Some teachers, administrators wear too many hats

by Peg Pellerin

There are times when some folks wear too many hats and usually it’s not because they want to but because they are so good at what they do that they’re handed yet another hat to wear. Those handing over those hats forget that they can give someone many hats to wear but the individual has only one head.

There is no better example of this than in a school during the COVID-19 pandemic. I happen to be working in a hybrid school system where we have Cohort 1 and Cohort 2 days that alternate. Our teachers must make up lessons for both Cohorts as well as work for home on the days the students are not in school….plus homework for the days they are in school. We’re in week four of the school year and some parents as well as their children still haven’t figured out what they need to do even though everything is written out for them….plus the fact that the teacher(s) email, text and make phone calls, while they are preparing for the next set.

You know that part of getting an extra hat to wear because you’re good at what you do, well a teacher I work with was given an extra hat, today, to conduct a training in the near future on a Monday afternoon. She still has all her hair except for a few patches. Now I know what was between her fingers.

Another hat is remote teaching while also doing in-building teaching. No they aren’t done at the same time but at different times. More on this later.

Teachers also have duties such as conducting students coming from buses and parent drop offs to the designated areas (breakfast or classrooms), recess, hall monitoring, lunch, dismissal dividing the students for buses and parent pickups. Because of the pandemic, these have to be conducted at different entrances in the morning and exits in the afternoon in order to keep students social distancing.

Those teachers who are lucky enough to have an Ed. Tech. get a little help by having them assist with copying, putting learning packets together, laminating, assisting teachers while they are remote teaching by working with the in-building students or we put the extra hat and do the remote teaching after the teacher has given us the curriculum we are to perform with the students remaining home. Oh, yes, we also have the same duties as the teachers….plus, we check on teachers in our pods/wings to see if they need a BR break. When I see a teacher doing a little dance while teaching in front of the classroom, I know she is not entertaining the students. I get a “thank you so much” as she steps out of the room for a couple of minutes.

Teachers and Ed. Techs are not the only ones who wear several hats. The vice principal wore a custodial hat a couple of weeks ago and continues to do so whenever a custodian is out for the day/evening. There is so much that is asked of the custodians in a normal situation but now they must also sanitize every desk, chair, cafeteria tables, door knobs, railings, and anything else that someone’s hands may lay on. So, when one of the custodians is out for some reason or another, the vice principal steps in and helps the other custodians to complete this task along with other custodial services.

Both of our principal and vice principal also make several rounds per day, checking on the hand sanitizing stations to make sure they are full and if the custodian can’t get to it in a timely manner because they are too busy doing other building maintenance, they fill the stations up for them.

I’m sure I must be forgetting some type of hat worn by someone or someones within the building but I can tell you they don’t stop, barely have a chance to get a breather and put their students ahead of themselves. I don’t have to look at comic books, graphic novels or movies to see heroes, I see them every day at school.

Submitted by Debbie Walker

Film center marks domestic violence awareness month

The Maine Film Center continues its new virtual series, “Cinema in Conversation,” where filmmakers, film experts, policymakers, and journalists from around the world converge on Zoom to discuss important films with the community.

The next event in the “Cinema in Conversation” series will take place on Sunday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m., and will be led by filmmakers Anna-Sophia Richards and Astrid Schäfer (IN MY SKIN), and founder/president of Finding Our Voices Patrisha McLean (producer, “Women in Windows”). Both films address the issue of domestic violence and will bring Domestic Violence Awareness Month into focus. To view the films and register for the discussion, visit RailroadSquareCinema.com. The screening cost is $10 for both films, and proceeds will be split with the filmmakers.

Made in Germany, IN MY SKIN (72 minutes) asks, “Why do women stay in violent relationships even when they have been abused for a long time?” The film chronicles the experiences of the daily lives of three women with different backgrounds as the camera takes on their point of view. We hear their thoughts and suffer with them as they struggle to become more independent and break free. Based on true events, all voice-over texts were taken from interviews with the portrayed women.

