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After Deadline: Crash survivor plans pre-benefit reunion

Santa Claus
"My official address is in the hearts of children," says Apache Mall Santa Claus.

MANTORVILLE — It's a rare thing when I'm able to follow up on people who have been in the car crashes that are an unfortunate part of my public safety beat.

That made my visit with Molly Riese and her parents, Diane and Steve, that much more enjoyable. There will be a benefit for Molly on Friday, a full six months after she nearly died in a head-on crash near Oxbow Park. They're all looking forward to seeing — and in some cases, finally meeting — people who have supported their family since then.

But a special meeting was set for Sunday, when Molly, Christina Anderson and David and Mary Haukom planned to get together for the first time since the night of the crash.

The Haukoms were in the third vehicle that was involved; the man who plowed into Molly's car in a no-passing zone was passing the Haukoms. Molly's car spun into their van, which ended up in the ditch.

Anderson was one of the first people on the scene; she held Molly's hand and comforted her while they waited for help.


"There'll be tears," Diane Riese said about Sunday's reunion.

"We wanted to do it before the benefit," Molly said. "It'll be emotional enough without adding that." — Kay Fate

Praise for Santa

Jeff Kiger's article about a longtime Santa's departure from Apache Mall elicited comments from a number of readers.

Among them was Suzanne Nisbit, who said she and her family have been visiting Jerry Julian at Apache Mall for the past 13 years.

"My brother, who passed away 14 years ago this December, went to take his picture with Santa every year. My brother died at the age of 38. And he said you're never to old to go see Santa.

"For 13 years, he (Julian) has remembered my brother Rodney and me," she continued. "And every year I look forward to seeing this Santa because he's not only Santa, he's an angel on earth. — Brian Sander

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