Black goo disables hundreds of vehicles on Pennsylvania Turnpike
The black good affected hundreds of cars on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
November 23rd, 2011
10:10 AM ET

Black goo disables hundreds of vehicles on Pennsylvania Turnpike

If you hear about a sticky Thanksgiving travel mess, images of crowded airport security lines and jammed freeway interchanges probably come to mind. Your car sitting on the freeway in a mass of a black goo probably isn't what you think of.

But that's exactly what drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike faced Tuesday night after a tanker truck carrying driveway sealant sprang a leak and spread the goo over a 37-mile stretch of highway.

"This is Thanksgiving. Now we have to turn around and go back home," Laura Frick, who was traveling from Cleveland to New Jersey for the holiday, told CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. "It's horrible."

The tar-like sealant was spilled in the turnpikes eastbound lanes between the New Castle and Allegheny Valley exits in western Pennsylvania, according to the turnpike's website. The truck's driver noticed the leak when he stopped at the Oakmont travel plaza, according to the WTAE report.

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Filed under: Holidays • Pennsylvania • Thanksgiving • Travel
Gotta Watch: Revenge of the turkeys
A wild turkey chases a KXTV producer.
November 23rd, 2011
08:33 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Revenge of the turkeys

Thanksgiving may just be the most perilous day to be a turkey— after all, we call it Turkey Day. When the birds are under all that stress, who can blame them for wanting to take a little revenge? From chasing after mail trucks to pecking at presidents, you’ve Gotta Watch these turkeys unleash their wrath.

Wild turkey chase—A turkey might not seem like a very menacing animal — until it’s chasing you. One Sacramento TV producer went to check out reports of a turkey named “Terrible Tom” terrorizing a neighborhood. She got a lot more than she bargained for. See her hilarious reaction to this wild turkey.

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Filed under: Animals • Birds • George W. Bush • Gotta Watch • Holidays • Thanksgiving
Occupy targets retailers on Black Friday
Shoppers crowd a Virginia mall for Black Friday 2010.
November 23rd, 2011
07:58 AM ET

Occupy targets retailers on Black Friday

The Occupy movement is taking on the biggest retail day of the season, calling on protesters to occupy major retailers on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

"OCCUPY BLACK FRIDAY by occupying/boycotting large chain stores and publicly traded retail" is the message posted on the website stopblackfriday.com.

The movement contends that 1% of the country is making money at the expense of the other 99%.

"The credit cards the 99% overcharge will allow the 1% to enrich themselves gluttonously on the backs of hardworking people who simply want to provide a memorable time for their families," the website says.

"So just imagine what would happen to the 1% if the 99% did not spend on Black Friday."

The site asks protesters to target only "publicly traded large businesses" and support small businesses "that serve our local communities."

The site lists Abercrombie & Fitch, Amazon.com, AT&T Wireless, Burlington Coat Factory, Dick's Sporting Goods, Dollar Tree, The Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, Office Max, Toys "R" Us, Verizon Wireless and Wal-Mart as businesses that should be boycotted or occupied.

"We are NOT anti-capitalist, just anti-crapitalist," the site says.

Are you participating in an Occupy Black Friday protest? Send your iReport.

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Filed under: Business • Economy • Holidays • Occupy Wall Street • Protest • Thanksgiving
Gotta Watch : Submerged Stunts
Bob the diving dog paddles to great depths to retrieve a prized toy.
November 18th, 2011
11:31 AM ET

Gotta Watch : Submerged Stunts

What do hockey, pumpkin carving, and bone-fetching have in common?

Surprisingly, they can all be done underwater. Add a little liquid to these every day activities and see how different they become. Take a minute and dive into today's Gotta Watch videos.

Deep Diving Dog– Many dogs love water but this pooch is taking that love to a new depth. Check out this rescue pet's impressive spiral as he retrieves a toy from the bottom of the deep end.

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Filed under: Animals • Dogs • Gotta Watch • Halloween • Holidays • Swimming • Uncategorized
October 31st, 2011
05:10 AM ET

More than 2.3 million without power as Northeast recovers from storm

More than 2.3 million people in at least five states were without power early Monday, a day after the storm moved offshore.

At least five deaths were blamed on the storm.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA, warned riders that the storm could affect Monday morning commute. And with the chilly temperatures and piles of snow, Halloween plans were touch and go for many cities.

Worchester, Massachussets, asked residents to postpone celebrations until Thursday when temperatures are expected to climb to 60 degrees.

"Safety doesn't take a holiday. Halloween tomorrow night will put families and our youth in harm's way as they negotiate piles of snow and downed limbs," the city said Sunday night.

