PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Christmas controversy has surfaced at the Unity Shopping Plaza in Latrobe, Westmoreland County.

The Salvation Army was contacted today, after a business owner in the plaza complained that he was annoyed by the constant ringing of the brass bell by a Salvation Army volunteer in front of the nearby Big Lots Store.

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The volunteer, Terri Derck, put the familiar bell away, and instead, either rang a miniature bell, or sang Christmas Carols instead.

Derck told KDKA-TV’s Ralph Iannotti, “Instead of ringing the traditional bell, because we don’t want to offend certain people in the area, we’re using a much smaller bell, making a smaller impact.”

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Shopper Shannon Smith of Latrobe reacted to the news, saying “I can’t believe it, the bell is just a long tradition.”

Lt. Andrew Spooner, of the Salvation Army-Latrobe Corps, says they’ll have eight red kettles operating in the Latrobe area in the next few weeks.

They hope to raise $65,000 for needy families and children in the area.

Spooner hopes to talk to the business owner who complained about the bell ringing tomorrow, to resolve differences.

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