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Leasing News is a web site that posts information, news, and
entertainment for the commercial alternate financing,
bank, finance and leasing industries


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Today's Equipment Leasing Headlines

Please Donate to the Salvation Army
   Click the Kettle
Shake-Up at North Mill Equipment Finance
  Co-founder, President & CEO Gary Silverhardt is Out
Edward P. Kaye, Esq.
  Has Joined the Leasing News Advisory Board
How Vehicle Leasing Surge Impacts Exchange Marketplace
   by Joe Overby, Senior Editor,
Leasing Industry Ads---Help Wanted
Join a Leading Organization
Sales Makes It Happen by Christopher Menkin
   You Become What You Attract
AFG Launches Vehicle Leasing Program in 9 States
  By Auto Remarketing Staff,
Christmas Bonuses
  by Allan Levine, President and COO, MADI$ON CAPITAL
Middle East Leasing Summit Report
  Auto Finance & Equipment Leasing Forums
German Shepard Mix
  Alameda, California  Adopt-a-Dog
Archives --- December 14, 2001
   History of Christmas Lights
News Briefs---
Fifth Third Bank/ApplePie Capital Deal Great,
 But Bank Deals for Many Other Lenders Still a Pie in the Sky

Broker/Funder/Industry Lists | Features (writer's columns)
Top Ten Stories Chosen by Readers | Top Stories last six months (Be Careful of Doing Business)
Leasing News Icon for Android Mobile Device 

You May have Missed---
  Baseball Poem
    Sports Briefs---
      California Nuts Brief---
       "Gimme that Wine"
          This Day in American History
           Daily Puzzle
               Weather, USA or specific area
                 Traffic Live----

######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release” and was not written by Leasing News nor information verified, but from the source noted. When an article is signed by the writer, it is considered a “by line.” It reflects the opinion and research of the writer.

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Please Donate to the Salvation Army
Click the Kettle

This year the Salvation Army is doing the Online Kettle differently. In the past, they had individual teams donations sent to the main headquarters, where they distributed across the company. This year they have localized it.

Leasing News has selected "Alameda County" where the Salvation Army is helping those in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire, as well as many others who are being evicted in a crackdown of such living conditions. It is expensive to rent or purchase a residence in Silicon Valley, so many have taken shared housing, which was not being enforced.

Your donation will help.

Kit Menkin


Shake-Up at North Mill Equipment Finance
Co-founder, President & CEO Gary Silverhardt is Out

From an insider, "In the last 2 weeks North Mill has laid off or terminated 16 people including Gary Silverhardt the President, CEO and minority owner of North Mill Equipment Finance LLC." The company was a long time lessor, known as Equilease, purchased by Colford Capital Holdings LLC, November 8, 2012 (1).

David Lee, CEO of Colford Capital, confirmed that the company has cutback from 86 to 70 employees, and that he is now also the CEO of North Mill Equipment Finance. "The transportation industry has taken a turn and we are adjusting for it," he told Leasing News. The company will continue with third party originations and he is very positive that the adjustments will be beneficial.

Don Cosenza, Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, North Mill Equipment Finance, told Leasing News at the National Alliance of Commercial Loan Brokers Conference in Las Vegas, when a transaction comes in from a dealer or customer, they are referred to a broker closest to the applicant's location, as they want to build up the broker support by giving them both leads and business.

According to a 2015 press release, (Colford is) a New York City-based holding company that is building a diversified and industry-leading specialty finance and asset management business through acquisitions, strategic partnerships and new business development. In addition to North Mill Equipment Finance, Colford owns North Mill Capital, a national asset based lending and receivables factoring company based in Princeton, NJ. Colford is majority owned by Monitor Clipper Partners, a private equity firm that targets growth-oriented businesses with strong management teams and currently manages over $2 billion in capital." (2)

David Lee also confirmed that Gary Silverhardt is no longer with the

Gary Silverhardt, President and CEO (November 2012 - ); President and CEO, (owner) Equilease Financial Services (October, 2001 - October, 2012); CFO and COO, Federal Capital Corporation (Jul, 2000 -September 2001.) (3) Previously, Mr. Silverhardt held senior executive positions with ICON Capital Corp. and Federated Capital Corp. He also owned and operated a consulting company that specialized in portfolio management and corporate/financial planning for independent and bank-owned leasing companies. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a former member of Coopers & Lybrand's audit group. (4)


  1. Colford Acquires Equilease
  2. North Mill Equipment Finance Increases
    its Wells Fargo Loan Facility
  3. LinkedIn Biography
  4. North Mill News Briefs



Edward P. Kaye, Esq.
Has Joined the Leasing News Advisory Board

Ed Kaye is a longtime supporter of Leasing News, contributing articles as well as features. He is an attorney, admitted to the bar of the State of New York, 1994, as well as has a MA and BA from the University at Albany. He also is presently serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Vehicle Leasing Association.

He began his career as an Account Executive, Term Leasing, then Auto Tech Leasing Associates. In 1997, he co-founded The Advantage Funding group of companies, service as President, CEO and General Counsel.  He and his partners sold the company in 2014. The following year he was Co-Founder, Managing Member, and General Counsel of Access Commercial Capital, LLC., an independent specialty vehicle and equipment finance and leasing company.

