do in summer updates, but we need to share some news for all you Christmas fanatics. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree—the nexus of the holiday season in New York—is getting a new Swarovski star this year. The crystal brand is working with accomplished architect Daniel Libeskind to design a stunning tree topper set to debut on November 18. Like most stars, this new reiteration is inspired by the cosmos and includes dramatic architectural lines and geometries in true Libeskind fashion.n Libeskind says, “The new Swarovski Star for the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is inspired by the beauty of starlight—something that radiates meaning and mystery into the world. The Star is a symbol that represents our greatest ambitions for hope, unity and peace. I am tremendously honored to collaborate with Swarovski on the Star, and with the entire design team, to bring cutting-edge innovation and design to crystal technology.” We can’t wait to see it. Except, we’d really like to enjoy the warm weather, drinking outdoors and visiting beaches in NYC first. SOURCE: https://www.timeout.com/newyork/news/the-star-atop-rockefeller-centers-christmas-tree-is-getting-a-makeover-052118
  13. Santa Claus-themed letter wins national UPU contest May 11, 2018 by Vietnam Plus Excerpt: Hanoi (VNA) – A letter about Santa Claus written by an eighth grader in Hai Duong province has won the first prize of the 47th International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People in Vietnam. Nguyen Thi Bach Duong, an eighth grader at the Nguyen Trai Junior High School in Nam Sach district, Hai Duong province, won the top prize of the contest, which was launched globally by the Universal Postal Union (UPU). **** This year’s contest is themed "Imagine you are a letter travelling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?" In her letter, Duong imagined herself to be a real letter which was written by an editor of The Sun newspaper of the US in 1987 to reply to the question “Is there a Santa Claus?” asked by an eight-year-old reader. With a natural, pure and humane writing style, the letter combined messages calling for love and respect for children along with attention to disadvantaged and unprotected children. It makes readers think about a world free of wars, violence, poverty and injustice. SOURCE
  14. Michael Rielly

    How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life

    How Tiny Red Dots Took Over Your Life New York Times By John Herrman February 27, 2018 EXCERPT: As the ranks of tech-industry critics have expanded, it has become harder to tell what common ground they occupy. Across various political divides, there is a sense that Facebook, Twitter and Google exert too much influence on the national discourse; closely connected to this is the widespread concern that we users have developed an unhealthful relationship with our phones, or with the apps on them. But on any more specific claim than that, consensus becomes impossible. The sudden arrival of a new class of tech skeptic, the industry apostate, has only complicated the discussion. Late last year, the co-inventor of the Facebook “like,” Justin Rosenstein, called it a “bright ding of pseudopleasure”; in January, the investment firm Jana Partners, a shareholder in Apple, wrote a letter to the company warning that its products “may be having unintentional negative consequences.” All but conjuring Oppenheimer at White Sands, these critics offer broadsides, warning about addictive design tricks and profit-driven systems eroding our humanity. But it’s hard to discern a collective message in their garment-rending: Is it design that needs fixing? Tech? Capitalism? This lack of clarity may stem from the fact that these people are not ideologues but reformists. They tend to believe that companies should be more responsible — and users must be, too. But with rare exceptions, the reformists stop short of asking the uncomfortable questions: Is it possible to reform profit-driven systems that turn attention into money? In such a business, can you even separate addiction from success? SOURCE: https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/02/27/magazine/red-dots-badge-phones-notification.html
  15. Michael Rielly

    Toys R Us announces final store closures

    Toys R Us announces final store closures Remaining 75 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores will close by April 24th. Toy News Online April 11, 2018 Jack Ridsdale EXCERPT: Toys R Us administrators Moorfields have confirmed the closure dates of the final Toys R Us stores in the UK. The remaining 75 Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores in the UK are to close by Tuesday, April 24th 2018. All 2,054 employees have been informed and will be paid up to and including their last day of employment. Stores will continue to trade as normal up until the dates listed below and the nationwide stock discounting programme has been extended further. Discounts of up to 70 per cent are available throughout the stores, with all bikes, car seats, strollers and action figures currently on offer at half-price. Further 'Manager’s Specials' deals are available on selected products in stores. “We are grateful for the hard work of everybody at Toys “R” Us’ during this extremely difficult and challenging time," said Simon Thomas, joint administrator and partner at Moorfields. "We are working closely with the 2,000 employees affected by the closures to ensure they receive the support they need for redundancy and other compensatory payments." “The stores across the county will be open as usual until the last day of trading and we would encourage shoppers to make the most of the great deals on offer. Extended discounts of up to 70% are in place from today and offers are available on some of our best-known brands.”
