Local Leads: 12/24/2009

News you need to know

By Carlos Martinez
|  Thursday, Dec 24, 2009  |  Updated 2:16 PM EDT
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Local Leads: Bethlehem, Shopping, Missing Girl

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The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

Pilgrims Crowd Bethlehem on Warm Christmas Eve

Thousands of Christians crowded into Bethlehem on an unseasonably warm Thursday evening, before celebrating Christmas midnight mass in the Church of the Nativity at the birthplace of Jesus. While much of North America and Europe shivers in the grip of winter, visitors to Bethlehem were buying chilled fruit juice in Manger Square and stripping off sweaters in the mild weather. (Reuters, Washington Post)

Search for Missing Girl

A registered sex offender has been charged with kidnapping an 11-year-old Salisbury, Md., girl who was apparently taken from her bedroom Tuesday night, authorities said.  A massive search is underway for Sarah Haley Foxwell, who was last seen by family wearing fuzzy red pajama bottoms with Christmas trees on them and a pink John Deere T-shirt. (Washington Post)

Last Chance Shopping

Last-minute shoppers have plenty of opportunities today to finish holiday shopping, with most stores open until 6 p.m. "We're open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.," said Christina Steinbrenner, Francis Scott Key Mall's group marketing director. "And Santa will be here from 9 to 5." Mall shoppers have preferred traditional items this year, such as clothing, accessories, books and candles; electronic items such as global positioning systems have been popular as well, she said. (Frederick News Post)

Holiday Display Goes Green

The new flashing, 36-foot-tall Christmas tree at the heart of an annual light display in Upper Marlboro isn't the only "green" change to the event this year.  Organizers of the Festival of Lights — a 2.5-mile-long drive-through display of holiday scenes at Watkins Regional Park — have replaced nearly all of the more than 1 million individual lights making up the 643 displays with energy-efficient bulbs. (Gazette)

Orphanages' Santa are Blessed in Return

Every December, the memories come back of the the time long ago when a military couple, far from home, coped with the loss of their baby by making Christmas special for orphans. As the decades passed and the photos faded, the Chiltons of Caroline County never knew how their generosity affected children who needed it most. Likewise, the youngsters from the frozen tundra of Newfoundland had no way to thank the Americans who had made their Christmas merry so many seasons ago--until an Internet connection brought the two groups together. (Fredericksburg.com)

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