ABC 22 News Team
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Odd News Roundup
Christmas Tree Hangs Above Ohio Pediatric Hospital
AKRON (AP) -- Young patients looking for Santa in the night sky above a northeast Ohio hospital will see a different holiday symbol -- a hanging Christmas tree.
A construction crew at Akron Children's Hospital uses a crane to hoist a twinkling, 13-foot Christmas tree 150 feet above the facility each night, hoping to brighten the holidays for patients.
Fifteen-year-old Massillon resident Ben Stanoyevic tells the Akron Beacon Journal he initially was confused to see the tree but enjoyed watching it while he was at the hospital dealing with complications from cystic fibrosis.
The tree was provided by the man overseeing a construction project, Welty-Boldt superintendent Tom Conti. He says one of his sons was treated at the hospital years ago and that experience made him want to help other patients smile.
Crowds Relive Washington's 1776 River Crossing
WASHINGTON CROSSING, N.J. (AP) -- George Washington has made his annual Christmas Day ride across the Delaware River.
Washington's daring Christmas 1776 crossing of the river turned the tide of the Revolutionary War. The 61st reenactment of it was staged Wednesday.
Hundreds of people gather each year to hear Washington's stand-in deliver stirring words to the troops and watch three boats make the crossing from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.
During the original crossing, boats ferried 2,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 18 cannons across the river. The troops marched 8 miles downriver before battling Hessian mercenaries in the streets of Trenton.
Thirty Hessians were killed. Two Continental soldiers froze to death on the march, but none died in battle.
Some Speeding Florida Drivers Issued Lottery Tickets
MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) -- Police in a central Florida city have been issuing scratch-off lottery tickets instead of speeding fines to Christmas Day travelers.
By early Wednesday afternoon, Melbourne Police officers had handed out 30 lottery tickets along with warnings to drivers caught speeding or violating other traffic laws.
Sgt. Jamie Rocque was quoted by Florida Today as saying that officers bought the lottery tickets with their own money to spread a bit of holiday cheer while ensuring public safety.
Rocque says the officers have gotten "a lot of surprised looks."
Surfers Dressed as Santa Claus Gather in Florida
COCOA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- More than 210 surfers dressed as Santa Claus, elves and snowmen were surfing the Christmas Eve waves off central Florida's Atlantic coast.
Florida Today reports that when Cocoa Beach Mayor Dave Netterstrom took in the view from the sand Tuesday, he declared the fourth-annual gathering "the largest surfing Santa event on the planet."
Organizer George Trosset says he may move the holiday event to downtown Cocoa Beach next year to accommodate growing crowds. He started the tradition in 2009 with a few family members after seeing a television commercial featuring people surfing in Santa Claus attire.
More friends joined them the following year, and in 2012, nearly 160 surfers participated. Trosset says the event "has gone from being a little family party to being a community event."
Georgia Christmas Display Prompts Emergency Response
BERKELEY LAKE, Ga. (AP) -- A metro Atlanta homeowner says he hopes he didn't offend anyone by his Christmas decoration of a mannequin with outstretched arms entangled in a string of Christmas lights and clinging to a ledge that prompted an emergency response to his house.
Bubba Murphy Lake told WSB-TV that someone passing the house in Berkeley Lake with their children thought the display looked so realistic that they called 911. He says fire officials told him to take the display down -- at least temporarily. The display also had a ladder toppled over in the front yard.
Murphy says homeowners in his Cobb County neighborhood go all out with their Christmas displays every year.
Berkeley Lake is about 22 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta.
Anonymous Donor Gives $650,000 to Rebuild Nebraska Bridge
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Three years after a flood wiped out a 100-year-old bridge spanning the Elkhorn River in Neligh, residents of the small northeastern Nebraska city received a festive surprise: an anonymous, $650,000 donation to rebuild the structure.
The city received a check from the donor's Chicago-based attorney last week for use on the condition that residents never try to uncover the donor's identity. If they discover the name by accident, city officials must stay sworn to secrecy.
A flood damaged swept away a section of the steel-truss bridge in 2010 and devoured a chunk of the river's south bank. Residents tried to raise the money for repairs, but collected only a few thousand dollars.
Mayor Jeri Anderson says she was amazed when she learned of the donation.
Hospital Wraps Newborns in Christmas Stockings
REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) -- Southern California hospitals are spreading holiday cheer for new parents by delivering newborns in giant Christmas stockings.
The bright red stockings were provided this week for babies born at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The Long Beach Press-Telegram says it's a half-century-old tradition.
The Redlands Community Hospital has been handing out stockings to parents of infants born this month.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise says the tradition began in 1930, but lapsed before it was revived in 2005.
This year, 16 volunteers made 250 fleece stockings during a daylong sewing bee.
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Applications for US unemployment aid jump to 329K
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits surged 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 last week, though the gain likely reflected temporary layoffs in the week before Easter.
WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- (Marketwired) -- 03/21/14 --
Companies that pride themselves on being eco-friendly may have conflicted
ideas between marketing with ad specialties and maintaining their green
"AMERICAN IDOL" - CJ HARRIS OUT
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- There were tears on last night "American Idol."
DENVER (AP) -- Tourists looking for a high time could be headed to Colorado.
IN THE NEWS: FCC SETS UP PRIORITY LANES FOR SOME INTERNET SERVICES
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It could be the electronic equivalent for those new highway lanes in some big cities that let some drivers zip along on less congested roads -- for a fee.
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