  16. Become Fairmont The Palm Jumeirah's Santa Casting call launched for Father Christmas at five-star Dubai resort August 9, 2017 by Holly Sands - Timeout Dubai Excerpt: Dubai - Are you perennially jolly and more than a little red in the face? Put all those Dubai brunches to good use and get yourself a job as Fairmont The Palm’s Santa Claus. A global recruitment hunt has been launched by the Palm Jumeirah resort as it seeks to find an in-house Santa for its 2017 Christmas festivities. The lucky candidate will win an all-inclusive trip to Dubai to stay at the hotel (with their guest) for three weeks between Tuesday December 5 and Tuesday 26, where between a few hours of Santa duties each day, they will be able to enjoy a “memorable” stay, followed by return flights home. Applicants from around the world are asked to upload a 30-second video to Instagram or Facebook, tagging #MyDubaiSanta and #FairmontThePalm, by Monday October 30. Think you’ve got what it takes? The key attributes required for the role include “having a jolly disposition, must be compatible with elves, must have a certain-sized waistline, needs a minimum length for his white beard and, of course, must ooze festive flair…”.If all that sounds like you, what are you waiting for?Check out the full job description **** Remuneration: In kind Job Summary: This festive season, Fairmont The Palm is looking for the jolliest, gleaming, funniest and red-faced Santa Dubai can imagine! Required for all typical Santa roles and responsibilities, the resort is looking for the crème de la crème of Santa’s, one that goes above and beyond the usual Christmas cheer and showcases themselves as being the best Santa that the region could ever have asked for SOURCE:. Carlo's note *** remuneration "IN KIND"
  17. Tracking down a child letter writer — 87 years later Jan 4, 2018 by Dale Brumfield - News Leader Excerpt - What are the odds of finding a girl who wrote to Santa in 1930? We did, though. Not only is one of our history article subjects still alive but also she still lives here. Staunton woman Millicent Hall Brubek’s childhood letter to Santa Claus was published not once in the Staunton News Leader, but twice — and 87 years apart. “I was rather surprised to see it,” the 97-year-old retired psychiatric nurse says of finding her letter (first published Dec. 24, 1930) republished on Dec. 19, 2017, in the same paper in a feature on letters to Santa from the past. **** Like most children at the time, Millicent asked Santa for nuts, candy and oranges at Christmas, in addition to small, utilitarian articles, such as gloves and dishes. “I had a stocking but I don’t remember where I hung it, because the stove was in the middle of the tea room,” she says of her early Christmases at the inn. She pauses in thought. “That’s why I warned Santa [in the letter] to not come down the chimney!” Today the Tumble Inn is long gone and Millicent is surrounded in her Staunton home with childhood memories and memorabilia of her life there. SOURCE:
  18. Christmas in Action keeps giving spirit alive year-round Times Record News March 23, 2018 Patrick Johnston EXCERPT: In Wichita County, some need goes unseen or unnoticed as homeowners remain silent and make do with what they have. Plumbing for a kitchen sink stops working, so the disabled resident simply starts washing dishes in the bathtub or a working bathroom sink. A house may look fine from the front, but a short walk around the home reveals a very different story – a leaky roof covered by a tarp to prevent overnight rains from soaking the elderly homeowner as they sleep in bed. It's stories like these that Cassie Ahearn hopes to shed light on and make the repairs for low-income residents of Wichita County who are elderly, disabled or a veteran. "Sometimes I get phone calls from churches with a member who has an issue. I'll send them an application," the executive director of Christmas in Action said. "Or, I'll get a call from a neighbor about a person who has a leaking roof. They say the person won't call because they are too proud." If it weren't for neighbors helping neighbors – a slogan the non-profit has painted on their wall, Christmas in Action may not be able to help people in dire need. "I have some people though who won't fill out an application though," Ahearn said. "They say they won't fill it out because other people need the services more than them." SOURCE: https://www.timesrecordnews.com/story/news/local/2018/03/23/christmas-action/454390002/
  19. Elections Chairman Bob Partlow chaired the election of candidates to serve as members of the NORPAC Executive Board for the next two years. The slate included: Chairman-Trever Waltos Vice Chair-Gene Sanders Past Chair-Dennis Simpson Secretary-Dale Scott Treasurer-Dennis Gorley At Large-Ron Kearns At Large-Jerry Galland At Large-Randy Cook Mark DeMonbrun moved that the slate be approved as presented (several 2nded). The voice vote was unanimous. Per NORPAC bylaws, the next election of board members will be two years from now (February, 2020). Note; Ron Kearns has since resigned
  20. Found: A 700-Year-Old Ring Adorned With St. Nicholas Atlas Obscura by Vittoria Traverso February 26, 2018 EXCERPT: The ancient Egyptians, the classical Greeks, the people of Middle Earth—they all saw rings as powerful symbols for human institutions such as marriage, religion, and political power. During the Middle Ages, it was not uncommon for wearers to don multiple rings, each signaling a different aspect of identity, from social class to political affiliation. Last week, Dekel Ben-Shitrit, a 26-year-old gardener who was minding a private lot near HaZore’a kibbutz in northern Israel, found a 700-year-old bronze ring bearing an engraved image of St. Nicholas, the saint believed to be the inspiration for Santa Claus. “I rubbed it slightly and I saw it was carved with a human image inside a frame,” Ben-Shitrit told CBN News. Shortly after the discovery, Ben-Shitrit, who happens to have been born on Christmas Day, shared a photo of the ring on social media, where it was noticed by heritage authorities. According to Yana Tchekhanovets, a expert on the Byzantine period at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the artifact dates to a period between the 12th and 15th centuries. As explained in a video produced by the IAA, during the medieval period, travelers carried icons to protect them while on the road, and St. Nicholas is the patron saint of travelers (along with pawnbrokers, children, thieves, and more). As the ring was found in Lower Galilee, near ancient Roman roads that brought people from around Europe to the Holy Land, Tchekhanovets believes that it was probably lost by pilgrim passing through. SOURCE: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/found-saint-nicholas-ring-medieval-israel
