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FedEx Delivers 300,000 Free Christmas Trees to Military Families With Annual Trees for Troops Program

in People/Transportation 13 views

FedEx is rolling down the highway to deliver Christmas joy to military families throughout America in the annual Trees for Troops program.

The freight company is delivering nearly 16,000 Christmas trees this month to families at over 90 military bases across the U.S.

Partnering with the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, FedEx has also reached a special milestone with the program, delivering tree number 300,000 during a special celebration at Fort Liberty in North Carolina.

“Every year, the FedEx Freight team puts in tireless effort to support Trees for Troops,” said Lance Moll, President and CEO, FedEx Freight. “We are honored to give back to local communities and military families whose values have always been closely tied to the core mission of our company.”

Since 2005, FedEx Freight has supported the Trees for Troops program, an initiative that delivers farm-grown Christmas trees to domestic and international U.S. military bases. This long-standing collaboration has become a cherished tradition for FedEx Freight.

And drivers have logged over 600,000 miles to deliver the holly-jolly trees during the 18 year partnership.

“This program started on a crazy idea and started small. We delivered 4,300 trees to only five bases that first year,” said Wendy Richardson, Chair of the Christmas Spirit Foundation Board of Trustees. “It’s hard to believe we’re now going to exceed 300,000 total trees since we began working with FedEx 19 years ago.”

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Zoo New York holding Winter Wonderlights event every Friday and Saturday in December

in Event 18 views

Zoo New York in Thompson Park was back open to visitors this weekend for its fourth annual Winter Wonderlights.

The event started in 2020.

Lights could be seen all over the zoo, illuminating animal exhibits and walkways. Santa and Mrs. Claus were in attendance.

Ryan A. Ferris, director of guest experience for Zoo New York, said that even though the zoo has not been open it wanted to keep the tradition alive.

“With a group of a bunch of volunteers coming out, putting up lights, and then helping run this we were able to actually to put this on for the community,” he said.

There were eight volunteers and another six people on the Guest Experience Committee for the zoo that helped set up and make Winter Wonderlights a possibility.

Ferris said getting help from the volunteers “says a lot” because some of those people lost their jobs when the zoo closed.

“But they care so much about the zoo that they wanted to be here to help and actually move the zoo along with the fundraiser for it,” he said. “Them volunteering their time to come, man, says a lot not just about them, but about this zoo too.”

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DPAO show turns Watertown stage into winter wonderland, complete with ‘ice’

in Entertainment 19 views

The 13 troupe members of Ice Creative Entertainment’s “Christmas Celebration on Ice” trudged through the snow to the Dulles State Office Building on Wednesday, where they hit the ice.

The ice, installed on stage Monday when the troupe arrived from Nashville, is artificial. But troupe members use real skates and their excitement is crystal clear for what they have planned for their debut performance in the traveling production for two shows on Saturday in Watertown.

“We’re excited to open in New York, and it’s snowing,” Alex Wilfand, founder of Ice Creative Entertainment and who has choreographed for Olympic-level athletes as well as celebrity figure skaters, said Wednesday. “It makes it very Christmassy, especially for some of us who aren’t even from this part of the country. It’s very nice.”

The Disabled Persons Action Organization will present “Christmas Celebration on Ice” at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday.

The troupe will then head to Ohio, and then back east, which will include stops on Long Island, in Maine and North and South Carolina.

Principal skater Luke Munana was a competitive ice dancer who represented Mexico in international competition with his sister Laura Munana. They competed for the United States until 2004. After that, they competed at the Four Continents Championships and the World Figure Skating Championships for Mexico, as well as competing on the Grand Prix circuit.

Before arriving on Monday, the troupe rehearsed off ice in Nashville, Munana said.

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Zoo’s holiday lights event set for December

in Art/Entertainment/Place 26 views

Despite its financial issues, Zoo New York in Thompson Park is bringing back a holiday tradition this season.

The zoo will be lit up for the holiday season with displays of lights and decorations throughout the zoo.

Starting Friday night, Winter Wonderlights will run Fridays and Saturdays through December. The show runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

Admission is $7, but members can get in for free. The zoo also is looking for donations.

Thanking “the abundance of community support,” interim zoo Director Mark D. Irwin said the zoo is able to bring back the holiday favorite with the help of volunteers, board members and employees.

He also thanked the City Council for contributing a $60,000 financial boost to stabilize the zoo during the winter.

“We’re going to try our very best to have a wonderful holiday season,” Irwin said.

The zoo announced in October that it was closing with no reopening date set because of continuing financial issues.

Zoo officials have said the zoo’s business model has to change or the facility will close.

A public survey has been conducted to determine community support. The results, which are expected to be positive, will soon be released.

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City Christmas festivities Friday to feature laser show

in Entertainment/Event 24 views

The city’s Christmas parade and tree lighting will feature a laser show for the first time.

The Holiday Scene Laser Show, presented by a professional laser company out of Minnesota, will be shown on the Sterling Street side of City Hall before and after the parade.

The parade is Friday. The tree lighting begins at 6 p.m., with the parade to follow.

“We are encouraging people to stay downtown after the parade,” said senior city planner and event coordinator Jennifer Voss, who’s spearheading the event.