Edward P. Kaye
Access Commercial Capital, LLC
3000 Marcus Avenue, Suite 3E01
Lake Success, New York 11042
(516)444-3621 Direct Dial
(800)571-3900 Toll Free
(516)213-1182 Fax

Married to Linda Kaye for 29 years.  They have two children, Matthew, age 24, a media operations technician at NBC Universal, and Allison, age 19, a sophomore business major at Penn State University. He is an avid tennis player and enjoys spending time with his family and the outdoors.

Members of the Leasing News Advisory Board


(Leasing News provides this ad as a trade for appraisals
and equipment valuations provided by Ed Castagna)


How Vehicle Leasing Surge Impacts Exchange Marketplace
by Joe Overby, Senior Editor,

Lease penetration has reached an all-time high and its impact goes beyond financial institutions, dealers and automakers.

Exchange marketplaces like have been affected by the rising popularity of leasing in recent years.

Scot Hall, who is Executive Vice President for the Cincinnati-based lease exchange company, said demand at Swapalease will typically reflect the leasing trajectory from 12 to 18 months prior.

Scot Hall
EVP of Operations

“As leasing itself trends upward, we’re going to see our numbers trend upward in available lease offerings mid-stream, a year (or) a year-and-half behind that, because that’s when people are going to need or want to get out of those leases,” Hall said in a phone interview with Auto Remarketing last week. 

“Business looks pretty good for us moving forward and it has been trending the right direction already for the last couple of years as we move further and further away from the financial meltdown of 2008 and 2009,” he said.

When people want to exit lease

Last month, the company debuted a quarterly report on leasing that analyzed lease activity trends within its marketplace.

During the third quarter, a lessee wishing to exit a lease wanted to do so with an average of 23.2 months remaining on the lease, according to the report. A year ago, the average time left was 21.5 months.

Granted, that’s not a huge difference, Hall said.

But one reason some folks are opting out of their leases earlier than before could be the simple fact that more people are aware of this option — the challenge of educating the public about lease transfer continues to be a major priority for Swapalease, Hall said.

In other words, “the more people that know about the ability to lease transfer, perhaps that will bring some people into the marketplace a little bit sooner,” he said.

Additionally, he said, it may stem from the fact that with lease volume growing, they are likely to see more lessees that need or want to transfer out of a lease.

Plus there is more leasing advertised. Hall said:  “They may be finding something that meets their needs better or at least they think it will meet their needs better if they can get out of their current lease.”

Search patterns

Looking at search activity trends on, European luxury brands still rule the day, with BMW grabbing 15 percent of total traffic in Q3 and Mercedes-Benz taking a 12 percent share.

But domestics, including some mainstream brands, are making some headway. search traffic for Buick was up 9 percent year-over-year in Q3, with Ram traffic up 8 percent. GMC climbed 5 percent, Cadillac was up 4 percent and Chevrolet was up 3 percent.

“There’s definitely more leasing going on (among) the domestic brands. And to clarify that slightly, obviously Cadillac would be a luxury brand and it’s been a fairly heavily leased brand for quite some time,” Hall said. “But what we’re seeing is leases really moving even more downstream.”

And at the same time, it’s stronger than ever on the luxury side.

According to, luxury lease penetration through 10 months of the year is at 51.2 percent.

“Leasing accounts for a larger share of new-car transactions than ever before, and nowhere is this more true than in the luxury market,” Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell said in commentary from company at the end of November.

As for overall market, Hall said: “I don’t know that we’ll ever get to 50-odd percent of all vehicles being leased, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. And I think as more domestic automakers offer leases, we’re going to see that search traffic continue to trend upward on Swapalease.”




Healthcare, Commercial and Industrial

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Positions are available for well experienced industry
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We are an equal opportunity employer and give consideration for employment to qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, and local law. Member FDIC.


For information on placing a help wanted ad, please click here:

Please see our Job Wanted section for possible new employees.



Sales Makes It Happen
by Christopher Menkin

You Become What You Attract

The title of this article not only applies to those in sales, but to companies themselves, and perhaps to life itself.

In my experience, new sales individuals are attracted mostly to large lease transactions. They get off the track easily, especially if they have set themselves up on a quota or are in a lull. They think one large lease will make up from the lack of "regular" leases they have been advised to follow.

Sometimes it is the "bragging" or "feeling good about yourself" that you are working on a very large deal. You tell your boss, your colleagues, your spouse, and others, about working on the large deal. Maybe it is the idea of the "big money" or in the circle of "top executives" or the perhaps feeling you have arrived because "look at the big deal I am working on."

Most large ticket deals that you first stumble into do not go together as they are either not credit worthy, and thus why you are working on it, or if they are credit worthy, by the time they place the order, they have gone with someone who has a much better rate. There is always someone with a better rate.

There is no convenience or ‘I am doing the lease because I like you.’ They will bid it out. Just like the old Wild West, there is always someone who is faster in the draw, especially if you are new to the game. However, most of the time the reason you are invited to work on the large transaction is they have nowhere else to go, and that is also where you will wind up.

This also applies to those in sales who rely on getting ten to fifteen points (or more) on a deal. They are not interested in cultivating a vendor or asking a customer for repeat business or cold calling. They want the deal that is almost impossible to put together, but somehow they do, or find someone who will do the lease. Sometimes it is the challenge, but in reality it is "I can make more money." All of a sudden, they find themselves boxed into this market and then it becomes not only the type of customer they find, but the type of customer that finds them.

