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Start planning now for military holiday shipping deadlines

The calendar hasn’t turned to October yet, but the time is now to start planning for this holiday shipping season, especially if you’re sending anything to the members of the military serving overseas.

>> Read more trending news 

The USPS and the military mail rooms have come out with a guide to getting those Christmas and other holiday gifts to service members in time for the big day, Military Times reported.

These deadlines are for mail handled by the USPS: 

  • USPS Retail Ground Mail (or Standard Post): Nov. 6
  • Space Available Mail (SAM): Nov. 27
  • Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL): Dec. 4
  • First Class and Priority Mail (letters, cards and packages): Dec. 11
    • One exception is contingency ZIP 093: Dec 4.
  • Priority Mail Express Military Service: Dec 16 (not available for ZIP 093)
  • Domestic Mail (not APO/FPO) to sailors on ships and bases in the U.S.: 
    • First Class Dec. 19
    • Priority Mail, Dec. 20
    • Priority Express Mail: Dec. 22

If the items are needed by the start of Hanukkah on Dec. 12, then make each deadline 13 days earlier. 

For more on the USPS’s efforts with the military mail delivery, click here.

Town to ban teens aged 16 and older from trick-or-treating

The quintessential art of knocking on a door and receiving gobs of sugar-laden treats on Halloween has a mandatory age limit in one Canadian town. 

>> Read more trending news 

At the ripe old age of 16, teenagers in Bathurst, New Brunswick, are banned from trick-or-treating, and other trick-or-treaters must wrap up their candy collecting by 8 p.m., according to the proposed law. 

According to CBC News, town officials are expected to pass the bylaw on a third reading in early October. Those caught with a “facial disguise” (aka a Halloween mask) after 8 p.m., or those ages 16 or older appearing to be on the haunt for treats, would be fined up to $200 under the regulation.

Kim Chamberlain, deputy of the northern New Brunswick community, said in a recent CBC interview the law goes too far.

"I wanted to demolish it altogether, but I got outvoted," Chamberlain said. "My cousin's son is 5'4" and 15 years old. What are we going to do? Go up to him and ask him 'How old are you?' and 'show me your ID?’ That doesn't make sense."

Chamberlain called it an overreach for city council members to impose rules on a holiday like Halloween, pointing out that homeowners can turn out their porch lights if they don't want trick-or-treaters past a certain hour.

She wasn’t alone in that sentiment.

How will the city enforce it?

There likely won’t be any city officials on the lookout for older teenagers come Halloween, said Bathurst city spokesman Luc Foulem. When an earlier version of the bylaw was approved in 2005, there were no fines issued, Foulem told CBC. The hope is that the law will just cut down on Halloween-night mischief.

The candy-coated Halloween debate begs the question: Is there an age limit on trick-or-treating?

Border patrol Halloween costume has people upset, reacting on social media

Every year, there seem to be costumes that spark outrage. Halloween 2017 is no different, as a costume that will “transform” the wearer into a supposed border patrol agent is starting to shake up social media, People magazine is reporting.

Spirit Halloween Superstores are promoting a green shirt that has the name tape “Agent Wall” and “Border Patrol” on the chest. There’s an accessory baseball hat to go with the “uniform” that has “Border Patrol” embroidered in large gold letters. The shirt is sold out online. The hat, which sells for $9.99, is still in stock.

>> Read more trending news 

The online store includes the description, “Keep the border safe today, tomorrow and on Halloween! Let everyone know that you mean business with this border patrol work shirt!”

Consumers are posting to their social media accounts sharing their outrage over the costume.

Spirit Halloween told People that it doesn’t plan to pull the costume from store shelves, adding that it was created “with the intent of being ironic in the current political climate.”

Spirit, telling Mashable, said, “We believe this costume carries similar sentiments akin to that of a police officer, military costumes, firefighter, doctor and more.”

Immigration arrests have been increasing this year, Mashable reportedThe Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division announced that between Jan 22 and April 29, 2017, that arrests had increased almost 40 percent  when compared to the same period in 2016.

Hanging noose Halloween display a painful reminder of lynching in America, neighbor says

Halloween decorations featuring a body hanging from a noose startled neighbors in a Marietta, Georgia, community. The display includes tombstones, witches and skeletons, in addition to what appears to be a man with a hood over his head, with hands and feet tied, swinging from a rope.

>> Watch the news report here

"I just feel like Halloween is not an excuse to use that kind of symbolism," said one neighbor, who wanted to remain anonymous.