Early Monday morning, the state's largest utility - Connecticut Light and Power - reported nearly 763,000 customers were still without electricity. A total of about 773,000 households were in the dark in Connecticut.

Elsewhere, about 250,000 customers were without power early Monday in Pennsylvania; 556,000 in Massachusetts' 477,000 in New Jersey; and 288,000 in New York, according to figures from power companies in those states. Thousands also lost power in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

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Filed under: Halloween • U.S. • Weather • Winter weather
On the Radar: Texas fire, Wall Street protest, Halloween costumes
A firefighter works among the rubble of a Bastrop County, Texas, home in September.
October 5th, 2011
06:01 AM ET

On the Radar: Texas fire, Wall Street protest, Halloween costumes

Three things you need to know today.

Texas fire: Firefighters in Bastrop County, Texas, continue to battle on Wednesday a blaze that sprang up Tuesday near where fire destroyed more than 1,500 homes in September.

About 1,000 acres were burning with multiple street evacuations, according to Sissy Jones, spokeswoman with the Bastrop County sheriff's office.

"We have had to evacuate 30 homes in the area," John Nichols, public information officer with the Texas Forest Service, told CNN. A highway in the area was closed because of the fire, he added.

The area that was burning is in the northeast portion of the county near the town of McDade, Texas. The cause of the fire was unknown, authorities said.

Wall Street protest: Labor unions were poised Wednesday to join the Occupy Wall Street protest as similar demonstrations were springing up outside New York City.

"These young people on Wall Street are giving voice to many of the problems that working people in America have been confronting over the last several years," Larry Hanley, international president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, which has 20,000 member in the New York area, told CNN.

Transport Workers Union Local 100 spokesman Jim Gannon said the Occupy Wall Street movement, which denounces social inequities in the financial system and draws inspiration from the Arab Spring revolutions in Africa and the Middle East, has advanced issues that unions typically support.

Meanwhile, a Twitter account called Occupy Boston mentions a city-wide college walkout there Wednesday. The Massachusetts Nurses Association says "hundreds" of the city's nurses will rally with the Occupy Boston protestors on Wednesday. The Nurses Association says the protest will be part of the opening day activities for a national nursing convention being held in Boston.

Halloween costumes: Charlie Sheen, the former star of TV's "Two and a Half Men" who was fired from the popular sitcom earlier this year, is the most popular Halloween costume for 2011, CNNMoney reports.

Top choices for women include Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Snooki from the "Jersey Shore," the report says, citing figures from Spirit Halloween, the country's largest seasonal Halloween retailer.

As for kids' costumes, expect to be seeing a lot of Angry Birds on your doorstep on Halloween night, the report says.

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Filed under: Charlie Sheen • Fire • Halloween • Holidays • Natural Disasters • On the Radar • Protest • Showbiz • Texas
Gotta Watch: They quit! (A Labor Day special)
September 5th, 2011
11:33 AM ET

Gotta Watch: They quit! (A Labor Day special)

It's Labor Day, a day that honors all the contributions workers make to the well-being of the United States.  For many of you, Labor Day is a work-free holiday.  So, while you're out enjoying your barbecues and last days of Summer, we thought we would bring back some videos that highlight some less than exemplary members of the workforce.  

Curse-and-slide technique – It's almost impossible to forget the infamous JetBlue flight attendant who gained notoriety in 2010 for his ability to quit in truly spectacular fashion.  Forget giving two-week notice. This guy cursed out a customer, grabbed a beer and slid down the emergency chute.

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Filed under: Air travel • Gotta Watch • Holidays • Labor • Travel • U.S.
Gotta Watch: Scene stealers
A precocious kid makes faces behind an unsuspecting Kareen Wynter as she reports on Kim Kardashian’s wedding outside the venue.
August 23rd, 2011
11:37 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Scene stealers

The video of a child trying to hijack a CNN correspondent's report got us thinking. What other scene stealers are there? You've gotta watch how these children and animals take center stage - sometimes unintentionally.
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Filed under: Ahead of the curve • Holidays
Fourth of July to be smaller in Texas
Team USA softball players watch fireworks last year in Fort Worth, Texas, which is going ahead with its show this year.
June 30th, 2011
02:40 PM ET

Fourth of July to be smaller in Texas

The stars at night are still big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas, but you might have to search a bit to spot skyrockets among them this Fourth of July weekend.

Many cities and towns have canceled their Independence Day fireworks shows as the state endures a devastating drought. Authorities have prohibited open burning in 236 (or 93%) of the state's 254 counties.