The vendor who said he will send you all his business if you put this together--- what he sends you is the business his regular source that pays him a "spiff" can't do. You have become what you attract, the deals his regular leasing company can't do.

Mac Pollock at Key Lease used to say, “You sleep with dogs, you get fleas."
Another failing is visiting or telephoning customers who always have too much time, want to talk a lot, and you certainly enjoy the call. The reason they have a lot of time is business is not that good. If you have too many of these on your route during the day, your business will become as theirs is: not too good.

If you are a company that is making compromises on your credit or what direction you are going, you most likely will wind up there, too.
This also has a positive side: if that is what you are purposely trying to attract and have geared your operation for this "type," it is your goal. You chose it. It didn't' choose you.

You do have the ability to decide to attract a different group. When bank managers were no longer making equipment loans and even car loans or leases as they were being centralized, working with smaller community banks on the growth curve, presidents and senior loan executives, bringing in accounts to them and they reciprocating with customers who they were maxed out or could not do without more current financials, or whatever, you attracted better business and cemented your relationship.

In a boom market place, seeking out vendors or designers who were placing furniture, fixtures, or larger software and computer installations, offering a "master lease" via a warehouse line brought in more business. As a discounter or lessor, often the profit on the interim rent was more than when the commission or yield when the lease closed. Seeking out these kinds of situation not only brought in more business one year, but equaled the discount and other profits one year. And the customers came back because you stood by them during this period and financed their growth. You get a following in leasing to attorneys, who seem to often be cash poor, franchises, and many expanding companies.

Today some even offer "no charge" interim financing, but that means they don't also charge points, just the factor on the monthly amount advanced (interest and principal, although you and I know the principal is not paid down and often the interest is even higher by the monthly factor than the overall buy rate.)

This approach of "you become what you attract” also applies to your personal life, your circle of friends, and perhaps the most important decision of your life, choosing your spouse. You become what you attract.

Sales Makes it Happen articles:


AFG Launches Vehicle Leasing Program in 9 States
By Auto Remarketing Staff,

On Tuesday, Auto Financial Group — an online provider of innovative financing products for credit unions and banks — started to offer a vehicle leasing option in addition to its popular walk-away balloon loan program.

The leasing option is available in nine states, with more states coming in the future. Dealerships can take advantage of AFG's new lease program in Florida, California, Michigan, Illinois, Washington, Massachusetts, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Richard Epley
CEO, Auto Financial Group

“We chose specific states around the country where leasing offers a distinct advantage over our walk-away balloon loan program, which has been one of our traditional product offerings,” AFG chief executive officer Richard Epley said.

“Leasing makes more sense for some consumers in these states, because sales tax laws are more favorable to leasing, and because manufacturers are willing to offer big incentives to people who lease,” Epley continued.

AFG explained that one of the biggest advantages to leasing a vehicle involves the amount of sales tax, which varies by state. In some states, consumers pay sales tax on the total value of the vehicle. In others, the buyer only pays sales tax on his or her monthly lease payment, instead of the total cost of the vehicle, which is considerably lower.

“In most of the states we've chosen, the sales tax is calculated on the monthly payment,” Epley said. “When you buy a car in Michigan, for example, you pay six percent sales tax on the sales price of the vehicle. But, if you lease a car in Michigan, you pay only six percent of the monthly payment.”

Another distinct advantage to leasing a vehicle is being able to take advantage of manufacturer incentives.

“Some manufacturers will use incentives for leased vehicles, which are done on specific models and during specific times,” Epley said. “The incentive can drop the cost by as much as $3,000 per vehicle, which will considerably lower a consumer's monthly lease payment.”

According to Maury Dikker, leasing director for AFG, some credit unions and dealerships will offer both AFG’s lease option and AFG’s Balloon Lending program.

AFG has been offering residual based financing since 1999 and expects to see additional growth with the inclusion of vehicle leasing.

Maury Dikker
Leasing Director
Auto Financial Group

“We take 100 percent of the residual value risk and completely manage the end-of-term process. The goal is to provide our partners with the best products for their consumers,” Dikker said.

Meanwhile, the balloon lending program can provide institutions with a residual based balloon loan program that is fully insured.

Through AFG’s software, financial institutions are able to secure higher-yielding loans with lower monthly payments for their consumers, mitigate residual value risk, and position themselves to take advantage of the record market increases in residual-value-based financing.

(Leasing News provides this ad as a trade for investigative
reporting provided by John Kenny)



Christmas Bonuses
by Allan Levine, President and COO, MADI$ON CAPITAL

Many times colleagues have asked, “What do you do financially for associates during the Holiday season?” Well, at Madison, we try and take a broader approach. We look at one’s overall comp package with an eye on corporate objectives and mix that into a Holiday party. We incorporate those goals into “how do we make the Holiday meaningful and fruitful at the same time?"

First, we have the party early in December, so all bonuses can be used for the Holidays. In short, we do not take the "what do you give team members for the Holidays" approach. In most years, we use some form of cost of living increase based on the CPI index. After considering that, we start with a week's salary for all staff and the base pay for a week for originators. From that, we subtract money from the base bonus for those underperforming. In addition, it is at this Christmas party, we honor those with tenure awards starting with 5 year increments. I am proud to add that Madison’s average tenure is 14 years.

One of the best parts of the season is that all of this is accomplished at a very nice "no cost spared" Holiday party and dinner and party. We discuss the year's business results, future plans, expectations for the next year, and anything else that needs to be addressed or talked about.

