HOUSTON HOTEL DISPLAYS HALF-TON CHOCOLATE SANTA: HOUSTON (AP) - Santa Claus has come to town in Houston and he's sweeter than your average holiday fellow.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A suicidal gunman opened fire at a Reno hospital campus Tuesday, killing one person, wounding two others and sending police on a door-to-door search within the facility amid the chaos.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - President Barack Obama sent Russia a clear message about its treatment of gays and lesbians with who he is - and isn't - sending to represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics.
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - North Texas prosecutors are trying a second time to imprison a teen who was sentenced last week to 10 years' probation for drunkenly driving his truck into four pedestrians, killing them all.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Year-end legislation to ease Congress' chronic budget brinkmanship and soften across-the-board spending cuts moved to the cusp of final passage Tuesday, a rare display of Senate bipartisanship that masked strong Republican complaints about slicing into military retirement benefits.
NEW YORK (AP) - It's the ultimate fantasy: Walk into a store, plunk down a dollar, and with nothing but luck - really extraordinary luck - you win a giant lottery. Suddenly, you're rich as a sultan with enough money to buy an NBA team or your own island.
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A Florida Wal-Mart employee faces charges after officials say he shot a co-worker's car window because she won an employee-of-the-month award.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida school board has decided to end a decades-long controversy and rename a high school now named for a Confederate general and honorary Ku Klux Klan leader that some historical records say ordered the execution of hundreds of black Union soldiers.
MAN TICKETED FOR TRYING TO TRADE GATOR FOR BEER: MIAMI (AP) - Florida wildlife officials say a man tried to trade a live alligator for beer at a Miami convenience store.
NEW YORK (AP) - Gallant guide dog Orlando was just doing his duty.
RENO (AP) - Family members rescued after spending about 48 hours in the frigid wilderness of northern Nevada last week spoke out publicly for the first time Monday, saying they don't think they would've lasted two more days out in the cold.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The hot molten rock beneath Yellowstone National Park is 2 ½ times larger than previously estimated, meaning the park's supervolcano has the potential to erupt with a force about 2,000 times the size of Mount St. Helens, according to a new study.
Congress targets fed workers' pensions
DALLAS (AP) - Good friends like Willie Nelson and Merle haggard got more credit for their contrary ways and trend-setting ideas, but it was Ray Price who set the precedent for change in country music more than a decade earlier.
CARMEL (AP) - Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine, who found stardom playing naive wives in Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion" and "Rebecca" and also was featured in films by Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang and Nicholas Ray, died Sunday. She was 96.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The head of a food services company said officials at Alabama State University threatened to cancel the company's contract after it wouldn't commit to providing thousands of dollars in free catering for the new president's inaugural.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Police in Phoenix rescued a 13-year-old Honduran boy last week who was held captive by suspected smugglers after he crossed into Arizona illegally as an unaccompanied minor.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department plans to open a wide-ranging investigation into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department following the shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb, a person briefed on the matter said Wednesday night.
NEW YORK (AP) - An unlicensed driver accused of killing a 4-year-old while fleeing police last year has again been charged with a crime behind the wheel - this time injuring a police officer while bolting from a weekend traffic stop, authorities said.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A demonstration about the science of tornadoes went awry Wednesday at a Reno museum, leading to a chemical explosion that injured 13 people, most of them children, authorities said.
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has agreed to buy up to $13 million in canned pink salmon to ease a glut that has weighed down prices for Alaska fishermen.
LAWSUIT SETTLED IN BOY'S DEATH AT ALABAMA AIRPORT: BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A settlement over the death of a boy who was hit by a falling flight information sign inside Birmingham's airport was approved Wednesday, and the family said they had forgiven the contractors involved.
ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) - The lawyer for a Mississippi man who was declared dead two decades ago, only to resurface as a murder suspect, does not deny that her client killed his girlfriend and her daughter, but she said Wednesday that he's being tried in the wrong court.
VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A graphic designer on a biking trip from Maryland to Miami was stabbed to death by a homeless man outside a Florida McDonald's while he spoke on the phone with his girlfriend, authorities said.
STARBUCKS SORRY FOR NOT SERVING WOMAN WITH DOG: ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Starbucks has apologized to a 24-year-old woman who said she wasn't allowed in a Rochester-area store because she had a service dog.
PHOENIX (AP) - An attorney for the parents of a 9-year-old girl who accidentally killed an Arizona shooting range instructor with an Uzi said Tuesday the family is devastated by the tragedy that occurred on a brief excursion during a vacation.
CHICAGO (AP) - Removing both breasts to treat cancer affecting only one side doesn't boost survival chances for most women, compared with surgery that removes just the tumor, a large study suggests. The results raise concerns about riskier, potentially unnecessary operations that increasing numbers of women are choosing.
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - A Princeton University employee and marijuana legalization activist who said he was told to choose between his job and using medical marijuana is on paid leave as the university works to figure out accommodations for his disability.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Thirty teens "overwhelmed" their minders at a juvenile detention center by simultaneously breaking out of four dormitories and then crawling under a weak spot in a chain-link fence. By Tuesday evening, seven were still on the run.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - A groom became "handsy" with a pregnant waitress at his wedding reception and tried to pour alcohol down her throat, then resisted arrest after getting into a fight with her boyfriend, police said.