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The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

New York – The Rockefeller Center and surrounding blocks were totally filled with revelers for the 85th Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.  Mayor Bill de Blasio flipped the switch surrounded by the Rockettes, Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker.  The tree lighting performers included Harry Connick Jr., Seal, Train, Brett Eldredge, Pentatonix, The Tenors and others.


The Norway Spruce stood 75 feet tall, weighed 12-tons and was donated by Jason Perrin, State College, Pennsylvania.  Swarovski Star was placed at the top of the Norway Spruce tree and adorned with 25,000 crystals and one million facets.  The tree will be lit every day until January 7th.  The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.  Security was tighter this year with more areas restricted as well as extra screening. 

18th Winter’s Eve Lincoln Square

Micky Dolenz, The Monkees
New York City – The Upper West Side was packed with holiday revelers enjoying a full evening of festive activities. Weather was mild allowing families to have their children embrace the excitement of the holiday event.  Taking the stage was Micky Dolenz the voice from The Monkees as headliner.  Lea Salonga from Broadway’s “Once On This Island” lead the lineup with members of the Metropolitan Opera.  The celebration’s formal kickoff began with a tree lighting ceremony in Dante Park on the Upper West Side lead by Amy Freeze. 


The festival had a large variety of events for all to enjoy.  The always-entertaining stilt-walkers enlightened everyone with their amazing ability and agility to walk through crowds and give a creative performance as they walked through the festival.  Vendors were serving food from over 30 of Lincoln Square’s top eateries.  Ice Sculpturing took place in front of the Time Warner Center.  Domes Tree Farm from Bliss, New york installed the 27ft Concolor Fir.  

91st Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

New York City – The temperature was colder at the start of the parade but that did not keep spectators away from enjoying the largest Thanksgiving Parade in the country.  The winds were low so that the balloons could be flown at normal expected height for all to be amazed of the size as they came down the parade route.  Estimation of over 3.5 million people lined the parade route.  This year featured new balloons such as Olaf from the movie “Frozen” and from “Paw Patrol” Chase, a new version of the Grinch of Dr. Seuss stories. 


The floats had celebrities as Jimmy Fallon, Smokey Robinson, The Roots, Wyclef Jean, Flo Rida.  Marching bands from different parts of the country and the long awaited Santa Claus closed the successful parade event.  The route is 2 ½ miles long and traveled down Central Park West from 77 street to Columbus Circle, along Central Park South to 6th Avenue to 34 Street and ending at Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street.  Security was extra tight to keep everyone safe to enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Stamford Spectacular Thanksgiving Parade

Fred Flintstone
Stamford, Conn. – The parade held strong with thousands lining the streets to watch.  A fun-filled lineup of floats, balloons, marching bands, dancers and dignitaries.  The evening before with inflation had rain but it subsided for Sunday’s parade.  The wind gave a bit of a challenge but the strong organized teams were able to launch a large number of the balloons for the kids to gaze with amazement.  Last year the balloons were not able to fly with strong winds.  The clowns filled the streets and had everyone ready to fully enjoy the parade.


Bello Nock known as a Comedic Daredevil always amazes the audience with his agility of breath taking stunts when he climbs a high pole that sways as he does his performance.  Masters of Ceremonies was Alan Kalter.  Silver Steel Band performed, 12 marching bands, NYPD Emerald Society Pipe & Drum Band, the Fairfield County Police Pipes and more participated.


America’s Challenge gas balloon race record

Albuquerque, NM – The first place for the longest distance record in the gas balloon race starting off from Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta won by the Swiss team.  Nearly 60 hours aloft for 2,278 miles the Swiss team landed near the Newfoundland border in a remote area in Canada.  The Swiss team of Nicolas Tieche and Laurent Sciboz broke the record that was set in 2000 with 1,998 miles by brothers David and Alan Levin. 

The record flown in Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett championship in 2005 of 2,113 miles was also broken by the Swiss Team.  Andy Cayton from the U.S. and Krzysztof Zapart from Poland took second place touching down along the Quebec Coast on Tuesday.  Peter Cuneo and Barbara Fricke from the Albuquerque were champions last year landed in Vermont for third place.  Eight gas balloons took off from the Balloon Fiesta Park Saturday evening.  This is the 22nd America’s Challenge gas balloon race at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Balloon Fiesta Day Three

Albuquerque, NM – Balloonists arrived early in the morning for the first day of briefing Competition to hear if they would be able to launch from outside the field and head back into the field to compete.  The Competition that was to launch at 7 a.m. was cancelled because of high winds.  About an hour later the winds lessened allowing the flags to change from yellow to green for balloons on launch from the field.  The launch off the field filled the sky with bountiful colors.


Zebras were busy directing the balloons on the field to launch.  Zebras are people dressed in black and white striped shirts to officiate as launch directors.  Zebras keep an orderly launch of the balloons as they set for lift off at 7 a.m.   The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has over 3000 dedicated volunteers that put long hours in daily to make the Fiesta a number one event that multi-thousands of spectators attend.  Chase crews are an essential group of volunteers that help the pilots inflate, launch, land and deflate for each flight. 