In addition, this timely Holiday gathering enables all out of town team members to come to Baltimore, Maryland. We take the opportunity to spend a few days on next year's marketing and overall company objectives for 2017.

Don’t get the idea it is all work, as we also have a few Holiday word games, with prizes, that are really team building exercises, and truly fun to play.

This past week, we had everyone here on Wednesday, with our party on Thursday evening, and then all went back to home bases with business back to normal on Friday.

While I hate to say it, the upper management table came in third place in the holiday quiz. Either we need new management or our Administrators and IT departments are too smart.

Make your Holiday event fun, special, have a positive business message, and make it meaningful.

Have a safe and prosperous HOLIDAY SEASON.

Allan Levine
President and COO
Equipment and Vehicle Lease Financing Solutions
11433 Cronridge Drive  Suite F
Owings Mills, Md. 21117-2992
Direct Line: 443.796.7337
Direct Fax: 443.213.1582
Office fax: 443.796.7200



##### Press Release ############################

Middle East Leasing Summit Report
Auto Finance & Equipment Leasing Forums

On December 5-8 Duxes hosted the 3rd Middle East Leasing Summit 2016 in Dubai.

The summit occurred in the wake of notable developments, the Dubai World Expo 2020, 2022 World Cup Qatar, Saudi Vision 2030, falling oil prices, and instability in many jurisdictions, which offer challenges, but also substantial opportunities for the Middle East leasing industry, already borne out through gains in the equipment and vehicle leasing sectors. Gathered in attendance were representatives of industry associations, prominent lessors, vendors, automotive companies, and government officials, discussing important issues relevant to leasing in the Middle East.

The summit’s first two days consisted of the Auto Finance & Leasing Forum, during which delegates involved in the auto industry, presented on a range of topics, including the status of the value-added tax (VAT) in the Middle East, and the role of used cars in the leasing sector. Representatives of leasing companies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE noted advances in fleet management harmonization, and its beneficial effect on efficiency and the delivery of services. Notably, the co-founder and CEO of Ekar, a popular car-sharing service that allows users to rent cars for short periods of time, explained his company’s innovative business model, and how it complements consumer demand in Dubai.

The forum also included panel discussions on broad topics of interest, examining the direction of the auto leasing business in the Middle East, and providing a comparative analysis of different Middle Eastern markets.

The summit’s final two days were an Equipment Leasing Forum, and likewise featured presentations from distinguished speakers in the equipment leasing industry.

 The first day of the forum included testimony from government officials in Egypt and Palestine, both of whom noted the continual growth of finance leasing in their respective jurisdictions. In addition, a specialist working for the World Bank Group detailed the progress underway in several jurisdictions in implementing “collateral registries”, a framework for expediting the enforcement of equipment repossession in the event of default.

 Further presentations came courtesy of prominent leasing companies on niche topics across the region related to the regulatory environment in different jurisdictions, market entry, financial services in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), digital disruption in the industry, and heavy duty transportation equipment leasing.

The last day of the event continued with presentations from analysts and market players, discussing sector-specific issues related to medical equipment leasing, and the used equipment trade, as well as other content on the impact of changes to the VAT, and vendor finance.

### Press Release ############################


German Shepard Mix
Alameda, California  Adopt-a-Dog

Two Years Old

Adoption Requirements/Fees/What Adoption Includes

Contact Info
Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter
1590 Fortmann Way
Alameda, CA 94501

Adopt a Pet



Archives --- December 14, 2001
History of Christmas Lights

Christmas lights quickly followed the invention of electric lights themselves in 1879. They grew in popularity as electrification spread, and this year have taken on patriotic overtones. Here's a short history:

1880- Thomas Edison and Edward Johnson (1880 &1882) and Albert Sadacca (1917). Thomas Edison, the inventor of the first successful practical light bulb, created the very first strand of electric lights. During the Christmas season of 1880, these strands were strung around the outside of his Menlo Park Laboratory.

1882 - Edward Johnson, a colleague of Thomas Edison, becomes the first to decorate a Christmas tree with electric lights, in New York City.

1895 - Grover Cleveland puts electric lights on the White House Christmas tree.
1927 - Members of a Christmas light trade association formed in 1925 merge into one giant company, the NOMA (National Outfit Manufacturing Association) Electric Corp.

1945 or '46 - NOMA introduces "bubble lights” in which fluid sealed inside candle-shaped glass tubes is heated by current to produce bubbles. They are still popular today.

1957 - Midget light sets are introduced.

Mid-'60s Manufacturing of most Christmas lights moves to Japan, ending the reign of Beacon Electric, a Boston company, as the foremost manufacturer of "C"-type lights (below),as traditional screw-in bulbs are called in the industry. Today, most light sets are made in China.

1979 - Underwriters Laboratory requires that all lights sets contain fuses, a major safety advancement.

1981 - Miniature sets that connect end to end are introduced.

1986 - The 140-light chaser set, in which a controller makes the lights appear to be chasing after each other, is introduced.

1998 - Icicle lights are introduced to wild popularity, taking a $400 million industry to $700 million within a couple of years.

The present (2001) - The hottest "new "Christmas-light styles are the mesh-light set, intended to allow quick adornment of bushes and other objects, and rope lights, in which light strings are encased in clear plastic hosing.

