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Local Veterans Day events planned

There are a wide variety of Veterans Day events scheduled around the county Monday:

Patrick Henry Local Schools will host its annual Veterans Day assembly starting with a free breakfast for any veteran and their family from 8:15-9 a.m. in the cafeteria. The assembly will start at 9 a.m. in the high school gymnasium.

Napoleon Elementary School is hosting a Veterans Day program for community veterans and their spouses at 9 a.m. in the gymnasium.

Holgate Local Schools will host a Veterans Day lunch at 11 a.m.

Liberty Center Local Schools will host a Veterans Day assembly in the varsity gym at 2 p.m. Light refreshments will be available for veterans beginning at 1:15 p.m. in the cafeteria.

The Apostolic Christian Center in Napoleon will host a brief ceremony at 2 p.m. to honor all veterans and their spouses, with a free meal to follow.

Symphony of Trees returns for 19th year

WHAT: The 19th Annual Symphony of Trees.

WHEN: Events begin Wednesday, Nov. 13 and run through Sunday, Nov. 17. See schedule below.

WHERE: The Armory Arts and Events Center in Napoleon.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: Wednesday: A Christmas De-light, featuring children’s crafts, 3-7 p.m. Children 4-8 years old will be invited to take part in traditional activities. Also during this time, the public is welcome to view the trees and decorations.

Thursday: Public viewing open from 9 a.m.-noon. From noon-2 p.m. will be the Victorian tea, which requires reservations and a $25 donation. Tea, refreshments, seasonal music and a raffle will all be part of the program. Raffles and music will be part of the high tea festivities. From 5-7 p.m. will be the volunteer recognition and Henry County Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event, featuring a cash bar. The auction area, Sweet Shop and gift shop will also be open the entire day.

Friday: A community luncheon will be held from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Participants can dine among the trees and a $5 donation is suggested. The Tunes in the Trees event will be from 7 p.m.-midnight, featuring teams of eight people competing in music trivia in Name that Tune style. Reservations are required and cost $40 per person. The auction area, Sweet Shop and gift shop will also be open the entire day.

Saturday: Public viewing is open from 9-11 a.m., including viewing of decorated tables for the Tapestry of Tables, which runs 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations of $30 are required to take part in the dining during the Tapestry of Tables, which will also feature live and silent auctions. The Symphony Gala will run 6 p.m.-midnight. Reservations of $75 per person are required. The Gala features dinner and dancing. Pop’s Garage will provide the entertainment and features a member from the Liberty Center area.

Sunday: Jingle Bell Jam and Sunday Brunch runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., featuring live entertainment from local groups, brunch and a visit from Santa Claus. Reservations are suggested, but not required, but there will be a cost of $15 per adult and $10 per child 12 and under. Presale tickets for adults is $13. Public viewing and silent auction will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The silent auctions will also be closed. The Children’s Pajama Party will run from 3-4:30 p.m. and has a “Toy Story” theme. Cost is $10 per person. The gift shop will close at 3:30 p.m.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Money raised from the five-day event is donated to local agencies that help children in need, including the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, Northwest Ohio CASA and Henry County Hospital. These services, which were provided to more than 3,000 children in 2018, include sexual abuse and domestic violence therapy, domestic violence shelter for victims and children, parenting education, portable breastfeeding pod at community events, recruitment and training of volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and pediatric supplies for rehab services.

As of this spring, Symphony of Trees went over the $1 million mark in local donations.

While the fundraising is serious business, this year’s chair, Pam Thompson, said the myriad of events provide a good time for people of all interests.

“You walk in and if you weren’t in the mood for Christmas and the holiday before you walked in, the minute you see the lights and the trees, it just lifts your spirits,” Thompson said.

Thompson pointed out the event features trees of all shapes and sizes for sale through silent and live auctions, but some of the created trees have special emotional value.

“The Center for Child and Family Advocacy treats children who have been sexually abused, and they do children’s trees as part of their therapy and healing,” Thompson said. “Children decorate those and you can buy chances for raffles on those, but the most powerful part are the stories. Each tree has a story, and it brings tears to your eyes and joy to your heart. That really is the meaning of what we do.”

Thompson said while some of the events have charges, there are several viewings open to the public and anyone can bid in the auctions.

“The majority of our money made through the event is from the auctions, so we hope people will come in and view them and bid, and bid and bid,” Thompson said.

Prizes up for auction include a Tiny Town Tavern Tour, in which a group will be transported to the different taverns in Henry County towns, receive a free drink and a gift certificate. Another prize is a stay at a Mexican resort.

This year’s overall them is “When You Wish Upon A Star,” and Thompson said that was chosen as the group is wishing to hit the $2 million mark in donations in the future.

“There’s something for everybody, kids and adults, and it’s a lot of fun,” Thompson said.

She also credited the generosity of the community for the event’s success and longevity.

On the web: For a listing of events and to make reservations, visit symphonyoftrees.com.

White House adding aides to deal with impeachment inquiry

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is beefing up its communications staff as it tries to grapple with the ongoing House impeachment investigation.

Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesman, are expected to join the White House communications team to work on “proactive impeachment messaging” and other special projects, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal staffing, said that the roles would be temporary and that Bondi and Sayegh would be working as special government employees.

The announcement comes as the impeachment inquiry enters a new, public phase. Earlier Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff announced that the first round of public, televised hearings will begin next Wednesday. Meanwhile, transcripts of closed-door interviews already conducted with top administration officials are being released.

The White House has been torn over how best to respond to the quickly moving investigation as they try to defend a president who has always believed that he is his best spokesman.

Some outside allies and some inside the White House have been pushing for a more coordinated response, with some suggesting the West Wing should set up a formal impeachment “war room” like the one former President Bill Clinton used during his impeachment proceedings.

But others have argued that such a move would be unnecessary and wrongly signal that the White House sees the investigation as an existential threat. While the White House believes that Democrats may have enough votes to impeach Trump in the House, which the party controls, they do not believe there are enough votes in the Republican-majority Senate to ultimately convict him and remove him from office.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway confirmed last week that the White House was considering bringing on additional staff focused on impeachment.

“I think if this is something intense, but single-focused, albeit temporary, there’s an argument for bringing in a few extra hands and minds onto the team,” she said, comparing the plan then under consideration to the efforts to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and to pass the Republican tax cut plan.

Still, she stressed that any effort would be limited.

“The president’s made very clear we don’t need a war room,” she said.

The first round of public testimony will come from a trio of officials: Top Ukraine diplomat William Taylor, career diplomat George Kent and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. All three have previously testified behind closed doors.

Democrats are investigating Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and whether his requests for investigations into Democratic political rivals as the U.S. was withholding military aid from the country constitute an abuse of power.