"There's always risk involved, even though it may be minimal risk," said Alan B. Benson, fire chief in The Woodlands Township, located in the Piney Woods about 30 miles north of Houston. "But in this case, we really can't afford a mishap and take a chance on our forest. We're kind of a green community, so we really value that resource."

He decided Monday to cancel the suburb's show for the first time since 1975.

"The level of risk this year is simply not acceptable," Benson said. "We had about three days with approximately 30% chance of rain. Well, it didn't rain, and it's not going to. We believe it was a good decision."

Austin also canceled its display for the first time in 35 years. San Marcos decided to cancel its display Monday, leaving Kyle as the only central Texas city going ahead with fireworks, CNN affiliate KVUE reported.

Many communities have gone even further and banned private fireworks as part of their burn bans. In The Woodlands, violating the ban could mean a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail.

Fireworks seller Chester Davis told the American-Statesman newspaper in Austin that he stands to lose 30% of his business.

He said flashes and explosions are an essential part of celebrating our independence.

"It's what I believe America is all about," he told the Statesman. "It's apple pie, it's Chevrolet, and it's Fourth of July fireworks."

In the past seven days, the Texas Forest Service reports it has responded to 49 fires covering 19,216 acres.

Since fire season started on November 15, the Texas Forest Service and area fire departments have responded to 12,985 fires that have burned 3,268,011 acres, the agency reported.

Benson is holding out hope that significant rain will arrive in The Woodlands soon.

"We are contemplating having a blowout at the end of summer," he said. "Do it on Labor Day."

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Filed under: Fire • Holidays • Texas • Weather
Easter reminder: Kinder Eggs banned in the United States
April 21st, 2011
08:01 PM ET

Easter reminder: Kinder Eggs banned in the United States

Not all eggs are created equal in the eyes of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Kinder Eggs, a popular European chocolate egg that contains a toy inside, is banned from importation into the United States because it contains a "non-nutritive object embedded in it."

With the Easter holiday around the corner, the agency issued the reminder this week, warning that the candy is considered unsafe for children under 3. Last year, Customs and Border Protection seized 25,000 of them in 1,700 incidents.

The hollow egg, which is sold by the Italian confectioner Ferrero, is available in Europe, Canada, Australia and parts of Latin America under various names including Kinder Surprise and Kinder Sorpresa. It has taken on a cult status among adults who collect the toys, which vary from rings to animals and cartoon characters.

Kinder Eggs' scarcity in the United States has made them an object of desire: Various websites and online forums are dedicated to acquiring them.

Some are apparently hiding in plain sight. Earlier this week, DNAinfo.com, a New York City neighborhood guide, posted a story and slideshow showing stores where the coveted treats can be found.

"While there are some commercial-sized seizures that occur, most Kinder Eggs are seized in personal baggage or at mail and express consignment facilities," Customs and Border Protection said.

A Canadian woman reportedly learned her lesson the hard way.

The woman was selected for a random search at a border checkpoint in Minnesota when officials discovered she was carrying a Kinder Egg and took it from her, The Toronto Star reported.

A few weeks later, she received a 7-page letter asking if she wanted the egg back or if she was going to abandon rights to it, the Star reported.

"I was in disbelief," she told the newspaper. "It's a $2 egg."

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Filed under: Food • Holidays • U.S.
Despite rain, satire in full bloom at New Orleans' Fat Tuesday party
March 8th, 2011
09:57 PM ET

Despite rain, satire in full bloom at New Orleans' Fat Tuesday party

Gray skies and a little rain didn't dampen the mood of Fat Tuesday revelry in New Orleans, home to the biggest Mardi Gras celebration in the nation.

Known as a day of excess before the start of the penitential Lenten season - when observant Christians typically fast or give up something in a show of faith - New Orleans' Mardi Gras reached raucous heights this year, owing to its overlap with many colleges' spring breaks and the approach of the anniversary of the BP oil spill the object of ridicule for many maskers.

Sylvia Beyer, 57, of New Orleans led a group of five women in grass skirts and hats with the BP logo, CNN affiliate WSDU reported. On their backs were the slogans, Broken Promises, Brazen Polluters and Bloody Pathetic as they passed out voodoo dolls with a photo of former BP CEO Tony Hayward pasted to each.

Downriver in Grand Isle, Louisiana, the first populated piece of U.S. territory to see oil make land, residents on Sunday took a day off from worrying about the effects of the spill to enjoy a parade, complete with purple, green and gold bead necklaces and fleur-de-lis clappers.