The future - Mike Ferguson, president of Sienna LLC, which supplies Kmart and others with Christmas lights, expects "outdoor decorating "to grow in popularity, including spiral trees, lighted in inflatables, and wire-frame items such as deer and angels.


LED Lights
(all sizes and shapes)

Battery LED Lights
(and in all sizes)



News Briefs----

Fifth Third Bank/ApplePie Capital Deal Great,
 But Bank Deals for Many Other Lenders Still a Pie in the Sky



--You May Have Missed It

The best and worst states for drivers:
  See how each state measures up


American Football Poem

Ode to the Rams

by Nancy

'Twas two weeks before Christmas
When all through the dome
Not one Rams point was spotted
Not even at home

The Vikings were lined up
All smiling with glee
For they knew that the Rams
Would soon be "History"

Just when Kurt say's to Faulk
What more can they do?
Moss spread out his wings
And like "Santa" he flew!!

With home field advantage
The Vikes catch their plane
With dreams of a ring
And a Super Bowl Reign

But I heard them exclaim
As they left the Rams home
Come see us sometime
At our own METRODOME!!




Sports Briefs----

Wake Forest finds that radio announcer leaked game plans

Warriors’ JaVale McGee to start against Pelicans

Alameda County votes for Ronnie Lott’s plan
  to keep the Raiders in Oakland, next up: City Council

NFL exec: Oakland stadium plan for Raiders 'carbon copy' of failed efforts


California Nuts Briefs---

California: Why tiny insects are tearing up Sierra forests


“Gimme that Wine”

Genius woman hacks fridge to dispense wine instead of water

Vandals destroy 400,000 bottles of Italian sparkling wine
   in historic estate 'sabotage'

Frank Family Vineyards mourns the loss of Dennis Zablosky
    "Mayor of the Napa Valley"

Gallo rates high in workplace survey — and is hiring

Wine Harvest Report 2016: A Record-Breaking Haul
   Has Washington Vintners in Good Spirits

