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Nativity lights go up in Damar

By MIKE CORN

mcorn@dailynews.net

DAMAR -- By popular demand, Loren Newell anxiously turned on the lights for the Nativity scene outside the historic and scenic St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Never mind the sun still was shining, Newell was quick to show a passing resident what the display looked like with the lights on.

"I like that," a woman driving by said of the display.

"I put it up every year," he said. "I have for about five years now."

Newell is the caretaker of the church and the nearby rectory, which houses the church priest.

He's also no stranger to the church.

"I was baptized there, and I'll probably be buried there," he said. "I was married there."

And he used to ring the bell -- with a rope.

Church members were called on to ring the bell with the rope, he said, from 1948 through 1982.

"Then we put it on electronic," Newell said.