WOMEN IN WINDOWS (7 minutes) is a portrait of domestic violence in our own Maine community. As COVID-19 took hold, domestic violence started to spike. The non-profit Finding Our Voices responded with “Women in Windows”: a campaign of huge (2′ x 4′) banners in the windows of 70 downtown businesses in Midcoast Maine, each featuring one of 25 Maine Survivors of domestic abuse, a nod to the abuse and the woman’s transcendence of it, and the local domestic violence hotline phone number: Getting word to women trapped more than ever with angry and controlling family members: “You are not alone” and “There is help out there.” Award-winning film director Daniel Quintanilla captures and preserves this campaign, now touring the state, in this seven-minute film that has a woman taking in the actual words of the actual women in a drive through town, inspiring her own coming out of the darkness and into the light.

A slate of discussions over the coming months will consider a wide range of films: LA LLORONA (dir. Jayro Bustamante, 2019), BIG NIGHT (dir. Stanley Tucci, 1996), and CODED BIAS (dir. Shalini Kantayya, 2020). Each discussion will be led by either the filmmaker or a film expert.

Life Scout presents schools with 13 benches

Principal Kim Silsby, left, and Stephen Labbe stand with one of Stephen’s benches. (contributed photo)

Stephen Labbe (contributed photo)

The Eagle Scout project is considered to be the most challenging part of Scouting. What is the purpose of the Eagle Project? To give the Scout an opportunity to “plan, develop, and give leadership to others,” as noted in the requirement. Eagle Scout projects are evaluated on the benefit to the organization being served and on the leadership provided by the candidate. There must also be evidence of organized planning and development. During these Covid-19 times, many schools are finding it useful to have as many classrooms and activities outside. Stephen Labbe led five adults and two Scouts to construct 13 benchtables for the Cony Middle and High schools. He graduated in the Spring and wanted to give back to his alma mater. Students and teachers have already put the bench tables to use. “Students will enjoy these benches for years to come!” Cony posted on their Facebook page.

The project was the final requirement needed and once approved, Stephen will come before an Eagle Scout Board of Review to evaluate his Scouting career.

From Madawaska to Kittery: Journey of two cyclists

Steve Ball, left, and John Benziger, prepare to begin their journey as they depart the Inn at Acadia, in Madawaska. (photo courtesy of Steve Ball)

by Steve Ball

After plans to cycle across the U.S., from Maine to Washington, were scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic, John Benziger and I decided to stay in Maine and tackle a safer, Maine challenge: riding our bicycles from Madawaska to Kittery.

As an introduction, Benziger and I have been riding in the local area regularly for some time. We ride through China, Windsor, Vassalboro, Jefferson, Whitefield, Albion, and bordering towns, hugging the shoulders of the roads and dressed in our yellow safety gear. You may have seen us and the many other riders who are increasingly populating the roads. The long-distance travel limitations presented by the pandemic only intensified the itch to get out locally more often.

We arrived in Mada­waska in the mid-afternoon of August 16. What a wonderful town. It lies comfortably along the St. John River and overlooks Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada. The streets are wide, either to accommodate the snow plowed from the streets or wood mill traffic running in and out of town. Everyone we met was charming and happy to greet us, even as we were all peering over our masks. We had a fortunate accidental run-in with Judy Paradis, Madawaska’s long-serving legislator to the State House and Senate. She educated us on the Acadian spirit that runs deep within the people of the region. It was from her that we learned that nuns from France played a big role in settling Madawaska and that the town of St. Agatha is only pronounced one way, and that is “Saint Agatt”.

Our trip started early Monday morning, riding south on Rte.1 with every intention to make it to Caribou. I had heard that Aroostook County was hilly, but I was beginning to doubt the description as we rode south along the St. John River Valley. It was a very scenic and relatively easy ride until we hit Van Buren and took a right headed toward Caribou. Leaving the St. John River Valley we headed inland and abruptly upland, ascending the hills we had heard so much about.

The scenery was breathtaking, though I wasn’t so sure if my breath was taken away by the terrific, colorful and expansive views of agriculture and nature, or by the nearly constant extreme elevation gain we were trying determinedly to overcome. In either case, we conquered the hills and enjoyed every bit of Aroostook County’s natural beauty. We made it to Caribou and Russell’s Motel as planned.

I must add here that time and again throughout the journey we were impressed with the effort and cleanliness of each hotel or motel we stayed in. To run a hotel, inn or motel in these difficult and uncertain times is almost mind-bogglingly difficult; yet at each establishment in which we stopped, the owners or managers appeared intent on doing what they could to make our stay with them safe. We felt as safe as we could expect to feel given the circumstances.