New York's winery boom began 40 years ago:
   How a 1976 law changed everything

Free Mobile Wine Program

Wine Prices by vintage

US/International Wine Events

Leasing News Wine & Spirits Page


This Day in American History

      1763 – Fifty-Seven whites enter Conestoga Indian settlement, and in violation of a treaty made between the tribe and William Penn — to last "as long as the sun should shine, or the waters run in the rivers" — shot, stabbed, and hatched the three men, two women and one young boy they found there (more on 27 December).
    1774 - After Paul Revere warned Portsmouth, NH of possible attack, Massachusetts militiamen successfully attacked the arsenal of Fort William and Mary and confiscated all arms and gun powder. Actually, here was the first shot of the Revolutionary War, and not in Boston Common as history books report.  Revere did not finish his ride, nor did he communicate about the lantern signals, but he did warns several towns and woke up many farmers to warn other farmers about the possible attack, and made it to the town of Portsmouth.
    1782 – Charleston, SC was evacuated by British. There were more battles in South Carolina as the British fought to conquer this land more than others in the colonies at the time, and this was a major event in the American Revolutionary War.  The British had captured Charleston on May 12, 1780.
    1793 - Kentucky was the first state to authorize a road. They authorized Daniel Weisiger, Bennett Pemberton, and Nathaniel Sanders as “commissioners to receive subscriptions in money, labor or property,” to raise a fund for clearing a wagon road from Frankfort, Kentucky, to Cincinnati, Ohio.
    1798 - David Wilkinson of Rhode Island patented both the nut and bolt machine, and the screw.
    1799 – George Washington died at his home in Mt. Vernon, VA at the age of 67.
    1819 - Alabama became the 22nd state. Deep in the “Heart of Dixie,” (one of the state's nicknames), Alabama was first inhabited by the Creek Indians (Alabama means ‘tribal town'), then explored by the Spanish, settled by the French, and then controlled by the British. The region was ceded to the U.S. following the American Revolution. The Confederacy was founded in Alabama; the state flag still bears a resemblance to the Confederate Battle Flag. Alabama's motto, "Audemus jura nostra defendere – We Dare Defend Our Rights" - has been taken very seriously throughout the state's history, especially in the 1950s and 1960s, as it was the site of landmark civil rights actions. The state tree, pinus palustris or Southern longleaf pine; and the camellia, the state flower, are plentiful throughout the state, as is the state bird, the yellowhammer, which is also the state's other nickname.
    1863 - President Lincoln announces a grant of amnesty for Mrs. Emilie Todd Helm, Mary Lincoln's half-sister and the widow of a Confederate general. The pardon was one of the first under Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, which he had announced less than a week before. The plan was the President's blueprint for the reintegration of the South into the Union. Part of the plan allowed for former Confederates to be granted amnesty if they took an oath to the United States
    1885 - Birthday of Ethel Browne Harvey (d. 1965), Baltimore, MD.  U.S. cell biologist, embryologist, most noted for her findings about cell division, bringing her international fame. Using sea urchins, she was able to excite cell division without maternal or paternal nucleus. Harvey speculated that her parthenogenetic meogones might mean that fundamental characteristics of living matter (such as cell division) were cytoplasmic, while genes controlled later, more specialized characteristics (like eye color). Today, sea urchins are very much in demand by connoisseurs, not only for their taste but supposed aphrodisiac ability, attributed to Dr. Harvey's work.
    1896 - Birthday of James Doolittle (d. 1993) at Alameda, CA.  American aviator and World War II hero, Lieutenant General in the US Army Air Force, he was the first person to fly across North America in less than a day. He was a pioneer in instrument landing techniques during the 1920s when flying was still in its infancy.  On Apr 18, 1942, Doolittle led a squadron of 16 B-25 bombers, launched from aircraft carriers, on the first US aerial raid on Japan of World War II.   Until that time, after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, the US was not faring well against the Japanese.  The daring raid was considered dangerous because the thought was that B-25s could not take off from a carrier.  While the damage to Tokyo was slight, it pierced the Japanese feeling of invincibility and turned US morale around that continued through the remainder of the war.  He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for this accomplishment. Doolittle also headed the Eighth Air Force during the Normandy invasion.
    1897- Birthday of Margaret Chase Smith (d. 1995) at Skowhegan, ME.   Smith was the first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress (1941 to the House and 1949 to the Senate). She was also one of seven Republican senators to issue a “declaration of conscience” to denounce Senator Joseph R. McCarthy's communist witch-hunt.
    1902 - The ship, "Silverton," set sail from the Bay Area to lay the first telephone cable between San Francisco, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. The project was finished by January 1, 1903.
    1903 – The Wright Brothers make the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, NC.  Coincidentally this was the same date in 1782 that the Montgolfier brothers succeeded in launching the first piloted ascent into the sky in a balloon, in France.  The three-second flight attempt stalled after takeoff and caused minor damage to the Flyer.  Following repairs, the Wrights took off again on December 17, 1903, making two flights each from level ground into a freezing headwind gusting to 27 miles per hour. The first flight, by Orville at 10:35 am, of 120 feet in 12 seconds, at a speed of only 6.8 miles per hour over the ground, was recorded in the famous photograph.  The next two flights covered approximately 175 and 200 feet, by Wilbur and Orville respectively. Their altitude was about 10 feet above the ground.
    1910 - Tenor sax player Budd Johnson (d. 1984) born Dallas, Texas.
    1911 - The elusive object of many expeditions dating from the 7th century, the South Pole was located and visited by Roald Amundsen with four companions and 52 sled dogs. All five men and 12 of the dogs returned to base camp safely. The next to visit the South Pole, January 17, 1912, was a party of five led by Captain Robert Scott, all of whom perished during the return trip. A search party found their frozen bodies 11 months later.
    1917 – June Taylor (d. 2004) was born in Chicago.  Best known as the founder of the June Taylor Dancers, who were featured on Jackie Gleason’s various television variety programs.  In 1946, Taylor met Gleason at a Baltimore nightclub. The two became friends when Taylor helped Gleason overcome a case of stage fright.  In 1948, Taylor made her television debut on “The Toast of the Town starring Ed Sullivan, where six of her original dancers appeared as The Toastettes.  Two years later, Taylor joined Gleason's Cavalcade of Stars, and followed him, along with 16 dancers, to “The Jackie Gleason Show,” where her signature was the overhead camera shot of the dancers making kaleidoscopic geometric patterns, reminiscent of the work of Busby Berkeley.  She won an Emmy for choreography in 1955.
    1920 - Trumpet Player Clark Terry (d. 2015) was born in St. Louis.
