North Pole Alaska

November 19, 2009 by USA Post 

Kids have already been sending letters to the North Pole already (more on that in a minute…); it’s the holiday season for sure. And there is lots of Christmas news to go around.

Santacon in 3DOregonLive.comPortland’s kid-unfriendly holiday event “Santacon” will be held December 5 and 19th this year.

Black Friday ads are going ’round the internet: be ready to bust those doors and get some cheap goods.

And before you do–get your flu shot! H1N1 concerns have raised an important question: Should Santa move the front of the vaccination line? Santa’s workshop at your local mall or department store is indeed quite a crossroads: little kids, vulnerable to illness and great at spreading it, and lots of close physical proximity happening with the same people all day long.

Dr. Jack Turco, director of health services at Dartmouth College, said Santa might consider greeting children from a few feet away rather than holding them on his lap, or asking children with coughs to stand in a separate line.

Elsewhere in this morning’s top stories: bad news out of Alaska.

Upsetting citizens in North Pole, Alaska, the U.S. Postal Service has decided to shut down a program in which volunteers opened and responded to letters addressed to Santa. The program answered thousands of letters every year, and was the pride of the tiny town of 2,100 people.

The program will continue throughout the country, but concerns about privacy of information and volunteers mean that there will be more restrictions: and dealing with the tighter restrictions is not feasible in Alaska.

Last year, a postal worker in Maryland recognized an Operation Santa
volunteer there as a registered sex offender. The postal worker
interceded before the individual could answer a child’s letter, but the
Postal Service viewed the episode as a big enough scare to tighten
rules in such programs nationwide.

The big change will be that letters generically addressed to “Santa Claus, North Pole” will not be sent to the Alaska town, and thus will not get a response back with a North Pole postmark.

This is a big “bah humbug” for North Pole residents.

North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson agreed caution is necessary to
protect children. But he’s outraged North Pole’s program should be
affected by a sex offender’s actions on the East Coast — and he thinks
it’s wrong that locals just learned of the change.

“It’s Grinchlike that the Postal Service never informed all the little elves
before the fact,” he said. “They’ve been working on this for how long?”

Someone who’s not a Grinch this year: Bob Dylan. The legendary folk artist released his first music video in 12 years in which he actually appears. The video for “Must Be Santa” is a holiday-themed treat.

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