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Bloomington Tree Display To Benefit K-9 Cops

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) – In the season where hundreds of homes are decorated with holiday displays, there’s one residence in Bloomington that always draws a crowd.

An oak tree in Bob Little’s yard shines bright every year, attracting spectators from all over.

In the light of day, an old oak tree may not inspire the holiday spirit.

“There isn’t Santa Clauses moving, and things spinning, and red this and green that,” Little said.

But he knows his towering tree, just south of the Mall of America along Highway 77, will bring in the Christmas crowd.

“There’s between 200-800 people a night in our driveway,” he said.

Nearly 40,000 lights are wrapped from root to branch. When the sun goes down, the tree’s glow can be seen for miles.

“It’s our Christmas card to the world. Peace on earth,” he said. “It makes our Christmas. I don’t know about everybody else, but it certainly makes ours.”

Hard to believe that, but four months ago, Bob wondered if the oak would be standing during the holiday.

“It was just big clumps of lights and wires down, and everything pulled apart,” he said.

He still finds remnants of a storm on Aug. 6, which brought down 10,000 lights, pieces of which are still embedded in the driveway asphalt.

It’s damage that could have derailed an opportunity to help.

“Each year we try to do something,” Little said.

An upcoming donation drive will go to bring new K-9 officers to the Bloomington Police Department. According to Deputy Chief Vic Poyer, Little has many friends at the department, and has worked closely with officers as a former business owner.

“He’s a big supporter of the police department, and he knows that we’re going to be replacing two dogs in the next year,” Poyer said. “And he wants to make a donation to make that transition a little easier for us.”

K-9 officers can cost thousands of dollars after training, but are an important addition to any department, according to Poyer.

“They help us find people, catch criminals,” he said. “Great tool for us.”

The donation drive is planned for the second weekend in December.

In the past, the fundraiser has helped the Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and a local food shelf.

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