Advantage Watertown member Brian Ashley suggested the idea of a laser show after knowing about a laser show festival presented in Binghamton.

The Planning Department tracked down Laser Encore, Voss said.

The laser shows last about 15 minutes.

The holiday festivities will begin with Mayor Jeff Smith and City Council members officially kicking off the holiday season with a countdown to light the city’s Christmas tree in front of City Hall, 245 Washington St.

The parade route will be extended this year. It will start at Green Street and run down Washington Street to City Hall.

Directly following the tree lighting, the parade will travel along Washington Street from Green Street to Stone Street. Viewers will be able to enjoy the parade from both sides of Washington Street along the route.

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Festival of Trees decorators work with a purpose

in Event 27 views

Holiday spirit filled the air at the Salmon Run Mall Wednesday morning, as preparations began for the North Country Festival of Trees.

Ninety trees are to be decorated this year by various organizations, businesses and members of the public who signed up. The trees will be sold through an auction that runs from Nov. 25 to Dec. 3. Free public tree viewing is also available throughout this time frame.

All the proceeds are to benefit Samaritan Medical Center Foundation of Northern New York and the Watertown Family YMCA. The volunteers were allowed to decorate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.

Like elves at the North Pole, they were busy putting up colorful lights, wrapping garland and ribbon, hanging every kind of ornament imaginable — and working their way onto Santa’s nice list.

High on that list is a group of three women from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who were decorating a tree that belonged to their friend and fellow churchgoer Melinda Worthington, who they said died last week after battling illness.

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Festive Seniors Build Christmas Tree Made of LEGOs and a Fireplace With Santa’s Feet Sticking Out

in People 164 views

A LEGO-loving couple have created a bit of festive cheer by making an entire wall, fireplace and tree from the plastic blocks in their living room.

For the last 28 years Mike Addis and his wife Catherine Weightman have built amazing LEGO sculptures each Christmas.

Previous creations include a 21-foot London Bridge and a 12-foot replica of Ely cathedral.

Inspired by extension work being done on their house in Cambridgeshire, they decided to cover a wall in their living room with a LEGO replica, complete with Christmas tree, festive decorations, and a fireplace with Santa’s feet sticking out.

There also can be found LEGO mince pies, a LEGO matchbox, and LEGO candles that light up on the mantelpiece.

But apart from the incredible ingenuity needed to create the piece, it’s had the side effect of reducing their heating bills through the energy expenditure of stacking bricks all evening.

Addis said they committed between two to four hours each evening for two months to complete it.

“It’s quite a social thing and it keeps us warm too,” said Adids. “You can’t believe building LEGO which doesn’t involve a lot of movement would, but you could actually switch the heating off.”

“It’s all the getting up and down and fiddling around with the pieces.”

“It’s amazing even in this cold weather to not have to put the wood burner on because we’re warm enough.”

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A Christmas to remember: Blizzard continues Sunday

in Local News/weather 162 views

WATERTOWN — A lake-effect snowstorm is hovering over the city Christmas morning. Large snowflakes blown by the wind are accumulating at the rate of 2 to 4 inches per hour, according to the National Weather Service.

In the city, main roads are largely well plowed, but side streets have several inches of snow.

A travel ban for Jefferson County remains in effect. Drivers are expected to stay off the streets. A state of emergency continues.

During a reporter’s trip down Washington Street to Public Square just before 11 a.m. a few private vehicles were seen along with a police car and an ambulance.

Visibility on Washington Street is just a few feet. Street lights appear to be floating in a white cloud, beaming red, yellow and green.

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Meteorologists: Christmas weekend storm system ‘once in a generation type of event’

in Local News/weather 154 views

WATERTOWN — An “incredibly powerful” winter storm system also described by meteorologists as a “once in a generation type of event” is forecast to move through the area over the Christmas holiday weekend.

High winds, rain, snow and lake-effect snow accompanied by dramatically dropping temperatures are expected to impact the region starting Friday and continue through at least Sunday, Christmas Day.

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Buffalo said in a forecast discussion Tuesday that “Some of the parameters of this intense storm are climatologically ‘off the charts,’” including the potential for record-setting low barometric pressures.

The service said the deepening low-pressure system moving into the area on Friday will “easily” meet the definition of a bombogenesis in which atmospheric pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours. The phenomenon, also known as a “bomb cyclone,” is relatively rare in the lower Great Lakes, according to meteorologists.

After uneventful weather Wednesday, the service says conditions will begin to deteriorate late Thursday. Thursday’s temperatures are expected to be in 40s, resulting in most precipitation falling that day as rain, although a wintry mix could be seen in some locations as temperatures begin to drop.

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Watertown kicks off holiday season with tree lighting and parade

in Entertainment/Event 145 views

WATERTOWN — The city officially kicked off the holiday season with its annual Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony Friday night, beginning with the tree lighting in front of Watertown’s City Hall on Washington Street.

Unlike previous years, when the parade was held on Public Square, this year’s parade went down Washington Street from Winslow to Stone streets.

Rhonda Blackman, who goes to the parade each year, said she prefers the tree lighting in front of City Hall instead of on the square.00

“We thought this was the perfect spot,” she said. “I think the beauty of it speaks for itself.”

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