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School Could Use the 3 Wise Men

December 15, 1987|SHIRLEY MARLOW

--Pupils at a Colorado elementary school decided their Christmas tree was for the birds. At first, the 12-foot evergreen was put in the cafeteria at Nederland Elementary School. But Principal Don Hanson said he was afraid the tree's size, twinkling lights and prominent spot made it look too much like a religious symbol. So the students decided to move the tree outside and decorate it with bird feeders. Hanson said he talked to students, parents and staff about the tree. Hanson said he decided that the school needed to "go back to the drawing board and find another way to put up a tree or do something with a tree that would be construed as less offensive or non-offensive to all people."

--Eastern Airlines officials provided a shuttle service from Boston to Santa Claus' home for about 70 children, many of them cancer patients. "We'd like to welcome you to our flight to the North Pole," boomed Capt. Michael Donovan over the intercom. Plans had called for a simulated flight, but organizers decided to make the trip more realistic by spending time in the air over the Boston area. After the hourlong flight, the children met Santa and received presents at an airport terminal decked out in holiday finery. Members of the Eastern Airlines Silverliners, a charitable organization of former and current flight attendants, said chapters in 34 other cities plan similar fantasy flights for young cancer patients. "Just the thought of getting on the plane made her excited," said Michelle Joiner of her 4-year-old daughter, Nica. "I don't think she'll ever forget it."

--Former Sen. Margaret Chase Smith had lots of company as she celebrated her 90th birthday in Augusta, Me. Former Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie, Sens. George J. Mitchell and William S. Cohen and Gov. John R. McKernan Jr. were among the 500 people at a reception that raised funds for the Margaret Chase Smith Library Center in her hometown of Skowhegan. President Reagan and several senators sent roses to Smith, whose trademark during her years in Washington as a congresswoman and senator was a rose pinned to her blouse. Vice President George Bush, in a videotaped message, called Smith "one of the most respected leaders of the Republican Party this century." The reception was the culmination of several days of honors. On Sunday, more than 500 people attended a concert in Skowhegan for Smith. On Friday, the U.S. Senate approved a $5-million endowment for the Smith library. McKernan proclaimed Monday, her birthday, as Margaret Chase Smith Day.

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