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Lucky foods for a great new year: Pork and kraut big in Central PA

December 30, 2015 Pigs root forward to look for food, while chickens scratch backward and cows just stand there. Sauerkraut comes from cabbage, which starts out the color of green. more »»

‘Force Awakens’ rakes in $1 billion

December 29, 2015 LOS ANGELES — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has reached $1 billion at the box office, achieving the milestone with record-setting hyper speed. The Walt Disney Co. more »»

Study says kids’ asthma rates quiet down after earlier increase

December 29, 2015 CHICAGO — Asthma rates in U.S. children have quieted down after a decades-long increase, a government study found, and researchers are trying to pinpoint reasons that would explain the trend. more »»

Sacha Baron Cohen, wife fund help for victims

December 29, 2015 NEW YORK (AP) — Actors Sacha Baron Cohen and his wife, Isla Fisher, are donating $1 million to Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee to support victims of the conflict in Syria. more »»

Brightest star in the galaxy: Associated Press names ‘Star Wars’ as entertainer of the year

December 26, 2015 LOS ANGELE — “Star Wars” isn’t just strong. It’s unstoppable. The revival of the nearly 40-year-old space saga has already dominated the box office and toy shelves. more »»

Trump, Williams, Jenner top list of year’s most eye-popping TV

December 26, 2015 NEW YORK — It’s been a year of shifting sands in late night. A year of broken trust in two vastly different TV personalities. And a year when presidential debates became must-see T. more »»

A garden journal can be an important, multi-use tool

December 26, 2015 Santa Claus left behind a beautiful garden journal. The cream-colored pages have a deckle edge, and the thought of writing on those unmarked pages makes my hands sweat. more »»

Christmas customs: Holiday traditions vary from person to person, near and far

December 24, 2015 In some Caribbean communities, a priest sends altar boys into the street banging on pots and pans to keep people awake for the midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. more »»

Leftover makeover: Be safe, creative with your Christmas scraps

December 23, 2015 When clearing the table on Christmas Day, you might be tempted to kick back and relax, but failing to properly store any leftovers could give someone a bug later. more »»

Choir changes minds and lives: Penn State music professor recognized for work with Essence of Joy choral group

December 20, 2015 Anthony Leach was a graduate student at Penn State University 25 years ago when he was asked to put together a music program for a Martin Luther King Jr. event on the University Park campus. more »»

Readers can submit obituaries for pets

December 20, 2015 The Mirror publishes obituaries of pets on Mondays. The Mirror pet obituary desk is staffed weekdays by Linda Richards at 946-7441. Obituaries can be emailed to petobits@altoonamirro. more »»

Earth Matters: Awareness can help convert environmental ‘humbugs’

December 19, 2015 Humbug! Only the most hardcore Scrooges would ever seriously utter those infamous words. Christmas, after all, is one of those things that should conjure up warm, happy feelings. more »»

Still holiday shopping? Last minute gift ideas from 3 local businesses

December 17, 2015 Candy and flowers may sound like Valentine’s Day, but they could also serve as last-minute Christmas gifts, along with some other easy-to-pick-up choices at local stores, said area retailers. more »»

Meringue cookie gets a kick from adding chai

December 17, 2015 Editor’s note: This is the eighth of 12 cookies of Christmas recipes. We love warming spices around the holidays, which is one of the reasons we love to sip hot chai this time of yea. more »»

A family feast: Italian-Americans celebrate season with fish dishes on Christmas Eve

December 16, 2015 You don’t have to have seven different kinds of seafood, and you don’t have to have seven different entrees. more »»

Caramel popcorn a nice holiday gift

December 16, 2015 Every year when I was growing up, my family treked to Papineau Lake, Ontario for our extended family vacation. more »»

Offering help and hope: Bob Perks Cancer Assistance Fund aims to ease financial hardship

December 13, 2015 Most people know a lot about the physical aspects of cancer, but unless they or someone close to them has had it, chances are they don’t know another common side effect — financial hardships. more »»

Grief leads to helping others with cancer

December 13, 2015 When Doreen Perks’ husband, Bob, of State College died at the age of 42 of melanoma, everyone would have understood if she would have devoted all of her time to raising the two little boys he left... more »»

Hometown harmony: Altoona native Sweitzer returns with music show

December 12, 2015 Area native Tom Sweitzer will bring back his show about Altoona to Altoona on Sunday, this time performing it in an area church to benefit a local charity. more »»

Crafting cookies: Kick off the holiday baking season with these tips, tricks

December 9, 2015 No matter how ambitious your holiday cookie baking plans are, chances are good you won’t be cranking out the massive quantities most professional bakers are prepping for this holiday seaso. more »»

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