December 31, 2018: What to Know 

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  • The pacific islands of Kirabati and Samoa were the first nations in the world to welcome 2019 early today. Kirabati and Samoa are immediately west of the International Date Line. The two Polynesian destinations are about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand and are the first to greet the new year. The islands' celebrations began a day-long, moveable feast for the eyes across the planet.

    • click to enlarge IDAHO NEW YEAR'S COMMISSION
      • Idaho New Year's Commission
      The centerpiece of much attention in Idaho at midnight tonight will again be the so-called "GlowTato," a giant, illuminated spud, dropped from a crane in front of the Idaho Statehouse. This year's celebration actually gets underway at 3 p.m. at Cecil D. Andrus Park, with plenty of food, live music, tubing, ice-sculpting and snowboarding to fill the hours leading up to the big moment.

    • The State of Utah didn't wait until New Year's Day to institute a new law - the strictest DUI standard in the U.S.  The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that on December 30, Utah dropped the DUI blood alcohol content from 0.08- to 0.05 percent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 0.05 percent of blood alcohol content is linked to about three drinks in under an hour. The DUI blood alcohol content in most U.S. states, including Idaho, is 0.08 percent.

    • in 2019, the minimum wage will increase in 21 states - none of them Idaho. In neighboring Washington and Oregon, the minimum wage is scheduled to increase 50-cents, while Montana will bump up its minimum wage by 20-cents. Idaho is still attached to the Federal minimum wage of $7.25, which hasn't budged for nearly a decade.
    click to enlarge BUSINESS INSIDER/ANDY KIERSZ
    • Business Insider/Andy Kiersz
    • January 1, 2019 will be Public Domain Day, when a bounty of films, books and songs, produced in 1923 or before will become the common property of the people. They include Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments, Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," plus works by Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Aldous Huxley and Edith Wharton.

    • Aquaman is ending 2018 just swimmingly, thank you. The Warner Bros. superhero hit film was No. 1 at the North American box office this past weekend, bringing in more than $51 million. Disney's Mary Poppins Returns held the No. 2 spot, earning $28 million. Bumblebee was No. 3 ($20.5 million).

    • Food & Wine magazine asked chef Anthony Strong for a recipe for a New Year's Day hangover drink. You'll need three ounces of Sorro Prosecco, plus three ounces of GT's Synergy Enlightened Trilogy Kombucha for Strong's "Kombucha Bellini."

      "It's the best way to detox while you re-tox," said Strong.

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