John Benziger, left, and Steve Ball, take a break along the St. John River, during their trek. (photo courtesy of Steve Ball)

We woke up to a downpour on Tuesday, our second day. We had no reasonable alternative but to head out and ride. We headed for Presque Isle with hopes the rain would let up as we moved south. By the time we hit Presque Isle there was no sign of the rain easing up so we stopped for an extended breakfast and drying out in the Governor’s Restaurant, on Main Street. We were able to get our bikes somewhat out of the rain and enjoyed a nice meal and warm hospitality.

On our way to Mars Hill we enjoyed riding through our solar system. In a mock-up put together by the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the planets are arranged along Rte. 1 in distances relative to the actual distance from each other in space. For instance, the Sun is in Presque Isle, the Earth is about one mile from the sun and Pluto is in Houlton, over 40 miles away. If you have not traveled on this part of Rte. 1, I recommend it. It would be fascinating for anyone interested in astronomy, space and the planets.

Our first real glitch occurred waking up in Houlton to news that there was a COVID-19 outbreak in Millinocket. This was not anything we had planned for and, since our next night’s reservation was in East Millinocket, we were in for an interesting day. We needed to change our plans, but where does one stay in this part of Maine? We needed to ride on and try to arrange for a new reservation somewhere a safe distance from Millinocket. During our periodic stops, we were unable to access the internet on our phones. There apparently is not a robust cell tower network in such towns as Smyrna Mills, Island Falls, or Monarda along Rte. 2. We had success in Mattawamkeag! It was late in the afternoon when we finally were able to search for available rooms. We found a room in Lincoln. The added distance from our original plan was a bit of a challenge, but well worth the effort. After 81 miles we arrived at a safe and warm room in the White Tail Inn, in downtown Lincoln.

Our next day’s ride was shortened given our added distance the day before, and we were not unhappy with that. We arrived in Orono about midday and relaxed in our room in the University Inn. We had time to do a very necessary load of laundry and rest our legs and bikes.

The following morning we met Bob Bennett, a friend and local China-area rider, with his bike. Bennett joined us for our ride to Belfast. We rode through Bangor and followed the Penobscot River down to Stockton Springs and Rte. 1. Whew, the extreme hills were behind us and from here on out we would generally hug the coast all the way to Kittery. Bennett departed from us in Belfast and headed for home.

We headed south on Rte. 1. If the usual number of summer vacationers had been driving the famed tourist route, our ride from Belfast to Brunswick might have been more challenging. John Williams, a dear friend and avid cyclist, joined us for this leg of the journey. It was a wonderful ride with very nice late-summer weather and wonderful views of coastal Maine.

Steve and John approach their destination as they peddle along Rte. 1, near Old Orchard Beach. (photo courtesy of Steve Ball)

After a good night’s sleep we headed for Portland. It was not a terribly long ride, roughly 30 miles. This was going to be a particularly good day as we were meeting up with our wives, Mary and Allane, to spend the night together before we headed for our last day of the trip. The wives had arranged for a room and we were looking forward to a comfortable meal together and a relaxing evening.

The last day of the journey was exceptional. We departed Portland fairly early to make sure we arrived in Kittery with enough time to have a good meal, pack up and get ready to head back home. We left Rte. 1 in Cape Neddick and turned East toward the ocean along Rte. 1A into York Beach and Rte. 103 to Kittery Point and Kittery. What a fabulous route. The smell of the ocean, the views of the harbors and coves and the gentle rolling hills made for one our best days on the journey.

We ended the trip having logged 430.02 miles and were in the saddle pedaling nearly 39 hours. As disappointed as we were that our original plans for a grand trip across the country had to be scrapped, this journey was truly a highlight, exceeding all of our expectations. Across all parts of the state, from northern agricultural to mid-state industrial to coastal fishing, Maine is indeed a one-of-a-kind state, full of amazing people and breathtaking scenery.

Editor’s note: That coast-to-coast trek is still on the radar.

Whitefield Lions to donate art supplies

Poster contest winners from 2019. (Contributed photo)

The Whitefield Lions Club will be donating to the local school’s art departments this fall. Due to Covid-19 the WLC was not able to conduct their annual Peace Poster Contest held every October. Every year each of the schools which include Windsor, Jefferson, Whitefield and Chelsea Elementary participates in the contest through their art department. The selected winners come to the club house with their parents and display their art work. A winner is chosen to go on to the district competition. Since the Lion’s Club was not able to hold its competition, they agreed they would contribute to each of the schools art departments hoping to resume the Peace Poster Contest next year.

