December 18

The Nutcracker, composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky made its premier performance in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1892. The libretto is derived from the Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffmann. While the original production was not very successful, the suite extracted from the ballet became very popular. The complete Nutcracker has become very popular in the United States since the 1960s, and is most often performed during the Christmas season.


The Shippingport Atomic Power Station produced electricity for the first time in 1957. It was located on the Ohio River in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Over its 25-year life span, the reactor produced about 7.4 billion-kilowatt hours of electricity. It was taken out of service on October 1, 1982 and the Beaver Valley Nuclear Generating Station is located at the same site.


In 2003, Gary Ridgway was sentenced to 48 life sentences with no possibility of parole, to be served consecutively. He was also given 480 more years in prison for tampering with evidence in the 48 murders he committed. Ridgway was known as the Green River Killer, murdering women and girls in Washington State and California in the 1980s and 1990s. The first five victims were found in the Green River in Washington State. After strangling his victims, he dumped their bodies in forested areas of King County. Ridgway was arrested on November 20, 2001 as he was leaving work and a plea bargain he made saved his life in exchange for information about missing victims.


Birthdays Today


1888Robert Moses, American urban planner, designed the Northern State Parkway and Southern State Parkway (d. 1981)

1916Betty Grable, American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 1973)

1917Ossie Davis, American actor and activist (d. 2005)

1943Keith Richards, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (The Rolling Stones, The Dirty Mac, and The New Barbarians)

1946Steve Biko, South African activist, founded the Black Consciousness Movement (d. 1977)

1946Steven Spielberg, American director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded DreamWorks

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.