As Christmas draws near, parents want to make sure their children get a chance to sit on Santa’s lap and tell that jolly old fellow just what they want this year. That keeps Santa at the Merced Mall pretty busy these days, as he makes his list and checks it twice while children take turns confiding in him their Christmas wishes. Of course, no trip to Santa’s mall village would be complete without a few questions about whether each wide-eyed tot had been naughty or nice this year. But those questions, if asked at all, are more of a formality than a behavior test. After all, it’s Christmas and talking with Santa is meant to be fun, even if it is a little scary for some. It’s also a photo op for anxious parents just hoping to capture a special holiday moment, because before long he’ll be gone – until next year.
At least four swastikas have been painted on Atwater streets over the past two weeks, leading some to believe it’s a response to the civil protests galvanized by the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, two unarmed black men killed by white police officers.