It has become a holiday tradition: each December a police helicopter circles Harbor View Elementary School in Corona Del Mar, lands on the school grounds and out pops Santa and Mrs. Claus to the hoots, hollers and cheers of excited boys and girls ready to be given candy canes and photo ops with the North Pole power couple.
This year, the tradition has ended--or, at least, stalled.
Blaming those Grinch-like government budget cuts, the Newport Beach Police Department announced the copter show will not get off the ground this season. Actually, the cop shop said it tried but failed to come up with alternative funding to keep the date with Harbor View students, according to a Corona Del Mar Today report.
But there is some question about whether the Newport Beach Police Department informed the school of Santa's no-show. Police Chief Jay Johnson maintains that DARE Officer Rachael Johnson notified school administrators of the cancellation on Nov. 5. Harbor View officials say they didn't get the memo, and so the event remained on the school's calendar for 8:40 a.m. this past Tuesday.
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With the signals finally uncrossed, Harbor View Principal Charlene Metoyer sent out a School Loop message to parents Monday night explaining the cancellation. It read:
I just got word from the North Pole, that Santa is swamped this year. There are so many more good girls and boys this year that Santa's elves are working overtime and even Santa and Mrs. Claus have had to pitch in! They want us to know that they just can't make it to Harbor View this year (or any other Newport Beach school). They are very sorry and know that we will all understand and he wishes us a very Happy Holiday season.
"If we had not have checked, there might have been hundreds of children waiting for Santa," one parent told the CdM community paper.
The NBPD claims the cancellation isn't permanent, vowing that if the economy improves, the program could be making a come-back in time for next year. Start those 2011 Christmas wishes now, kiddies.