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EDITORIAL: Ringing in the new year

Las Vegas casinos, nightclubs and restaurants want you to enjoy one of the biggest celebrations on the planet tonight — and local law enforcement and others want to make sure you do it safely.

Fireworks will light up the sky above the Strip and across the valley, nightclubs will host superstar celebrities and restaurants will offer special menus and plenty of champagne. More than 300,000 visitors will spend New Year’s Eve here, and local authorities and transportation companies will do everything they can to make sure as many happy and safe revelers — and not sirens — ring in the new year as possible.

In order to help keep crowds safe, Metro police officers — both in uniform and undercover — plan to fan out across the city. They’ll be getting assistance from the FBI, National Guard and Secret Service.

A new Clark County ordinance bans glass bottles, backpacks, coolers, strollers and large bags on the Strip from 6 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. tomorrow morning. Police will first warn people to put the items in their hotel rooms or cars, then confiscate items from — and possibly arrest and fine — those who fail to comply.

There will also be 4,200 crowd-control barriers in place across the city, and the Strip will be closed to vehicles between Mandalay Bay Road in the south and Sahara in the north from about 6 p.m. until a few hours after midnight tonight. Off-ramps from Interstate 15 near the Strip will be closed, as well, and there will be increased efforts to keep cars out of pedestrian areas.

A first-time DUI conviction in Nevada can cost you up to $12,000 in fines, penalties, restitution, legal fees and increased insurance rates. If you happen to be too drunk or too tired to drive, you’ll have several free and low-cost options to get home safely.

Free bus rides will be provided on all routes from 6 p.m. tonight until 9 a.m. New Year’s Day, and AAA’s Tipsy Tow program will offer you a free lift up to 10 miles on New Year’s Eve — whether you’re a AAA member or not. Call 800-222-4357 if you need the service.

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft are offering discounted rides. Lyft will also provide access to the Strip today via a pick-up and drop-off point at the Fashion Show Mall from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Uber will have designated pick-up and drop-off areas at the SLS, Mandalay Bay and Linq hotel-casinos.

Have a happy and safe New Year. Have a good time, pay attention on the roads and get a ride if you need one. We’ll see you in 2017.

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