... To organizers and participants in the annual Santa Parade in Oneonta on Nov. 13.

Hundreds of people lined Main Street to see Santa and Mrs. Claus, who arrived on a horse-drawn wagon. The procession featured candy, floats, firetrucks, jugglers and dozens of members of Girl Scout Service Unit 643, who collected donations for the Opportunities for Otsego Holiday Food Basket program.

After the parade, Santa took up residence in his cottage on Muller Plaza, where he will be at select times during the season. His wife told holiday stories at the Green Toad Bookstore after the parade.

A Family Fun Day with Mark Shepard followed at Wilber Mansion.

The parade was organized by Main Street Oneonta, a volunteer organization of individuals and businesses who work to promote downtown Oneonta.

We thank everyone who made the parade another wonderful kickoff to the holiday season.

o ... To the local businesses and individuals who have joined the 3/50 project.

The project's website encourages consumers to spend a total of $50 a month at three locally owned businesses as a way to generate revenues that stay in a community.

According to the project, for every $100 spent at locally owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

Country Crock in Pindars Corners and Buddy Boys Toys and Trains in South New Berlin have signed up for the project.

It's important to support our local businesses. This time of year is a wonderful opportunity to focus on keeping money in our community.

The 3/50 project is a good way to make a conscious effort to do so.

o ... To the friends and family of Brenda McCall, for their efforts to provide her with a custom-made saddle.

McCall, 44, of Walton, has cerebral palsy. She has been riding horses as part of a therapeutic riding program for five years and has built up the muscle strength and flexibility to sit upright on a saddle. However, she still must be accompanied by someone on each side of the horse to ensure she doesn't fall.

A $3,500 custom-made saddle would enable McCall to ride unassisted and participate in horse shows.

Fundraisers in November raised about $1,900, according to McCall's mother, Georgianna. Two raffles are ongoing, with drawings scheduled for Dec. 13 and 21.

In a difficult economy, raising $3,500 isn't easy, but the McCalls are more than halfway there already. We're confident they will reach their goal with the continued support of the community.

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