Mayor David Camardelle estimates that Grand Isle is 80 percent back to normal, but still, he admits, tar balls keep washing ashore.

Far from the Gulf shores, Rio de Janeiro marked the end of its four-day carnival on Tuesday with its signature parade, complete with samba, King Kong, an oversized Jesus statue and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. Talk about excess!

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Filed under: Brazil • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Holidays • Louisiana
Longest kiss record: 32 hours and counting
Fourteen couples started the longest-kiss marathon in Pattaya, Thailand.
February 14th, 2011
01:36 PM ET

Longest kiss record: 32 hours and counting

Their lips locked for more than 32 hours, seven couples were still in the running Monday to claim the title of world's longest kiss and $6,500 in prizes.

Fourteen couples began the marathon smooch in Pattaya, Thailand, on Sunday, and seven were still in the running Monday afternoon, The Nation in Bangkok reported.

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On the Radar: Weather, Middle East, Fort Hood, New Year
Spc. Daniel Logrosso of Springfield, Illinois, removes ice from a Humvee windshield Tuesday. About 500 Illinois National Guard members were called out to deal with the snowstorm.
February 3rd, 2011
10:41 AM ET

On the Radar: Weather, Middle East, Fort Hood, New Year

Severe weather

Bitter cold, with some more snow and ice mixed in, will follow the monster storm that dominated much of the country earlier in the week. Wisconsin can expect wind-chill values between 20 and 25 degrees below zero Fahrenheit, and parts of Maine and New Hampshire can expect several inches of new snow, the National Weather Service said. Sleet and freezing rain are expected along the Gulf Coast. All of this is coming as vast areas try to clear streets and restore electricity after the massive storm that brought as much as 2 feet of snow to some locales.

Australians are still feeling the effects of Cyclone Yasi, whose torrential rain and high winds have knocked out power to large portions of the country's northeast.

Middle East protests

Demonstrations continue in Cairo, Egypt, after anti-government protesters held their ground overnight in the capital city's Tahrir Square. Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said Wednesday's attacks on demonstrators would be investigated.

Meanwhile, in Jordan, the main Islamist  group says it plans further street demonstrations Friday in the capital to protest the appointment of a new prime minister by King Abdullah II. The Islamic Action Front, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, has rejected talks with new Prime Minister Marouf al Bakhit, who is forming a new government. But several of its representatives will be meeting the king later Thursday.

And in Yemen, thousands of anti-government protesters gathered near Sanaa University, indicating many in the country were not satisfied with President Ali Abdullah Saleh's recent announcement that he would not seek re-election. About a kilometer away, a large crowd of government supporters gathered for a demonstration.

Fort Hood report

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman and Ranking Member Susan Collins will hold a news conference at noon to release their bipartisan report on the failures of the U.S. government to prevent the November 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood Army Post that killed 13 people and wounded 32 others.

Chinese New Year

Today marks the beginning of year 4709 on the Chinese calendar, the Year of the Rabbit. Celebrations were taking place across Asia.

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Filed under: China • Crime • Egypt • Fort Hood shooting • Holidays • Jordan • National security • Politics • Winter weather • Yemen
How to make New Year's resolutions work
December 31st, 2010
11:37 AM ET

How to make New Year's resolutions work

Psychologist Jeff Gardere tells "American Morning" how best to keep your New Year's resolutions.

"Studies show that people who do set resolutions this time of the year are 10 times more likely to achieve their goals, but these are people who work at it, and that's what's most important."

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Filed under: Holidays • TV-American Morning
On the Radar: Court report, Plains blizzard, dropping objects, bowl games
December 31st, 2010
08:46 AM ET

On the Radar: Court report, Plains blizzard, dropping objects, bowl games

Supreme Court report: The U.S. Supreme Court will release Chief Justice John Roberts' year-end report at 6 p.m. ET.

Roberts may comment on judges' salaries, judicial nominations, security concerns in the courts and other issues.

Weather watch: The Northern Plains will endure blizzard conditions for another day as a powerful upper-level storm moves east from Colorado, the National Weather Service says.

Wind chills of 15 to 30 degrees below zero are likely to put the kibosh on outdoor New Year's Eve celebrations across the Midwest.

Falling objects: As many as 1 million revelers are expected to pack New York's Times Square area for the annual ball drop, but that's not the only place where people will be counting backward and watching things fall at midnight.