    1922 – Don Hewitt (d. 2009), the creator of CBS’ “60 Minutes” was born in NYC.  At the time of his death, “60 Minutes” was the longest-running prime-time broadcast on American television.  Under Hewitt's leadership, “60 Minutes” was the only news program ever rated the nation’s top-ranked television program, an achievement it accomplished five times.  Hewitt produced the first televised presidential debate in 1960, between candidates Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
    1924 - The temperature at Helena, MT, plunged 79 degrees in 24 hours, and 88 degrees in 34 hours. The mercury plummeted from 63 above to 25 below zero. At Fairfield, MT the temperature plunged 84 degrees in just 12 hours, from 63 at Noon to 21 below zero at midnight
    1934 - The first streamlined steam locomotive was introduced by the New York Central Lines between Albany and Kamer, NY. Built in West Albany, NY, it was named the “Commodore Vanderbilt” after the founder of the New York Central Lines. It developed 4,075 horsepower.
    1939 - Jimmy Lunceford Band records “Uptown Blues,” New York City.
    1939 - League of Nations, the international peacekeeping organization formed at the end of World War I, expels the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in response to the Soviets' invasion of Finland on October 30. President Roosevelt, although an "ally" of the USSR, condemned the invasion, causing the Soviets to withdraw from the New York World's Fair. And finally, the League of Nations, drawing almost its last breath, expelled it.
    1939 – Ernie Davis (d. 1963), the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy, was born in New Salem, PA.  After his All-American career at Syracuse University, Davis was drafted #1 by the Washington Redskins who traded him immediately to the Cleveland Browns.  He never played a professional game, as he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1962 and died at the age of 23. Davis was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979.
    1944 - NEPPEL, RALPH G., Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 329th Infantry, 83d Infantry Division. Place and date: Birgel, Germany, 14 December 1944. Entered service at: Glidden, lowa. Birth: Willey, lowa. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945. Citation: He was leader of a machinegun squad defending an approach to the village of Birgel, Germany, on 14 December 1944, when an enemy tank, supported by 20 infantrymen, counterattacked. He held his fire until the Germans were within 100 yards and then raked the foot soldiers beside the tank killing several of them. The enemy armor continued to press forward and, at the pointblank range of 30 yards, fired a high-velocity shell into the American emplacement, wounding the entire squad. Sgt. Neppel, blown 10 yards from his gun, had 1 leg severed below the knee and suffered other wounds. Despite his injuries and the danger from the onrushing tank and infantry, he dragged himself back to his position on his elbows, remounted his gun and killed the remaining enemy riflemen. Stripped of its infantry protection, the tank was forced to withdraw. By his superb courage and indomitable fighting spirit, Sgt. Neppel inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy and broke a determined counterattack.
    1944 - THOMAS, CHARLES L., Medal of Honor
Citation: For extraordinary heroism in action on 14 December 1944, near Climbach, France. While riding in the lead vehicles of a task force organized to storm and capture the village of Climbach, France, then First Lieutenant Thomas's armored scout car was subjected to intense enemy artillery, self-propelled gun, and small arms fire. Although wounded by the initial burst of hostile fire, Lieutenant Thomas signaled the remainder of the column to halt and, despite the severity of his wounds, assisted the crew of the wrecked car in dismounting. Upon leaving the scant protection which the vehicle afforded, Lieutenant Thomas was again subjected to a hail of enemy fire which inflicted multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, legs, and left arm. Despite the intense pain caused by these wounds, Lieutenant Thomas ordered and directed the dispersion and emplacement of two antitank guns which in a few moments were promptly and effectively returning the enemy fire. Realizing that he could no longer remain in command of the platoon, he signaled to the platoon commander to join him. Lieutenant Thomas then thoroughly oriented him on enemy gun dispositions and the general situation. Only after he was certain that his junior officer was in full control of the situation did he permit himself to be evacuated. First Lieutenant Thomas' outstanding heroism was an inspiration to his men and exemplifies the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.
    1946 – The United Nations voted to establish headquarters in NYC.
    1947 - Part-time auto racer and full-time promoter Bill France, Sr., tried to bring some order to the chaotic world of stock car racing by opening a 3-day meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida, among several warring factions. The result of the meeting was the creation of NASCAR, the National Association of Stock Car Automobile Racing, the body that has governed the sport ever since.
    1951 - Top Hits
“Sin (It's No)” - Eddy Howard
“Slowpoke” - Pee Wee King
“Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” - Gene Autry
“Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way” - Carl Smith
    1953 - 18-year old Sandy Koufax signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Until that date, Koufax reportedly had played no more than 20 games of baseball and was primarily a basketball player who walked on to the University of Cincinnati team as a freshman. During the next 12 seasons, he posted a 167-87 record, 2.76 ERA and 2,396 strikeouts, threw four no-hitters including a perfect game, 7-time All-Star, 4-time World Series champ, 2-time World Series MVP, one-time NL MVP, 3-time Cy Young Award winner and became the youngest inductee into the Baseball hall of Fame at age 35.
    1953 - "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas", recorded earlier in the year by 10 year old Gayla Peevey, inspired an Oklahoma City fund-raising effort to buy a hippopotamus for the Oklahoma City Zoo. Oklahomans raised $4,000 for the cause, with much of the money coming from children. The zoo bought a 3-year-old hippo named Matilda who had eight offspring and died in 1998.
    1954 - Birthday of Alan Kulwicki, auto racer, born at Greenfield, WI. Kulwicki was NASCAR's Rookie of the Year in 1987 and Winston Cup champion in 1992. He won 24 NASCAR races in 207 starts. He died in a plane crash, April 1, 1993. Maybe John Madden is right to travel by bus. Kulwicki was safer on the race track than in the air.
    1959 - Guy Mitchell achieves his second Billboard number one hit with "Heartaches by the Number."
    1959 - Top Hits
“Heartaches by the Number” - Guy Mitchell
“Mr. Blue” - The Fleetwoods
“In the Mood” - Ernie Field's Orch.
“The Same Old Me” - Ray Price
    1961 - In a public exchange of letters with South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem, President John F. Kennedy formally announces that the United States will increase aid to South Vietnam, which would include the expansion of the U.S. troop commitment. Shortly after President Kennedy was assassinated, there were more than 16,000 U.S. advisers in South Vietnam. Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, rapidly escalated the war, which resulted in the commitment of U.S. ground forces and eventually more than 500,000 American troops in Vietnam.
    1962 – NASA’s Mariner 2 became the first spacecraft to fly by Venus.
