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Huntersville Fire Department/Facebook(HUNTERSVILLE, N.C.) -- What started as a roadside weed growing out of a cone has blossomed into a community effort raising thousands for charity this Christmas.

The Cone Weed has become a sensation in Huntersville, North Carolina, after someone anonymously decorated the weed for the holidays.

The Huntersville Fire Department has been sending updates about the saga of the Cone Weed, which have gone viral on social media, as the holiday spirited plant continued to grow.

“Two weeks ago it was suddenly decorated in the spirit of Christmas. We’re calling it magic,” the fire department’s public information officer, Bill Suthard, told ABC News. “It was the magic of the season. It had Christmas lights on it, it had a timer to come on at 7:30 at night and would go off in the morning. It had ornaments.”

Once the community got wind of the festively decorated weed, he said, “It exploded.”

“Someone put a tree skirt around it, someone hung a ‘Merry Christmas’ sign around it, news networks were hanging their own ornaments on there and it became this fun thing,” said Suthard.

The weed has been growing since March after the specific spot it was growing on wasn’t mowed for months due to the cone blocking it.

“It started to die towards the end of the summer, and we may or may not have nursed it back to life,” Suthard said with a laugh. “Everybody in the community was already calling it Cone Weed. All the kids in the school buses going by had named it Cone Weed.”

Brian Blackmore, a local graphic designer, noticed the weed’s newfound holiday spirit on social media and made Cone Weed T-shirts for people to purchase.

“I thought I might sell 20 shirts. That was my goal, but this weed has rallied people around it,” Blackmore, who said he’s donating all proceeds to a charity, HopeMatch.org, told ABC News.

They’ve now sold more than 950 shirts and raised more than $14,000 for families in need during the holidays.

But Monday, Cone Weed mysteriously went missing. After much investigation and ruckus on social media, Suthard found out the state Department of Transportation removed Cone Weed for being “so close to the road.”

“The state road crew that stole the cone, they’re all feeling pretty bad about it. They just didn’t know,” said Suthard. “They tracked it back to a DOT repair yard and brought it back. We got 100 percent of the decorations back, but the weed is now dead.”

Although the physical weed is now gone, Cone Weed will live on forever. The cone and decorations are proudly on display at the fire station to continue spreading Christmas cheer all season long.

“It’s overwhelming. It’s probably the best Christmas of my life,” Suthard told ABC News of the power Cone Weed has had on their community. “I’m being made fun of quite a bit in the fire service. They’re all calling me cone boy. But it’s worth it. I make sure they understand we’re raising money for over 100 families and then they don’t make fun of me anymore. It’s hitting everybody.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- During the peak of Black Friday shopping madness, a glitch in Macy's credit card system caused registers at the retailer's stores to stop working.

At the Macy's in downtown Chicago, one salesclerk had to enter credit card numbers manually. Most purchases, appeared to go smoothly, however, and lines at the registers did not appear to have more than five to six people queued.

"It is taking longer than usual to process some credit and gift cards in our stores, but we have added additional associates to the floor [who] are working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible," said Andrea Schwartz, vice president of media relations for Macy's.

The cause of the issue was not immediately clear and it was not known how long the problem would last.

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Loganair(ORKNEY, Scotland) -- One beloved teddy bear got left behind by his best friend and had to travel a great distance to be reunited with his owner.

Donna, who asked ABC News not to use her last name, was traveling on Monday with her 4-year-old daughter Summer back to their hometown of Orkney, Scotland, from Edinburgh Airport in the country's capital.

The mother said the two didn't realize "Teddy," as he is lovingly known, was left behind until they sat down on the plane.

"I panicked and called the cabin crew guy over, who said he'd [likely] be at security," she added, noting that while going through airport security it was "really crazy."

"It must've fallen off of something," Donna said.

Donna said they didn't have time to go back to security to look for Teddy. Instead, when she touched down in Orkney, she tried recovering Teddy, whom Summer has had as a best friend since she was born.

"As soon as I landed, I was frantically calling everywhere trying to get through to anyone," Donna recalled. "But I wasn't getting anywhere with the airport."

So the mother took to Facebook, posting a plea in a local group for help with locating Teddy. That's where Loganair cabin crew member Kirsty Walter heard about the incident, offering to help.

Walter was able to locate Teddy and personally flew him back Wednesday to Orkney herself to reunite him with Summer.

"Whenever our team was made aware of the 'grizzly' situation, we knew there could be pandemonium if we didn’t help," Loganair's Commercial Director Kay Ryan told ABC News in a statement. "Our cabin crew team quickly tracked down the bear and arranged for him to be on the next service up to Orkney. It was wonderful to see Teddy back in the company of Summer and we’re pleased to have played a role. Loganair prides itself on bringing everyone, including Teddy, home for Christmas."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump will head to Capitol Hill Tuesday to meet with Senate Republicans at their weekly policy luncheon, ahead of an expected vote on tax reform this week.