She said she noticed the display Monday while going for a walk on Caribou Place. She said she was horrified by the display, took a picture and shared it. She told WSB-TV that she wanted to start a conversation about why the display is a painful reminded of lynching in America.

>> Read more trending news

"What's even scarier is people are going to ask, 'Well, did you go up and ask them?'" she said. "I felt scared to go to their front door because I don't know what kind of people live in that household."

WSB-TV's Carl Willis went to the home with the neighbor's concerns. A man who answered the door said it was his roommate who strung up the display. He took Willis' information, but no one responded.

Several neighbors said they didn't find a problem with the imagery. That troubled the concerned neighbor even more. 

>> ‘This is Halloween decoration, not dead body,’ police warn public

"This is 2017. We need to change it, and if that is your typical Halloween decoration, then it's absolutely not OK," she said. "It was not OK when we did it back in the day, and it's not OK now."

As it turns out, the people who simulated a man being hanged from a tree may have received that message. When Willis returned to the home to follow up, the display had been taken down.

"To be quite honest with you, it's very scary that people think that's acceptable," said the neighbor.

Barack Obama’s birthday is now a holiday in Illinois

To celebrate former President Barack Obama’s 56th birthday, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner officially named the day a holiday in Illinois as a gift to Obama.

>> Read more trending news

All it took was Rauner’s signature to officially name Aug. 4 Obama Day, a day to celebrate, reflect and honor the Chicago-based former president. Ending his political career as 44th president of the United States, Obama’s rise in politics began when he was elected Illinois state senator, which led to his election in the U.S. Senate.

RELATED: Former President Obama unveiled plans for his future presidential center in Chicago

With the new holiday in place some Chicagoans may wonder about work and school closings, but life will continue on as normal on Obama Day, according to NBC Chicago. The day of honor will not get Chicagoans a day off of work or school, but it will still be there to remind them of the accomplishments made by the former president.

While Rauner’s original plan was to make the day a legal holiday, this was halted by his concerns for the economic impact it could have on the state at a time when lawmakers are struggling to pay a $15 billion backlog of bills, according to DNAinfo.

"It's incredibly proud for Illinois that the president came from Illinois. I think it's awesome, and I think we should celebrate it," Rauner said back in February. "I don't think it should be a formal holiday with paid, forced time off, but I think it should be a day of acknowledgment and celebration."

Supporters of Obama embraced the day, taking to social media with the hashtag #ObamaDay to post some of their favorite memories of the Obama term and to wish the former president a happy birthday.

World Emoji Day: Fun symbols celebrated with contests, tributes

Emoji fans, today's your day.

Tourist attractions, businesses and social-media users around the globe Monday are celebrating the fourth annual World Emoji Day, a tribute to everyone's favorite fun symbols.

>> Read more trending news

Is an emoji worth 1,000 words? Maybe not, but the smiley faces and other colorful icons have become a popular form of self-expression.

Officially, there are currently 2,666 emojis, according to the BBC.

>> Click here or scroll down for more

Woman loses fingers trying to set off fireworks

A Massachusetts woman lost several fingers while trying to set off fireworks in Wakefield on Tuesday night. 

>> Read more trending news

Police responded around 10:15 p.m. to a playground near the Wakefield Common. Officers said the woman, in her 50s, was trying to set off powerful M-100 fireworks when she lost her fingers. 

"This is the second straight year that someone has been seriously hurt while using fireworks illegally," Chief Rick Smith said. "The town goes to great lengths to put on an organized fireworks display, so there is absolutely no excuse for putting yourself and others in harm's way by setting fireworks off on your own."

No one else was injured.

>> Related: Man loses several fingers in Fourth of July fireworks explosion

A similar accident was reported Tuesday night in Quincy, about 20 miles south of Wakefield. Police said a man's hand was partially amputated when a firework exploded as he attempted to light it.

Fireworks show canceled after debris sparks brush fire

Officials in Pennsylvania were forced to cut short a Fourth of July fireworks show Tuesday after falling debris apparently sparked a brush fire, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The fireworks show was presented by Hersheypark, one of Pennsylvania’s best-known amusement parks. The show started at 10:15 p.m. but was stopped and later canceled after the fire started around 10:30 p.m., according to the Hershey Fire Department.

Hersheypark officials apologized in a social media post Tuesday night.

"We believe that the fireworks accidentally set off the fire," Hershey fire Capt. Dennis Thompson told PennLive.com.

The fire burned less than two acres before it was brought under control, about 25 minutes after it was sparked, PennLive.com reported.

No injuries were reported.

