More Christmastime in the City

:: Friday night saw the lighting of the annual Energonistics (formerly Municipal Gas Works) “Eternaflame” menorah, a ten-foot tall structure which consists of a stainless steel set of nine candles, each topped with what will be a constantly burning gas flame as each is lighted over the next week. It joins the “Eternaflame” Christmas tree and the “Eternaflame” Kwanzaa giant ear of corn in casting an eerie bluish-white light over the plaza of the Energonistics headquarters on East Main Street.

:: An article in Sunday’s Journal-Clarion on the history of local Toys for Tots efforts cleared up something about which I’ve been wondering for quite awhile. Apparently, one of the largest single donations in the program’s history came from the Atari Corporation in 1983- 200,000 copies of the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game, released the previous year. This explains why a disproportionate number of these typically can be found in area thrift shops.

:: A class-action lawsuit was finally settled last week between 12 families and the Cranston Real Estate Investment Trust (CREIT), owners of the Galleria at Woldman Heights, over an incident in 2000. On December 14 of that holiday season, the families were angered and disgusted to find out that the mall’s Santa Claus had died on duty, the incident not noticed or reported until his shift ended and their children had already sat on the dead man’s lap. In a slow holiday news cycle, the incident received a lot of attention (Headline in the News at the time, that prompted some angry letters: “Here Dies Santa Claus”) and the mall’s manager didn’t do the company any favors by offering to buy the families’ silence with mall gift certificates. The settlement amount has not been disclosed, but is reported to require that CREIT pay for the kids’ therapy costs in perpetuity.

:: The local NBC affiliate, WCAF, has apologized for not running the network’s broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life on Saturday evening, instead substituting their year-end news bloopers special (Channel 3- Uncut and Hilarious!), a half-hour infomercial for the Watson Brothers Auto Mall and a minor-league hockey game not even played by our local team. Some speculate that ongoing conflicts between the station and NBC over renewal fees may have played a larger role than the station’s professed “last minute scheduling snafu.” It looks like you’ll probably be seeing It’s a Wonderful Life on channel 12 next holiday season. Also, the Albany River Rats beat the Providence Bruins, 4-1.

:: Also in the Journal-Clarion was Leslie Sellers’ review of The Nutcracker . She didn’t use the word “mesmerizing,” instead switching it up with an unexpected “bewitching.”

:: As always, if you have any questions about the City, we’ll do our best to research them and find an answer- thecitydesk@gmail.com.
- R. White

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