  21. Olympic ice dancer Madison Hubbell's other talent is making Christmas stockings with her mom February 19, 2018 by Maggie Hendriks - USA Today Excerpt - Along with her partner Zach Donohue, U.S. ice dancer Madison Hubbell is in third place heading into the free dance. It’s been a breakout year for the pair, as they won their first national championship and medaled at two grand prix events. But ice dancing is not her only skill, as Hubbell and her mother run an Etsy shop selling gorgeous Christmas stockings. (Etsy shop picture) Hubbell had a great tutor for learning how to sew. Her mother designs and sews the intricate costumes she wears on the ice, including the hand-beaded dress she will wear for the free dance. SOURCE:
  22. Official 2018 White House Christmas ornament honors Harry Truman February 19, 2018 by Matt Campbell- Kansas City Star Excerpt - This is Harry Truman’s year. The White House Historical Association every year commissions a unique Christmas ornament to sell. Since 1981, the ornament has honored either an individual president or a White House event. This year it’s the 33rd president’s turn. The announcement was made Monday at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence. “This ornament is designed to illustrate three significant changes made by President Truman during his administration: one to the Presidential Seal, and two to the White House itself,” according to the association’s website. “One side of the ornament features his celebrated Truman Balcony, added in 1947-48 to the South Portico, and the other side features his renovated Blue Room, which, like all the rooms of the house, was dismantled and rebuilt during the renovation of 1948-52.” SOURCE:
  23. The Afro-Colombian village which celebrates Christmas in February February 20, 2018 BBC Excerpt - Residents of the Colombian village of Quinamayó have been celebrating Christmas with a procession featuring a statue of a black baby Jesus. Villagers say the tradition dates back to the days of slavery when their ancestors were banned from marking Christmas on 24 December. They chose mid-February instead and the tradition has been preserved ever since. Fireworks, music and dance all form part of the colourful celebrations. "The people who enslaved us celebrated in December and we were not allowed to have that day off, but were told to choose another day," the event's co-ordinator, Holmes Larrahondo, said. *** As part of the celebrations, villagers go round the houses "searching" for baby Jesus, who is represented by a wooden statue which is kept safe by one of the villagers in her home for the rest of the year. Once the statue has been found, it is paraded around the village by residents of all ages dressed up as angels and soldiers. SOURCE:
  24. Christmas came early! Kurt Russell gets into the holiday spirit dressed as Santa Claus while filming in Toronto DailyMail Tracy Wright January 22, 2018 EXCERPT: His stellar career has seen him on stage and screen for more than five decades. And Kurt Russell quickly got into character as a lovable Santa Claus while filming a new Netflix movie in Toronto, Canada, on Sunday evening. The 66-year-old legend looked every inch the jolly holiday gift-giver as he showed off a luscious grey beard while riding on the roof of a bright red sports car. ... Decked out in an updated Santa Claus costume which included a bright red shirt and matching pants, golden buttons ran down his chest to reveal a thick black belt around his waist. He covered his hands with elbow-length black gloves and wore black leather boots while filming. SOURCE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5299309/Kurt-Russell-films-holiday-flick-dressed-Santa-Claus.html ## I found this link to a new Christmas Film project being presently shot in Toronto featuring Kurt Russell as Santa.
  25. Christmas lights coming down in downtown Maryville January 29, 2018 By Jay Malone - Daily Times Excerpt - While the holidays ended a month ago, one thing remained to be taken down: the bright lights. That began to change on Monday, as Christmas Decor of Knoxville began removing lights the company had wrapped all around Maryville to brighten to season. The process began in October for the decoration company, as employees lined businesses, residential homes and, most notably, the Altar’d State headquarters building located at 150 W. Church Ave., Maryville. In the midst of removing over 3,000 bulbs from the trees located in Founders Square, Locke Jones, a member of the team taking on the work, said the Altar’d State building ended up having over 58,000 lights alone. The lights were assembled using a complicated assortment of methods, “We multi-purpose hot glued all the lights to the front of the brick of their building, then attached the lights on top with magnets. ... Then we wrapped all their trees with mini-LED lights,” Jones said. **** Christmas Decor of Knoxville was brought in for the first time this year to boost decorations, and Jane Groff, community relations manager for the city of Maryville, said their addition went over very well. “I think a lot of people ended up enjoying the additional decor downtown,” she told The Daily Times. Groff also pointed out the impressive 30-foot tree that Christmas Decor assisted putting up. But with February around the corner, the decorations are coming down, signaling an unofficial end to the holiday season for both Christmas Decor of Knoxville and downtown Maryville. SOURCE
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