Santa Claus is managing a direct mail campaign through the Aberdeen Post Office.
Postal workers installed a special red Santa's Mail Box the day after Thanksgiving outside their Bel Air Avenue office across from Aberdeen Town Hall.
Children who drop off letters or post cards bound for the North Pole by Dec. 21 can expect a hand written response if they include a return address, postal supervisor Brad Gaphardt says.
Postal employee Sue Stuchinski organized a group of co-workers to draft the responses, and this year also recruited an Aberdeen High School English class to help.
Families that write in with needs for special assistance are refered to the local VFW, American Legion and Lions Club.
Anyone interested in contributing time to Santa's Mail box can call Stuchinski or Gaphardt at 272-4242.
MORE HOLIDAY CHIMES
Christmas songs played on chimes atop the County Courthouse in Bel Air that have been echoing through the town for the past week have been such a big hit, their frequency will be increased.
Three times a day for the past week -- at 12:02 p.m, 2:02 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. -- the courthouse chimes have been playing traditional holiday theme songs.
David Sewell, chief of the county's facilities and operations department, said "With things so bad off we decided maybe we could cheer people up alittle by playing some non-religious Christmas carols."
Sewell said he has received so many positive comments about the music that they will increase the number of times the bells play the Christmas songs.
Normally, the carillon, or stationary chimes, in the courthousetower have only tolled to announce the hour from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
BUSINESSES HOLDING ON
Havre de Grace's 13 largest employers are holding their own amid the recession, according to a survey by the city'sEconomic Development Commission.
The survey showed that the companies are projecting a 1 percent growth in business next year.
Companies surveyed were American Cyanamid, National Ammonia Co., J.M. Huber Corp., Cello Corp., Douglas and Lomason Co., Sewell Plastics Inc.,Pepsi Cola Bottling Co., Coca Cola Bottling Co., Chesapeake BeverageCorp., Susquehanna Metal Box Co., Baycraft Fiberglass Engineering Co., Harford Memorial Hospital, and Key Federal Savings Bank.
The businesses employ 2,344 people -- 2,078 full-time and 266 part-time workers. Last year, the companies had 2,180 full-time and 277 part-time employees.
Of the companies surveyed, four said they plan to hire more workers and three said they plan to expand and possibly relocateto a larger site in the city.
City administrators said the business growth rate of 1 percent would have been higher -- at 5 percent --had not American Cyanamid announced last month that it would lay offor transfer 95 workers.