    1963 - The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand" begins a five week stretch at number one on the UK record charts, replacing their own "She Loves You".
    1963 - The dam containing the Baldwin Hills Reservoir burst, killing five people and damaging hundreds of homes in LA.
    1964 - The Supreme Court ruled that Congress can use the Constitution’s Commerce Clause to fight discrimination.  (Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States).
    1967 - Top Hits
“Daydream Believer” - The Monkees
“The Rain, the Park and Other Things” - The Cowsills
“I Say a Little Prayer” - Dionne Warwick
“It's the Little Things” - Sonny James
    1968 - Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson and Clover" is released.
    1968 - Iron Butterfly's epic "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" goes gold.
    1969 - San Diego wide receiver Lance Alworth sets a professional record with a pass reception in his 96th straight game.
    1970 - While golfing great Lee Trevino won only two tournaments during the year; he still became the top golf money-winner with his yearly earnings averaging $157,037.
    1970 - The National Press Club finally voted to admit women members.
    1972 – Astronaut Gene Cernan became the last person to walk on the moon, after he and Harrison Schmitt completed the third and final extra-vehicular activity (EVA) of the Apollo 17 mission.
    1974 - David Crosby and Graham Nash perform together in San Francisco at a benefit concert for the United Farm Workers and Project Jonah, a whale protection media project.
    1975 - Top Hits
“Fly, Robin, Fly” - Silver Convention
“Let's Do It Again” - The Staple Singers
“Saturday Night” - Bay City Rollers
“Love Put a Song in My Heart” - Johnny Rodriguez
    1977 - "Saturday Night Fever" premieres in New York City. It not only makes a star out of John Travolta, but spreads the disco craze throughout the country. The soundtrack is full of recent and soon-to-be dance hits by the Bee Gees, the Trammps, Kool and the Gang, MFSB, K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Yvonne Elliman. It will be one of the biggest-selling albums of all time.
    1980 - At Yoko Ono's request, at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, John Lennon fans around the world mourn him with ten minutes of silent prayer. In New York over 100,000 people converge in Central Park in tribute and in Liverpool, a crowd of 30,000 gatherers outside of St. George's Hall on Lime Street.
    1982 - Marcel Dionne of the Los Angeles Kings scored the 500th goal of his career in a 7-2 loss to the Washington Capitals. Dionne played from 1971-72 through 1988-89 and finished his career with 731 goals.
    1983 - Top Hits
“Say Say Say” - Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson
“Say It Isn't So” - Daryl Hall-John Oates
“Union of the Snake” - Duran Duran
“Tell Me a Lie” - Janie Fricke
    1985 - UCLA defeated American University, 1-0, with a goal in the eight overtime period to win the NCAAA soccer championship in the longest game in US college soccer history.
    1985 - The United States' high school football coach with the most wins called it quits. After 43 years, Gordon Wood, 71, of Brownwood High School in Central Texas, retired. Wood had a career record of 405 wins, 88 losses and 12 ties. The football stadium at Brownwood High was rebuilt and named after him.
    1985 - Wilma Mankiller takes the oath of office as the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the first time a woman has headed a major Native American tribe. ERRATA: Several people have written regarding Wilma Mankiller to say that her title was the first time since the European annexation of Amerindian lands and rights that a woman was recognized by the white people as a tribal chief. Evidently women “were” tribal leaders before the coming of the Europe
    1986 - Elton John records a live version of "Candle in the Wind" in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The song is released as a single and hits #6 on the chart.
    1986 - The experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world. On December 14, 1986, Yeager and Rutan began their history-making flight in the Voyager, flying the maximum circumference of the globe in nine days, three minutes and forty-four seconds.
    1987 - A powerful storm spread heavy snow from the Southern High Plains to the Middle Mississippi Valley, and produced severe thunderstorms in the Lower Mississippi Valley. During the evening a tornado hit West Memphis, TN killing six persons and injuring two hundred others. The tornado left 1500 persons homeless, and left all of the residents of Crittendon County without electricity. Kansas City, MO was blanketed with 10.8 inches of snow, a 24 hour record for December, and snowfall totals in the Oklahoma panhandle ranged up to 14 inches. Strong winds, gusting to 63 mph at Austin, TX, ushered arctic cold into the Great Plains, and caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow.
    1988 - The Miami Heat defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles to earn the first victory in the franchise's history. The Heat, in their first season, had gone 17 games without a win, an NBA record for most consecutive defeats at the start of a season.
    1989 - High winds and heavy snow prevailed from Montana to Colorado. Snowfall totals in Wyoming ranged up to 20 inches at Burgess Junction, leaving up to 48 inches on the ground in the northeast sections of the state. Wind gusts in Colorado reached 87 mph south of the town of Rollinsville. Strong northwesterly winds continued to produce heavy snow squalls in the Great Lakes Region. Totals in northeastern Lower Michigan ranged up to 29 inches at Hubbard Lake, with 28 inches reported at Posen. Two day totals in northeastern Wisconsin ranged up to thirty inches.
    1991 - Top Hits
“Black or White” - Michael Jackson
“It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” - Boyz II Men
“All 4 Love” - Color Me Badd
“For My Broken Heart” - Reba McEntire
    1997 - Phoenix Coyote Mike Gartner is 5th NHL player to score 700 goals
   1997 - Elton John's tribute to Princess Diana, "Candle in the Wind 1997," was at its ninth week at number 1 on the Billboard chart. The record would eventually pass Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" to become the largest selling single of all time.
    1999 - Top Hits
“Smooth” - Santana Featuring Rob Thomas
“Back At One” - Brian McKnight
“I Wanna Love You Forever” - Jessica Simpson
“I Knew I Loved You” - Savage Garden
    2002 - A powerful Pacific storm system plowed into the western United States during the 13th-16th, producing high winds, heavy rains, significant mountain snowfall and causing 9 deaths (Associated Press). Rainfall amounts exceeding 10 inches occurred in parts of California, and wind gusts over 45 mph produced up to 1.9 million power outages during the period.
    2008 - An Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad; Bush was not hit.
    2012 - Twenty-eight people, including the gunman, are killed in Sandy Hook (CT) Elementary School.  20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members.  Prior to driving to the school, Lanza shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home.  As first responders arrived at the scene, Lanza committed suicide by a shot to the head.
    2014 - Almost 200 nations at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Peru join an emissions reduction accord requiring each nation to post its plan online in 2015; the public can then pressure noncompliant nations to keep and strengthen their commitments



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