Here are some of the planned celebrations:

  • Pineapple drop in Honolulu, Hawaii (pictured above)
  • Dill pickle drop in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Pine cone drop in Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Peep candy drop in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
  • Sausage drop in Elmore, Ohio
  • Walleye drop in Port Clinton, Ohio
  • Hunk of cheese drop in Plymouth, Wisconsin
  • Bologna drop in Lebanon, Pennsylvania
  • Peach drop in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Possum drop in Brasstown, North Carolina
  • Acorn drop in Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Potato chips drop in Lewistown, Pennsylvania
  • Wrench drop in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
  • Snooki drop in Seaside Heights, New Jersey
  • Flea drop in Eastover, North Carolina

Bowl games: The college football bowl season shifts into high gear, with four New Year's Eve games (all times Eastern):

  • Meineke Car Care Bowl: South Florida vs. Clemson, noon
  • Sun Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Miami, 2 p.m.
  • Liberty Bowl: Georgia vs. No. 25 UCF, 3:30 p.m.
  • Chick-fil-A Bowl: No. 20 South Carolina vs. No. 23 Florida State, 7:30 p.m.
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Filed under: College football • Courts • Holidays • On the Radar • Sports • Supreme Court • Times Square • U.S. • Winter weather
Pope's Christmas message urges peace in troubled lands
December 25th, 2010
08:35 AM ET

Pope's Christmas message urges peace in troubled lands

In his traditional Christmas message delivered Saturday to crowds braving winter's chill, Pope Benedict XVI urged peace in the Middle East and asked for God's comfort upon beleaguered Christian communities in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

The annual "To the City and the World address, known in Latin as "Urbi et Orbi," mentioned other global hot spots.

The pope wished for security in places overcome by conflict like Somalia, Sudan's Darfur region, Ivory Coast, Afghanistan and the Korean peninsula and those nations like Haiti that are grappling with the consequences of disease and natural disaster.

"May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence," Benedict said in the speech delivered in 64 languages, from English and Latin to Maori and Maltese.

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Filed under: Holidays • Religion • Vatican
Gotta Watch: Holiday double-take; Haiti quake; $27B museum; 'Conan' redux
December 22nd, 2010
09:52 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Holiday double-take; Haiti quake; $27B museum; 'Conan' redux

Hang in there, guy – This video conjures up images from National Lampoon's "Christmas Vacation." CNN affiliate WPRI shows us one guy's Christmas display that would make even Clark Griswold tremble.

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Filed under: Abu Dhabi • Earthquake • Gotta Watch • Haiti • Holidays • Rhode Island • United Arab Emirates
December 7th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Kettle charity, Pacino's sober decisions, kids get 'Urkeled'

What's in your kettle? There are still quite a few days left in the holiday season, and Salvation Army bell-ringers are receiving generous but unusual donations. A few days ago, it was reported that a rare coin was anonymously placed in a kettle in Dallas, and in Pennsylvania, the organization received a diamond ring and wedding band wrapped in a dollar bill.

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Filed under: Education • Gotta Watch • Holidays • Movies • Pennsylvania • Showbiz • Texas
November 29th, 2010
02:01 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Capt. America, drug-induced water shortage

Not-so-comical mission - There comes a time in every man's life where he comes to a crossroad,  time to calculate a purpose and envision the trail ahead. For one man, the trail was followed for miles and miles in a cheap, store-bought comic book costume and comfortable shoes. A Tennessee man says he's bursting with American pride and has taken to the streets to prove it in a heartfelt, albeit confusing, attempt to raise awareness for homeless veterans.

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Filed under: Agriculture • Drugs • Gotta Watch • Holidays • Tennessee • War • Yemen
November 28th, 2010
11:12 PM ET

Stranger saves Christmas for woman whose gifts were stolen

A Black Friday theft has led to an act of kindness from a stranger, giving true meaning to the phrase "holiday spirit."

Kerry Ann Brown and her friends were the first people to enter a West Palm Beach, Florida, Best Buy electronics store on Black Friday, after camping out since Wednesday, CNN affiliate WPBF reported. She put her merchandise in her car, went to a nearby JC Penney, and when she returned, her car had been broken into and $1,000 worth of merchandise was gone.

Brown told WPBF that among the stolen goods were three computers that she was going to send to relatives in Jamaica.

A small business owner man in New York saw the story on CNN.com and decided to step up.

Alan Howard, who owns Plesser's Appliances in Babylon, New York, said he would replace $1,000 worth of merchanside.

Through WPBF, Howard contacted Brown and told her he wanted to give her a gift certificate.

"I don't have words to comprehend how I'm feeling right now," Brown told Howard in a telephone call Saturday. "I'm awestruck, thank you. I didn't know people were like that in the world."

"There's still some good in the world," Howard said.

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Filed under: Holidays
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