International Balloon Fiesta

America's Challenge Balloon Race Launch
Albuquerque, NM – Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has entered the 46th year of prestigiously recognized as the Balloon Fiesta in the world.  Balloonists from all over the world come to Albuquerque, New Mexico to launch at Mass Ascension in the mornings at 7:00 am.  Ceremonies start at 5:45 am with a sophisticated Laser Light Show, Dawn Patrol Show, Krispy Kreme Morning Glow and Opening Ceremonies before the official launching of hundreds of balloons. 


Saturday Mass Ascension was a perfectly beautiful morning with all factors making for an amazing launch.  America’s Challenge Balloon Race Inflation started at 2:00 in the afternoon with the official launch completing by 7:15 pm.  The day ended with a Twilight Twinkle Glow and a combination of laser show and an impressive fireworks display.  The week is filled with continuous events for the public to come out and enjoy and learn from all the pilots and crew.  The final day is Sunday, October 15.

Technology infrastructures hacking

The infrastructures of today are increasingly being challenged with the ability of hackers to alter or entirely stop the product from performing its function.  Wind turbines that use wind for transfer of power to homes and multi-electrical uses are vulnerable.  Increasing the number of wind power throughout the world has caused concern to the technicians.  The question continues on how to keep ahead of the hacker so that the grid doesn’t get locked down.


Also, as the future of automotive cars becomes increasingly prevalent for the public to operate hackers are causing continual challenges for the industry to block the invasion in order protect the public.  Elimination of the vulnerability as the world becomes more autonomous is keeping many technical people up at night on how do they keep ahead of the potential attack. The public needs to be aware of what to do if the “what if” occurs.

Solar eclipse of 2017

The long awaited solar eclipse for 2017 had millions of people mesmerized.  All that traveled miles to a destination to view were ecstatic with the experience.  Not the entire pathway had clear skies with clouds impacting and creating a unique effect with small breaks in the sky in some areas but the effect was still ominous.  A one chance in a lifetime to witness day turn into night for a little over two minutes as the moon blocked the sun.  Temperature dropped, nature became quiet, Venus, Mercury and bright stars became visible for the brief moments of this amazing phenomenon.


The corridor of the eclipse followed a pathway from Oregon to South Carolina with a 70-mile pathway.  The United States saw the last total solar eclipse in 1979 that stretched over only five states in the Northwest experiencing total darkness.

Drone Technology Moving Fast

Unmanned drones are growing faster in strength and numbers.  Training classes are filling up with pilots that need to and want to know what the FAA rules and restrictions are so that rules can be maintained. 


Businesses, governmental organizations as well as military usage is increasingly changing.  Farmers throughout the country have found the advantage of having a drone fly over their crops to see where issues may be occurring so that they can be proactive. 


Increasingly with the numbers of drones increasing the FAA is monitoring where the impact areas are being restricted.  Aerial photography for news media, shipping and delivery is increasingly being explored with drones.  Building safety inspection and many other uses are increasing daily.

President Trump first week

Washington, D. C. - First week after the Inaugural has begun with President Donald Trump non-stop with meetings, revisiting previous executive orders that were implemented during President Obama term.  The whole week will be a reflection of what to expect for the coming years on a national and international basis. 

Nominations are being finalized as well as Press secretary Sean Spicer held the first full White House briefing on Monday morning.  President Donald Trump signed three Executive Orders and pulled the US from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  British Prime Minister Theresa May will be the first face-to-face meeting with a foreign leader.

Flight of the Nations – Balloon Fiesta

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Mass Ascension for Flight of the Nations lifted off early Wednesday morning with nearly 600 balloons.  The winds allowed the “box” to form that Albuquerque is so famous for.  The higher elevation had stronger winds that did not allow the competition portion of the balloons to come from outside the field to complete the task for a second day in a row.
America’s Challenge Gas Balloon race launch was held off for a day because of impending weather that they would encounter as the winds would float them eastward

Rolling Stones at TCF Bank Stadium “Satisfaction”

Minneapolis, MN - Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones rocked the TCF Bank Stadium with over 50,000 fans.  The rain stopped minutes before the Rolling Stones took the stage and fans stood throughout the two hour plus concert absorbing music that the band has been performing over 53 years.  Mick Jagger remains strong with his iconic dance form that everyone has become accustomed to seeing along with playing the harmonica to “Midnight Rambler.” 


BOSTON 40th Anniversary Moondance Jam
Walker, Minnesota – BOSTON played to a fully packed arena at Moondance Jam 25.  The 25th anniversary for Moondance Jam 25 had a non-stop music festival for the weekend and is known as one of the top country music festivals. Multi-thousands of fans came out to hear the top musicians from all over the world.  BOSTON’s performance was cut short because of a huge lightning storm that was passing through the area after some very hot and humid days.
Moondance jammin Country Fest weekend

Justin Moore
Walker, MN – A temperamental weather pattern gave way to a large double rainbow over the main arena as Moondance jammin Country Fest was in full swing with a packed arena of fans.  Friday went off like clockwork with the well-defined organization that Moondance has been noted for.  Entertainers began with Dallas Smith, Jon Pardi, Rodney Atkins and Justin Moore.  Saturday will be filled with performances by Lost Highway, Sarah Darling, Joe Nichols and Hunter Hayes.


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