* Delaware County will be busy during December with a whole sleigh of holiday events scheduled.

Main Street Delaware’s Santa House opens for the 2015 Christmas season as part of the First Friday events on Dec. 4. Santa House will be located in the Strand Theatre at 28 E. Winter Street this year. The house will be open from 6-9 p.m. on Friday and from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday.

Following is the Santa House schedule for the rest of the month: Dec. 11, 6-8 p.m.; Dec. 12, 1-3 p.m.; Dec. 18, 6-8 p.m.; Dec. 19, 1-3 p.m. Free horse drawn carriage rides and free gifts for each child will be available each Friday in December at Santa House.

The annual tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. during First Friday. The ceremony will be held at the corner plaza, located at the intersection of William and Sandusky streets in Downtown Delaware.

Andrews House in Delaware will host its annual holiday preview and tree lighting on Friday. The event is scheduled from 6-9 p.m. The Christmas Cupboard will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, featuring hand-crafted jewelry, general raffle, fishbowl-style raffle and a 50/50 raffle.

The City of Powell will host Holidays in Powell from 2-5:30 p.m. this Saturday at the Municipal Building located at 47 Hall Street. Holidays in Powell will feature free activities, crafts, story time and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Free horse drawn carriage rides will be available through the downtown area from 1-4 p.m. Carolers will also be singing during the event. Santa Claus and Mayor Jim Hrivnak will light the city’s Christmas tree in Village Green Park to wrap up the day’s activities.

Admission is free. Visitors are asked to bring canned food to the event, which will be donated to People In Need, Inc., of Delaware County.

Sunbury’s Christmas on the Square is set for this Saturday from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Events include a parade, tree lighting and other activities. Santa Claus will also be available to take photos with kids.

Gallant Farm Preserve will host Holiday on the Farm beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Residents are invited to enjoy live Christmas music, roast chestnuts over an open fire, enjoy hot wassail and cookies in the farm house and make holiday decorations and experience the holiday as it would have been celebrated in the 1930s.

The Village of Shawnee Hills will host its annual holiday celebration from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday. A heated trolley car will take visitors through the village with stops at shopping locations. Free hay wagon rides, free face painting, free photos with Santa Claus for kids and pets will all be available.

The Village of Galena’s An Old Fashioned Christmas is scheduled for Sunday evening. The annual holiday celebration will be held in the village’s downtown area from 6-8 p.m. The village square will be site of traditional Christmas stories and carols as well as the tree-lighting ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

Free sleigh rides will be offered at Delaware County Bank. Children will be able to visit with and have photos taken with Santa Claus at Journey Fellowship, located at 70 N. Walnut Street. Crafts, games, hot chocolate and cookies will also be available. The village’s holiday ornaments, crafted by Julie Dawson, will be available. The Galena Historic Foundation will also give away free coffee cups filled with goodies. Murphy’s, located at 19 W. Columbus Street, will be accepting donations of toys for the local USO chapter.

Christmas in Ashley is planned from 6-9 p.m. on Sunday. Events include tours of local churches and the firehouse as well as a live manger scene. A holiday scavenger hunt is also planned. Kids can also visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Also on the schedule for the Christmas season are Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campground.

The zoo will be lit up with more than three million twinkling lights every evening in December. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The 15th annual light show at Alum Creek also features a drive-thru Santa House. Fantasy of Lights is open from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A Santa House with free hot chocolate and cookies is located at the Cross Creek Camping Resort.

* A year after 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot by Cleveland, Ohio police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback while playing in a playground, independent use-of-force expert witnesses released their reports, calling the shooting of Tamir “objectively unreasonable.”

These reports stand in direct contrast to the three reports commissioned by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty, whom Tamir’s family, Cleveland organizers, and other community leaders have asked to step down from the case. The reports commissioned by Prosecutor McGinty found that Loehnmann and Garmback’s actions were justified.

These independent reports were produced by Jeff J. Noble, an expert witness since 2006, and Roger A. Clark, a 27-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department. Clark and Noble’s findings conclude that in the November 22nd, 2014 shooting of Tamir Rice, the officers involved exerted “unreasonable and unjustified use of deadly force,” and that Officers Loehnmann and Garmback displayed a “callous disregard for the life of Tamir.”

Tamir Rice’s family, as well as organizers in Cleveland and around the country have called for Tim McGinty to step down from the case. These reports come less than a week after Cleveland organizers and national organizations like Color of Change and Change.org delivered a petition with over 200,000 signatures to Prosecutor McGinty’s office, demanding that McGinty recuse himself from the case.

“When you deliberately disobey police practical training and police procedures and create dangerous situations you should be held accountable for your actions,” said LaTonya Goldsby, Tamir Rice’s cousin. “ McGinty has distorted the truth to fit his own needs. He has manipulated the Grand Jury process, all while knowing officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback disobeyed police practical training and police protocol. McGinty must recuse himself from this case and allow for a competent investigation of Tamir’s death by a special Independent prosecutor from outside the state of Ohio, and Officers Loehmann and Garmback should both be immediately fired from their positions.”


Staff report