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Ugly Christmas Tree

Residents look on duing the Christmas tree lighting in Reading, Pa., on Friday, Nov. 21, 2014. Reading's spindly 50-foot spruce drew the ire of residents who said it was ruining their holiday spirit. Now a group led by the city council president is raising money to buy and decorate a more impressive replacement.

‘Ugly’ Christmas tree prompts public outcry from residents

READING, Pa. — A Christmas tree that might make Charlie Brown think twice is getting kicked to the curb a little early after residents complained it was too ugly.

Reading’s spindly 50-foot spruce drew the ire of residents who said it was ruining their holiday spirit.

Now a group led by the city council president is raising money to buy and decorate a more impressive replacement. The current tree is topped with a lighted pretzel, a nod to the area’s many bakeries.

The puny pine was a last-minute stand-in taken from a city park. The city had planned to get its tree from a farm, but the owner wouldn’t let the crews drive on the wet ground when they went to pick it up.

Officials are hoping to have a do-over tree lighting ceremony this coming weekend.

Company denies man lost his job over Playgirl spread

HARTFORD, Conn. — A company that helps businesses handle personnel issues denies it forced one if its Connecticut employees out of his job after it was discovered he’d posed nude in Playgirl magazine.

Durham resident Daniel Sawka filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last year against Roseland, New Jersey-based ADP Inc. alleging sexual harassment. The company responded two weeks ago.

Sawka worked as a sales manager. He says he was subjected to jokes and ridicule at work after at least one co-worker discovered he’d posed nude in the 1990s in a lumberjack-themed spread for Playgirl and found the photos online. He says the conditions became so intolerable he was forced to leave the job in 2011. He’s seeking damages for lost pay.

The company says in its response it “exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct promptly any alleged harassing behavior.”

Police: Thief hid chain saw in pants

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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Police say a Florida man stole a chain saw by sticking it down his pants.

Surveillance video from Treasure Coast Lawn Equipment in Port St. Lucie showed the man putting the tool worth more than $600 down his pants on Oct. 28.

Police told Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers that Anthony Ballard had come in asking for $1 worth of change.

Police say employees chased Ballard, who ditched the tool in a wooded lot. The employees called 911 when they saw Ballard return to look for it.

Ballard told police he stole the tool but had a change of heart and wanted to return it.

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