CHESTERLAND, Ohio — Walter Miraglia, the operator of the Berkshire Hills Golf Course, sounded so much like Santa Claus final 12 months selling the course’s inaugural Christmas gentle show.
“This is a chance for us to offer again to the neighborhood and these three worthy causes,” he instructed 3News final 12 months, months earlier than throwing the change on the huge drive-through lighting show.
He was referring to the American Most cancers Society, the Ronald McDonald Home of Cleveland and Valor Retreat at Excessive Rock, a not too long ago created non-profit that goals to supply fight veterans the chance to trip in new cabins in Hocking Hills.
“That’s a very powerful half,” he stated about giving to the charities.
As the vacations approached, he once more made the purpose in one other interview with 3News.
“We’re charging twenty-five dollars a automotive, however if you happen to say Merry Christmas, you get 5 dollars off,” he stated. “We are going to take donations over and above that as a result of we’re benefiting the American Most cancers Society and the Ronald McDonald Home and Valor Retreat at Excessive Rock.”
Hundreds of automobiles traveled Berkshire’s mile and quarter drive previous practically two million LED lights that have been wrapped round bushes and bushes and hand-made reveals and bathed the panorama in a purple and inexperienced glow. Drivers additionally dropped cash in a donation buckets for charities.
However two of the charities highlighted didn’t really feel Miraglia’s Christmas spirit.
The Ronald McDonald Home of Cleveland and the American Most cancers Society instructed three NEWS this week in emails that they didn’t obtain any cash.
In an interview with 3News Thursday, Miraglia stated he misplaced $400,000 on the occasion however nonetheless donated near $20,000 to charities, together with Valor.
“Ronald McDonald Home and the American Most cancers Society – that’s primarily based on how a lot cash we introduced in,” he stated. “We misplaced cash final 12 months and opted to donate to those different charities as a substitute.”
Miraglia is on Valor’s board. Valor’s web site says the charity obtained cash from the sunshine show. Larry Teichman, who based Caritas Monetary, shaped the charity and his agency is a small sponsor of the lighting show, Miraglia stated.
However who have been the opposite charities that benefited?
“They have been distributed and sadly, off the highest of my head, Salvation Military obtained some cash, money,” he stated. “Most was given out anonymously.”
Miraglia returned to the purpose later within the interview and stated the American Most cancers Society and Ronald McDonald Home obtained cash. And he stated the charities benefited from the publicity.
“We simply didn’t do it with a verify presentation, that form of factor,” he stated.
He additionally stated the Ronald McDonald Home obtained tickets to the lighting show to distribute, a degree the charity confirmed. It couldn’t hint any money donations again to Miraglia.
Miraglia additionally famous that donations went to the world’s Habitat for Humanity.
Final month, a neighborhood newspaper reported Miraglia donated cash to Fieldstone Farm, a therapeutic using middle.
A Fieldstone consultant stated in an electronic mail it wasn’t promised cash and didn’t obtain any.
Miraglia stated the data was a misprint and retracted by the paper. Miraglia stated Fieldstone is a delegated charity this 12 months.
He stated he hopes to sometime break even and use the sunshine park for a higher good.
“That’s the hope. We’re doing this to convey consciousness to Christianity.”
Although Miraglia’s public mission feels like that of non-profit, his group will not be.
His enterprise papers on file with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Workplace present that Miraglia and some buyers created a for-profit firm to convey Christmas to Chesterland.
Final 12 months, the occasion was an enormous hit. However residents complained about site visitors backups on Mayfield Street. Greater than two dozen residents complained about lights, noise and site visitors at a township assembly, in line with newspapers accounts of the assembly.
Miraglia stated Thursday that he’s addressing their issues this 12 months by promoting advance tickets. He stated that may permit him to scan tickets on the entrance and pace the circulate of automobiles getting into the course.
“We determine we will deal with 1,500 hundred autos a night with out backing up site visitors on Mayfield,” he stated.
He additionally stated he will likely be placing up some fencing to remove “headlight air pollution” hitting neighboring houses.
“We wish pleased neighbors,” he stated. “We’re about Christmas.”
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