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National Briefing

Washington, D.C.: Douglas fir delivered to the White House / New York: Church apologizes to Lenape tribe / New York: Bloomberg's win cost $102 million / Ohio: Ex-doctor made pipe bombs, FBI says

November 28, 2009


Douglas fir delivered to the White House

A day after celebrating Thanksgiving, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha received the official White House Christmas tree: an 18 1/2-foot Douglas fir delivered from a farm in Shepherdstown, W.Va., by traditional horse-drawn carriage.

Growers Eric and Gloria Sundback officially presented the tree to the Obamas on Friday.

The 12-foot-wide tree is destined for the oval-shaped Blue Room on the State Floor of the White House, where scores of volunteers will decorate it.

The tree, which the Sundbacks planted in 1996, was hand-picked on Oct. 20 on a visit to the Sundback's farm by retired Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon, the White House chief usher, and Dale Haney, superintendent of the White House grounds.


Church gives tribe an apology

Members of America's oldest Protestant church have apologized -- for the first time -- for the massacre and displacement of Native Americans 400 years ago.

The Collegiate Church, formerly the First Dutch Reform Church, and representatives of the Lenape tribe held a ceremony of reconciliation Friday in New York City.

The ceremony took place near the spot where the church once stood. It was known as the "company church" of Dutch merchants, whose trading post helped develop the city's economy.

The event was called Healing Turtle Island, for the Lenape name for their homeland. The ceremony was held at the start of Broadway, which was an American Indian trail 400 years ago.

The Rev. Robert Chase told the Lenape: "We consumed your resources, dehumanized your people and disregarded your culture."


Bloomberg's win cost $102 million

A finance report shows that New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million to narrowly win election to a third term.

The finance report filed Friday indicates it was the most expensive self-financed campaign in U.S. history.

Bloomberg spent $18.6 million in the final weeks of the campaign through Thursday. He beat challenger William Thompson Jr. by a tighter-than-expected margin of 5 points.

The mayor has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine to be $17.5 billion. He did not take donations, and could spend whatever he wanted as long as he filed expense reports.

Bloomberg's push to overturn the city's term limits law so that he could run again turned off many voters.

His spending broke his own records of $85.1 million in 2005 and $74 million in 2001.


FBI: Ex-doctor made pipe bombs

A former doctor who practiced medicine in Ohio and West Virginia has admitted to making pipe bombs that were part of an arsenal seized at his apartment after two explosions, federal agents say.

An affidavit filed in federal court in Akron said Mark Campano told an FBI agent that he "did indeed" build the pipe bombs found this week at his apartment in Cuyahoga Falls.

Neither Campano nor the FBI agent who talked to him described a motive or possible target in the affidavit, which was filed late Wednesday.

Authorities took Campano into custody after an explosion rocked his apartment complex Monday night.

Police said he was attempting to load shotgun shells when one blew up.

The 56-year-old Campano, a former anesthesiologist, has a history of substance abuse dating to 1987, according to state medical board records.

His Ohio medical license was revoked in 2006.

-- times wire reports

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