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Ornament honors public safety

December 15, 2010

WOONSOCKET — From year to year, they've featured scenes that are quintessentially Woonsocket — the facade of the Stadium Theatre, the historic Court Street Bridge, the stately sidewalk clock from McCarthy's department store.
Now the city is offering a new installment of those limited edition Christmas tree ornaments, and this season they commemorate not one, but two of the city's venerable institutions: its police and fire departments.
The city commissioned the usual batch of 250 ornaments this year, half based on the logo of the Woonsocket Fire Department, the other half on the badges of the Woonsocket Police Department.
“We were looking for things that say a lot about the community,” says Mayor Leo T. Fontaine. “I thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute to the public safety departments that are out there every day protecting us.”
The ornaments were created by the firm Customized Memories of Massachusetts under the direction of Linda Plays, human services coordinator, and Arianne Pare, the mayor's secretary. The city shopped around for a new jobber this year and was able to keep the price at $15. Tina Go, an administrator at the Beacon Charter High School for the Arts, was also instrumental in developing the package, which includes limited edition reproductions of original student artwork.
“They're beautiful,” says Fire Chief Gary Lataille.
The city has been commissioning holiday tree ornaments inspired by municipal themes since 1995 or so, says Plays. Many have been brisk sellers, prompting city residents to call up the supplier to fill special requests for extras. Others haven't been so popular and the city still has surplus on hand for certain designs.
But the medallion-like ornaments available this year are expected to be selling like hotcakes, says Fontaine. Each of the ornaments is numbered, and public safety officers may be anxious to snag one that matches their badge number. In other words, says Fontaine, if you want to make sure your collection of municipal ornaments doesn't have any gaps in it, don't tarry.
“We're pretty confident this is going to be a sellout year,” he says.
This year's ornament will be packaged with a Christmas card-like insert featuring chilly scenes of winter – print reproductions of original art works of Rosabel Forte and Robert Coveney, seniors at Beacon Charter School.
Ornaments are available on the fourth floor of City Hall. Ask for Pare or Plays, or call 767-9205 for more information.

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