Fall foliage report: Peak conditions occurring in most of Maine

This week’s Fall Foliage Report from the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry (DACF) reports peak and slightly beyond peak conditions for this upcoming weekend in northern, western, and central Maine. Coastal and southern regions are displaying moderate color changes (less than 50 percent color change).

Typically, northern Maine (zones 6 and 7) reach peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. The rest of the state’s color progression will start from north to south in early to-mid-October.

“The lack of rain this summer and the early widespread frost jumpstarted the progression of foliage colors this season,” noted Gale Ross, DACF’s fall foliage coordinator. “Color is still emerging daily in portions of southern and coastal regions of Maine beyond this week and into October. But remember, it has been the shorter sunny days, followed by the cool nights of autumn that brought about the brilliant colors being displayed this week. It’s Mother Nature’s way of protecting and putting her trees to bed for the long winter months ahead.”

This weekend, take in the quickly progressing foliage from Sunday River’s Chondola scenic lift rides, or for coastal explorers, Camden Snow Bowl’s chairlift rides. Maine Craft Weekend, an annual statewide tour, will take place on October 3 and 4, with safety measures and changes to the typical weekend format. Check the website to learn about Maine-made crafts and support local artists and craftspeople.

For those looking for a fun virtual experience, the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival has been reimagined this year as a virtual event and a month-long ‘WHOOPtoberfest’ celebration.

For this week’s fall adventure, make your way to Maine’s Kennebec Valley for a relaxed leaf-peeping tour. Begin in Solon and wind your way to the Canadian border along the 78-mile Old Canada Road Scenic Byway. Pack a picnic for a stop at Robbins Hill for panoramic views of the valley, and don’t miss the Moxie Falls Scenic Area in The Forks, where you have the chance to enjoy the changing leaves on foot with a two-mile hike to the 92-foot vertical drop of the falls. Adventure seekers can still feel the thrill of whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River, a great way to experience fall foliage from the water for a few more weeks. And for leisure peepers, enjoy the fairytale-like trail system of Vaughan Woods in historic Hallowell.

During these unusual times, please be safe while exploring Maine this fall. For travel and visitor information as it relates to COVID-19, go to visitmaine.com/travel-with-care.

Autumn enthusiasts can visit the state’s official foliage website at www.mainefoliage.com to sign up to receive weekly reports by email and are encouraged to share foliage images from regions throughout Maine as the progression of color unfolds. Be sure to tag your pictures with @mainefoliage on Instagram and use #MaineFoliage. The Maine Foliage Facebook page also includes safe ways to enjoy fall this year. For more information about visiting Maine safely this fall, visit maine.gov/covid19.

Autumn enthusiasts can visit the state’s official foliage website at www.mainefoliage.com.

Efficiency Maine parking and pole lighting saves energy at outdoor locations

Maine businesses are improving the energy efficiency of their outdoor lighting using incentives from Efficiency Maine. So far, more than 30 projects in public and outdoor spaces are receiving funding through the Parking and Pole Lighting Retrofit Initiative. The initiative was inspired by a desire to provide job opportunities for electrical contractors and supply houses during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 since many outdoor lighting projects could be completed with limited physical interaction between customers and contractors.

The goal of the initiative is to offer enhanced incentives to accelerate the conversion to efficient LED lighting in Maine’s public and outdoor places. For many businesses and organizations this was an opportunity to maximize energy savings, and reduce area glare and overlighting (which may benefit neighboring property owners). The limited-time offer opened on April 14, 2020, and has been extended to Sept. 30, 2020, to give more businesses time to participate. Interested businesses can get more information about the Parking and Pole Lighting Retrofit Funding Opportunity Notice (FON) at the Efficiency Maine website.

“We are keenly interested in supporting projects that will sustain jobs during the pandemic,” said Michael Stoddard, executive director of the Efficiency Maine Trust. “Upgrading lighting in outdoor spaces seems like a safe place to do that.”

Eligible lighting projects include building exterior-mounted lights, walkways, parking lots, and street lighting (not utility-pole-mounted fixtures).

