The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

December 25, 2012

Volunteers track Santa's progress, answer calls

(Continued)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo —

"Are there police elves?" said another.

"How much to adopt one of Santa's reindeer?"

____

INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: NORAD got calls from 220 countries and territories last year, and non-English-speakers called this year as well.

Volunteers who speak other languages get green Santa hats and a placard listing their languages so organizers can find them quickly.

"Need a Spanish speaker!" one organizer called as he rushed out of one of three phone rooms.

___

HE KNOWS WHEN YOU'RE AWAKE: At NORAD's suggestion, volunteers often tell callers that Santa won't drop off the presents until all the kids in the home are asleep.

"Ohhhhhhh," said an 8-year-old from Illinois, as if trying to digest a brand-new fact.

"I'm going to be asleep by 4 o'clock," said a child from Virginia.

"Thank you so much for that information," said a grateful mom from Michigan.

___

CHRISTMAS EVE IN AFGHANISTAN: Five U.S. service personnel answered calls from Afghanistan for about 90 minutes through a conferencing hookup.

"They had a great time," said Novobilski, the program spokeswoman.

NORAD wanted to set up a call center in Afghanistan but that proved too complex, she said.

___

HEY, MR. ELF: "Mr. Elf," said one caller, "This is Adam, and I've been really good this year."

___

FOR GEARHEADS: For people who want to know the specs of Santa's sleigh, NORAD offers a trove of tidbits, including:

Weight at takeoff: 75,000 GD (gumdrops).

Propulsion: 9 RP (reindeer power).

Fuel: Hay, oats and carrots (for reindeer).

Emissions: Classified.

___

Online:

Track Santa online at http://www.noradsanta.org/

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