“We look forward to welcoming President Trump to the Senate again next Tuesday,” the chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., announced in a statement today.

“This is a historic opportunity for our conference and the president to build on our momentum to give Americans the tax relief they’ve been waiting for,” he said.

Trump and Senate Republicans are also expected to discuss other fall legislative items. Congress is currently facing a Dec. 8 deadline to fund the government.

Tuesday will mark the president's second visit to the Hill in two weeks. Last Thursday, Trump traveled to the Capitol to rally House Republicans ahead of their tax vote on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act..

On Tuesday, Trump is scheduled to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

The GOP tax measure will be the big ticket item in the Senate next week. Trump is eager to sign a tax bill by Christmas, and McConnell plans on bringing the bill to the Senate floor when members return from the Thanksgiving holiday. Any measure that passes the Senate would need to be reconciled with the House version.

It's still unclear whether Republicans have the votes to pass the GOP tax package in the Senate. Assuming all Democrats oppose the tax measure, Senate Republicans can only afford to lose two votes.

Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson came out against the House and Senate versions of the tax reform bill last Wednesday. Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Jeff Flake of Arizona, John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Bob Corker of Tennessee have yet to say whether they'll support the measure.

Murkowski said she supports repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — a key provision in the Senate Republican tax bill — but she withheld a full endorsement of the tax package. Sen. Collins said in an interview on ABC News' This Week that she wants to see revisions to the plan.

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Marco Longari - Pool/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Paralympic athlete and convicted killer Oscar Pistorius will spend the next 13 years and five months behind bars after the South African Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) lengthened his jail sentence from six years to the maximum penalty.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) turned to the SCA earlier this month to appeal the sentence handed down by the High Court in Pretoria.

The former Paralympic gold medalist and Olympic competitor shot and killed his girlfriend model Reeva Steenkamp in the overnight hours of Valentine's Day in 2013.

Pistorius argued he shot Steenkamp, just 29 at the time of her death, through a bathroom door thinking she was an intruder.

The Supreme Court of Appeal said based on the evidence, it finds it difficult to believe that the man nicknamed the "Blade Runner" is genuinely remorseful about Steenkamp’s death. The SCA ordered that Pistorius receive the maximum possible sentence in this case of 15 years, however, it did take into account the time Pistorius has already served.

The double amputee’s brother Carl said he was “shattered‚ heartbroken‚ gutted” by the Supreme Court of Appeal’s ruling in a post on Twitter Friday morning, shortly after the SCA handed down its judgment.

Pistorius, who turned 31 behind bars this week, could potentially be out of jail for his 40th birthday if he is granted parole, but Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo says it’s not a given that will happen.

“We will have to look at court papers and only once he has served the minimum of the total sentence, will he be considered [for parole],” Nxumalo said.

The disgraced athlete was originally convicted of culpable homicide -- similar to the U.S. judicial definition of manslaughter -- in the Pretoria High Court in 2014. However, the SCA upgraded his conviction to murder after the NPA appealed.

The matter was referred back to the court in Pretoria, which sentenced him to six years for the murder of Steenkamp. The NPA again turned to the Appeals Court, saying the sentence was "shockingly inappropriate."

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iStock/Thinkstock(HERVEY BAY, Australia) -- A seriously ill Australian woman's wish to see the ocean came true when the ambulance transporting her to the hospital took a detour to allow her to look out upon the water at least one more time.

The moment was captured in a photograph and shared on Facebook by the Queensland Ambulance Service. The picture shows a paramedic standing next to a stretcher parked under a tree, facing the ocean.

"A crew were transporting a patient to the palliative care unit of the local hospital and the patient expressed that she just wished she could be at the beach again," reads the caption of the post. "Above and beyond, the crew took a small diversion to the awesome beach at Hervey Bay to give the patient this opportunity -- tears were shed and the patient felt very happy."

"Sometimes it is not the drugs/training/skills -- sometimes all you need is empathy to make a difference!" it concludes, noting that the story was relayed by Helen Donaldson, the officer-in-charge of the ambulance service in the city of Hervey Bay, on Australia's east coast.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Facebook post had been shared over 15,000 times and generated over 3,500 comments.

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Film Independent Spirit Awards(NEW YORK) -- If you're looking to get a jump on films most like to take home some trophies this awards season, you can start with Call Me by Your Name. The movie leads the Film Independent Spirit Award nominations this year with six nods, including Best Feature, Best Actor for its breakout star Timothée Chalamet and Best Supporting Actor for Armie Hammer.  It opens Friday.

Following close behind with five nods apiece are Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson, and Jordan Peele’s Get Out.

Greta Gerwig's directorial debut Lady Bird and the cowboy drama The Rider scored four nominations each.

The Spirit Awards, which honor the best in independent film, will take place on March 3 -- the day before the Oscars. It airs on IFC.

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