The opportunity is one that John Daigle, owner of Old Orchard Beach Campground, couldn’t pass up. Daigle, whose family has owned the campgrounds for 46 years, already had a project under way to replace the recreational area’s pool, which needed lighting. His electrician suggested he bundle that upgrade with one to address the campground entrance and registration area. The new LED lights will result in an estimated savings of 8,594 kWh, or more than $1,200 in the first year.

“Our electrician has been working with us for more than 30 years,” Daigle explained. “He suggested we combine the two projects and apply for the Efficiency Maine incentives. The rebates really sealed the deal for me. We’re very pleased with the results. In many instances, people are arriving to the campground at night and this new, warmer lighting helps them see our entrance more easily from the road and keeps the area well lit for safety.”

“With these grants, businesses across Maine are upgrading their outdoor lighting, leading to lower energy usage and reduced costs,” said Dan Burgess, director of the Governor’s Energy Office. “This initiative further highlights how clean energy and energy efficiency can create jobs and stimulate Maine’s economy.”

Larger companies with several locations, such as Wendy’s, Hannaford, and LL Bean also are participating in the program. Wendy’s locations in Biddeford, Portland, Saco, Sanford, Scarborough, and Windham will upgrade exterior lighting that will save an estimated 150,000 kWh or more than $22,000 in the first year. Hannaford locations in Rumford, Madison, Waldoboro, and Houlton will see a more than 35,000 kWh and $5,300 combined estimated savings in the first year. And LL Bean’s Freeport and Brunswick locations will see a combined more than 185,000 kWh and $24,000 estimated first-year savings.

Efficiency Maine’s Commercial and Industrial Prescriptive Program, which funded the Parking and Pole Lighting Retrofit initiative, offers fixed incentives to reduce the cost of projects and to improve energy efficiency for businesses, municipalities, schools and higher education facilities, manufacturing and other industrial facilities, other non-residential facilities, and multifamily and condominium buildings with five or more units. Incentives for the initiative are calculated based on the amount of electricity saved by each project in the first year and are subject to a cap of 85% of the total project cost.

To learn more about the Efficiency Maine Prescriptive Program and how to maximize its benefits visit https://www.efficiencymaine.com/at-work/ci-prescriptive-incentive-program/.

Save money on your shipping costs

(NAPSI)—Your company can get money from a surprising source: the Post Office.

That’s because the U.S. Postal Service now has a program that gives credits to registered businesses that use Click-N-Ship® services. As of August 1, 2020, businesses can earn these credits when they buy Priority Mail® and Priority Mail Express® products. The credits can then be used toward future purchases of the products, using Click-N-Ship.

How It Works.

  • Registered business users of Click-N-Ship services will be automatically enrolled and automatically accrue the credits.
  • Companies that are already registered get a $40 credit for every $500 spent on Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express products using Click-N-Ship.
  • New Click-N-Ship users earn an additional $40 for the first $500 they spend.
  • Once earned, credits are added to the connected USPS.com account within 30 days.
  • Credits expire one year from the date of issuance.

Make Your Money Go Even Further.

More good news from the USPS: Starting January 2021, the Postal Service will help your business grow faster by adding tiers to the USPS® Loyalty Program. Your tier will be based on your qualifying shipping totals from the previous year. A higher tier means a larger benefit.

Learn More.

For further facts on how the USPS Loyalty Program can pay off for you, visit usps.com/loyalty.

Are you ready for ranked-choice voting?

An example of ranked choice voting.

To mark the ballot for your first-choice candidate – the person who you would most like to see win the office – simply fill in the oval next to their name in the “1st Choice” column. If you wish to rank some or all of the remaining candidates in order of your preference, you may do so, or you can choose to vote for only your first choice. To mark a candidate as your second choice, fill in the oval next to their name in the “2nd Choice” column, and so on.

You can find additional resources and details about ranked-choice voting on the Department of the Secretary of State RCV Resources page, http://maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/upcoming/rcv.html.

Source: Maine Department of the Secretary of State, September 2020.

Kringleville 2020: The Magic like no other season

Santa and Mrs. Claus

A message from Mrs. Claus to our Kringleville, Maine, USA, friends. Santa has been watching the greater Waterville area with great focus to help your 2020 season have more nice than naughty during this unprecedented season. You have pulled together in your Christmas-spirited community to ensure that local businesses and neighbors are making it through these uncertain times.

