Nation briefs for December 26


Surfers dressed as Santa gather in central Florida

COCOA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — More than 210 surfers dressed as Santa Claus, elves and snowmen were surfing the Christmas Eve waves off central Florida’s Atlantic coast.

Florida Today reported when Cocoa Beach Mayor Dave Netterstrom took in the view from the sand Tuesday, he declared the fourth-annual gathering “the largest surfing Santa event on the planet.”

Organizer George Trosset said he might move the holiday event to downtown Cocoa Beach next year to accommodate growing crowds. He started the tradition in 2009 with a few family members after seeing a television commercial featuring people surfing in Santa Claus attire.

More friends joined them the following year, and in 2012, nearly 160 surfers participated. Trosset said the event “has gone from being a little family party to being a community event.”

Capitol’s historic dome set for 2-year renovation

WASHINGTON (AP) — A world-famous symbol of democracy is going under cover, as workers start a two-year, $60 million renovation of the U.S. Capitol dome.

Curved rows of scaffolds will encircle it next spring, enabling contractors to strip multiple layers of paint and repair more than 1,000 cracks and broken pieces. The dome will remain illuminated at night and partly visible through the scaffolding and paint-capturing cloths. But the Washington icon — and portions of the Rotunda’s painted ceiling that lies below — will be significantly obscured for many months.

This first major renovation in more than 50 years should add decades of structural integrity to the dome. Much of the work will be done at night and on weekends. It won’t be as flashy as the 1993 helicopter removal and return of the 19-foot Statue of Freedom from the dome’s top.

Santa delayed after snags at UPS, FedEx

NEW YORK (AP) — Santa’s sleigh didn’t make it in time for Christmas for some this year because of shipping problems at UPS and FedEx.

The delays were blamed on poor weather earlier this week in parts of the country as well as overloaded systems. The holiday shopping period this year was shorter than usual, more buying was done online and Americans’ tendency to wait until the last second to shop probably didn’t help either. Neither company said how many packages were delayed but noted it was a small share of overall holiday shipments.

 

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