CHESTERLAND, Ohio — Walter Miraglia, the operator of the Berkshire Hills Golf Course, sounded rather a lot like Santa Claus final yr selling the course’s inaugural Christmas gentle show.
“This is a chance for us to offer again to the group and these three worthy causes,” he advised 3News final yr, months earlier than throwing the swap 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 lately created non-profit that goals to supply fight veterans the chance to trip in new cabins in Hocking Hills.
“That’s an important half,” he mentioned 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 should you say Merry Christmas, you get 5 dollars off,” he mentioned. “We’ll 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 vehicles traveled Berkshire’s mile and quarter drive previous practically two million LED lights that have been wrapped round timber 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 advised three NEWS this week in emails that they didn’t obtain any cash.
In an interview with 3News Thursday, Miraglia mentioned 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 based mostly on how a lot cash we introduced in,” he mentioned. “We misplaced cash final yr and opted to donate to those different charities as an alternative.”
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 mentioned.
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 mentioned. “Most was given out anonymously.”
Miraglia returned to the purpose later within the interview and mentioned the American Most cancers Society and Ronald McDonald Home obtained cash. And he mentioned the charities benefited from the publicity.
“We simply didn’t do it with a test presentation, that form of factor,” he mentioned.
He additionally mentioned the Ronald McDonald Home obtained tickets to the lighting show to distribute, some extent 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 driving middle.
A Fieldstone consultant mentioned in an e-mail it wasn’t promised cash and didn’t obtain any.
Miraglia mentioned the knowledge was a misprint and retracted by the paper. Miraglia mentioned Fieldstone is a chosen charity this yr.
He mentioned he hopes to sometime break even and use the sunshine park for a higher good.
“That’s the hope. We’re doing this to deliver consciousness to Christianity.”
Although Miraglia’s public mission appears like that of non-profit, his group isn’t.
His enterprise papers on file with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Workplace present that Miraglia and some traders created a for-profit firm to deliver Christmas to Chesterland.
Final yr, the occasion was an enormous hit. However residents complained about visitors backups on Mayfield Highway. Greater than two dozen residents complained about lights, noise and visitors at a township assembly, in line with newspapers accounts of the assembly.
Miraglia mentioned Thursday that he’s addressing their considerations this yr by promoting advance tickets. He mentioned that may permit him to scan tickets on the entrance and velocity the circulation of vehicles coming into the course.
“We determine we will deal with 1,500 hundred automobiles a night with out backing up visitors on Mayfield,” he mentioned.
He additionally mentioned he will probably be placing up some fencing to get rid of “headlight air pollution” hitting neighboring properties.
“We would like blissful neighbors,” he mentioned. “We’re about Christmas.”
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