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Easley lifts reindeer import ban in time for Santa's flight

RALEIGH (AP) -- Gov. Mike Easley has temporarily lifted the ban on importing reindeer into North Carolina and has asked the Federal Aviation Administration to keep the skies clear over the state on Christmas Eve. Easley is keeping with holiday tradition to make sure Santa Claus and his flying reindeer will be able to visit North Carolina to deliver gifts for Christmas. Easley granted a temporary reprieve to flying reindeer beginning on Christmas Eve and lasting through early Christmas morning. North Carolina is one of more than 30 states across the nation that prohibit the import of reindeer, elk, white-tailed deer due to chronic wasting disease, which has been found in some animals in the midwest and west. It has not been found in North Carolina. Easley also contacted the FAA to request that air traffic controllers ensure proper airspace clearance and appropriate flight separations between Santa's sleigh and other flying objects. (Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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