Santa and I will be coming to town this season! However, things will be a little different. We will travel from the North Pole and quarantine for 14 days, and while our Kringleville Christmas cabin will be seen in Castonguay Square, the heartbeat of your downtown, you will not be standing in line for one – three hours in the cold this season. Instead, we are going virtual for your health and safety. What does this mean?

Friends of Kringleville will reserve time slots for virtual live chats with Santa and Mrs. Claus. These virtual time slots will be Saturdays and Sundays from noon 5 p.m. We will also be offering one weeknight virtual visit for those who are unable to participate on the weekends. Because there are limited slots available this year, we have lots of additional opportunities to interact with us. I will be hosting fireside Christmas storytime with Mrs. Claus throughout the season on our Facebook page. The Big E, Eric Lunt, will be serenading us with his vocal Christmas stylings. Miss Heather, of Stage Presence for Dancers, will be showcasing her students’ talent (including Santa and Mrs. Claus!). A Christmas Carol sing-along will take place. Mrs. Claus will even share her award-winning recipes with Kringleville followers. See Santa reviewing the naughty and nice list and more!

If you are not a follower of the Kringleville Facebook page, you will want to do so today to stay updated with Kringleville happenings for 2020. To reduce large gatherings, there will be no parade of lights, but the peppermint twist this season is our Light Up The Town decoration event. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to decorate their properties with holiday lights to be included on a large holiday map! Santa and Mrs. Claus will drive to each home participating and make a special visit to the Light Up The Town winner!

If you are an annual Kringleville Christmas ornament collector, the 2020 ornaments will be available for purchase throughout the city of Waterville with 50 percent of proceeds donated to the Children’s Discovery Museum and as always a personal donation from Santa and Mrs. Claus to the Saint Jude Children’s Hospital.

People of all ages from around the globe visit Kringleville. In 2019, we had Kringleville visitors from Poland, Hawaii, China, Korea, Virginia, Arkansas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Seattle, the Philippines and all over Maine and New England. We love that you all continue to be part of the Kringleville story season after season and keep the tradition in such a wonderful city. Please share with your family and friends from all over the world that during these unprecedented times Santa will have virtual opportunities, so all can safely connect with Santa to tell him their Christmas wishes. 2020 Christmas wishes are already pouring in as many are wishing for health, happiness and world peace.

Year after year, the Kringleville community grows. The Kringleville Facebook page “reach” of “followers” grew during the 2019 season from hundreds to thousands and there was a growth of 275 percent of our connection with Kringleville followers, with an increase of 1,850 percent in engagements while Santa and Mrs. Claus were in town. Since this past Kringleville season, followers have remained engaged with Kringleville via the Kringleville Facebook page. During COVID-19, an additional Christmas spirited folks joined Kringleville’s fabulous followers. By October 1, 2020 within 24 hours followers increased to 3,608 and climbing. That’s right, 260 new followers before Halloween! It is clear that Kringleville creates a truly special community.

Santa and Mrs. Claus would like to recognize and especially thank Scott McAdoo for his continued commitment to the love of Christmas at Kringleville. Kringleville continues with the support of The Children’s Discovery Museum led by Executive Director Amarinda Keys. Thank you to the generous 2020 Kringleville sponsors: Central Maine Chevy Dealers and Bangor Savings Bank. Additional supporters are The Big E, Stage Presence for Dancers, Marden’s, the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, REZ Life Church, and others who share in the Kringleville Christmas spirit.

If you or your business would like to contribute to the success of this timeless Waterville tradition, please contact Amarinda Keys at The Children’s Discovery Museum. Email Amarinda at amarinda@childrensdiscoverymuseum.org to ask how you too can be a part of the magic of Christmas at Kringleville for the 2020 season.

All Santa and I ask is that you continue to try your best. You have been brave…Continue to be brave! You have been strong through all of the changes that this year has brought to you and the world you live in. Always remember to be part of solutions, rather than adding to problems. Be respectful of all others, because kindness begins with respect and a smile.

Where there’s a will there’s a way and our will here in the North Pole is unstoppable. COVID-19 has not canceled Christmas or Kringleville connections. Christmas is not something that can be canceled. Christmas lives in our hearts. Santa wants everyone to keep in mind that Christmas isn’t something you should have in your heart only once a year. The spirit of Christmas should live in your heart year-round. So, take Santa’s advice and be kind to all others! Mrs. Claus sends COVID-FREE hugs from our North Pole home to your home. Wishing you a season full of joy and happiness…See you all soon!