Donald Trump supporters upset after NPR tweets quotes from Declaration of Independence

A Fourth of July celebration by public radio stirred up an online controversy over the holiday.

>> Read more trending news

NPR, on its program “Morning Edition,” has traditionally celebrated Independence Day by having its reporters, newscasters, commentators and hosts read the Declaration of Independence, one of the most important documents in the history of the United States.

>> Related: Ancestry finds, interviews descendants of the Founding Fathers

But when NPR tweeted the entirety of the Declaration of Independence line by line, some supporters of President Donald Trump mistook the act’s intention and meaning. They did not seem to be aware that the tweets were taken from the Declaration, nor that reading from the document was NPR’s holiday tradition.

RELATED: On the Fourth of July, Arnold Schwarzenegger thanks the U.S.A. for making his “impossible dream a reality”

Presumably, some of the president’s uninformed supporters on Twitter believed that NPR was showing political bias and purposefully riling the right by criticizing Trump.

One such Twitter user shot back at NPR, saying, “@NPR this is why you're going to get defunded,” in reference to Trump’s budget.

The Declaration of Independence was originally written by Thomas Jefferson and was adopted by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It laid out the 13 colonies’ intention to separate from the Kingdom of Britain and form an independent union. It is not generally considered a partisan document.

However, tweets continued to pour in.

One woman suggested NPR’s account had been hacked, while another Twitter user told NPR, “Please stop. This is not the right place.” Another user told NPR, “Please be chill.”

“NPR is calling for revolution,” one user wrote. “Interesting way to condone the violence while trying to sound ‘patriotic.’ Your implications are clear.”

American history doesn’t seem to be a well-known topic on Twitter.

10 ways to enjoy Fourth of July fireworks safely

With the national fireworks holiday here, it’s a good time to review safety guidelines that will keep everyone safe and enjoying the show.

>> Read more trending news

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep water nearby

When you light fireworks, you are literally playing with fire. Keep a bucket of water, a fire extinguisher or a working hose within easy reach just in case your clothes, the pile of dry leaves you didn’t notice, or any other flammable object gets one too many sparks.

2. Don’t let children use fireworks unattended

Children and fireworks are both miniature explosives, so putting them together is a bad idea. Even seemingly harmless sparklers can burn tiny hands and arms. If it’s hot enough to melt metal, it’s hot enough to burn your child.

3. Designate an official lighter

Choose one responsible adult to light the fuses. You avoid potential accidents with only one person in charge.

It should go without saying, but the designated lighter should not be under the influence. Alcohol, fire, and explosions are not a good mix.

RELATED: Celebrating independence with fireworks: An American tradition since 1777

4. If it’s a dud, it’s still dangerous

A dud can still explode even after it appears to have gone out. Your best bet is to soak it with water and leave it alone for at least 20 minutes.

In the case of bottle rockets that don’t ignite, DO NOT look into the opening. People have reportedly died from fireworks to the eye while making that exact move.

5. Fireworks are not throwing toys

It sounds like a story that starts with “Hold my beer and watch this,” but every year there are stories of injuries caused by people throwing fireworks.

Would you want someone throwing a lit cherry bomb at you? No, so don’t play around, even in a joking manner, with any fireworks.

6. Keep a safe space

What kind of fireworks you are using will determine how far is a safe distance for onlookers. In most cases, a distance of about 20 feet will work, but practice good judgment. Larger explosions require more distance.

7. Wear safety glasses

Safety glasses can save your eyes when sparks shoot around and jumping jacks fly into the air.

While it might not be possible for everyone to have safety glasses, the lighter should definitely have them.

8. Obey the law

Another somewhat self-explanatory tip, but obey the local laws when using fireworks. It is easy for stray fireworks to end up on a neighbor’s roof or to hit a passing car.

Check your local ordinances to find out what rules your town or city has for personal fireworks.

RELATED: Which fireworks cause the most injuries?

9. Listen to fire safety reports

If there’s a drought, it’s not a good idea to blast off fireworks. Dry leaves, trees, and grass can easily ignite if a spark from a firework lands in the right place. If those dry leaves are on the roof of your house or a neighbor’s house, you could have a fireworks display that will ruin your day.

If your local fire department prohibits fireworks until after a good rain, listen to them.

10. Only buy legal fireworks

Don’t buy explosives from an unknown vendor.

Legal consumer fireworks will have labels and instructions on them. If they don’t, then they are either for professionals or manufactured illegally. In either case, those aren’t the fireworks you want to set off around your friends and family.

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