MADISON, Wis., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The Wisconsin Legislature must determine whether the 45-foot balsam fir on display in the Capitol is a Christmas tree or a holiday tree.
Since 1985, it has officially been a holiday tree, but one state lawmaker wants it renamed a Christmas tree, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Wednesday.
Rep. Marlin Schneider, D-Wisconsin Rapids, notes the throngs of schoolchildren who visit the statehouse during the holidays call it just that: a Christmas tree.
The Republican-led state Assembly could take up the measure Dec. 11, the last day the chamber meets this year.
Rep. Chuck Benedict, D-Beloit, cast the lone dissenting vote against the bill Tuesday when it was heard in the State Affairs Committee. He said he did not want to offend people who practice religions other than Christianity, the newspaper reported.
"Since we represent those people also, we should be sensitive to their beliefs," Benedict said.
Texas couple celebrates 80th anniversary
PALESTINE, Texas, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Melvin and Minnie Lou Scott enjoy the simple pleasures in life in their Texas town and recently a rare one -- celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary.
At the age of 100 and 99 respectively, Melvin and Minnie Lou may be the oldest married couple in the United States, having celebrated eight decades together last month, the Tyler Morning Telegraph said Tuesday.
While the pair's habits of eating bacon almost every day and doing their own yard work may not be recommended for anyone their age, they do offer some key advice to a lengthy successful marriage.
"If people want to stay married, I guess I would tell them to live right, stay off dope and live a clean life," Minnie Lou said.
Yet Melvin remains dead-set that his active lifestyle and unchanging diet is the key to keeping a marriage going through eight decades.
"We've always worked," he told the newspaper. "We still work. And we eat three meals a day."
Retro look all the rage at California jail
MILPITAS, Calif., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Another California county has opted for a more retro fashion look for its jail inmates.
Nearly 1,200 male and female prisoners in Santa Clara County's Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas are now wearing old-fashioned black-and-white striped uniforms, the San Mercury News reported Wednesday.
Jail officials brought back the historical style because of persistent erroneous reports of escape inmates.
Santa Clara County joins Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito and Stanislaus counties, which made similar changes.
Mark Cursi, a spokesman for the jail in Milpitas, said the orange jumpsuits and green shirts that had been worn by inmates had led to numerous incorrect calls of escaped inmates.
"It is hoped," he told the Mercury News, "that the distinctive horizontal black-and-white striped clothing will reduce the number of erroneous inmate-escape reports."
Secret Santa doles out $20,000
PHOENIX, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- A secret Santa Claus and his band of anonymous elves handed out $20,000 to the needy in Phoenix.
The tradition began nearly three decades ago after Larry Stewart, a Kansas City businessman, started handing out $100 bills after he had made his first million, The Arizona Republic Reported Wednesday.
Stewart died this year, but others have continued his tradition.
Phoenix was the first of five cities that will be visited by a C-note toting Santa this year. When it's all over, about $150,000 will be anonymously given away by the bearded one this holiday season.
"The person who gets it gets some sort of connection," said Santa, who wants to be known only as a Kansas City businessman. "It's not just about the money. It's the act. Somebody cares. For them, it gives them hope."
That's how it was for Sabrina Martinez, who was flipping through clothes at a thrift store, searching for Christmas gifts for her five children, the newspaper reported.
"I was kinda looking for stuff with tags on them, so they look new," Martinez said.
Santa walked up, handed her $300 and disappeared.