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Naughty? Nice? Santa knows

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.

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Merced County jobless rate rises

The unemployment rate in Merced County was 12.3 percent in November, up from a revised 10.4 percent from the previous month, according to numbers released Friday from the Employment Development Department.

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