This Week's Facts:
Fourth of July Fast Facts
Your patrons may want to know…
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation. As always, this most American of holidays will be marked by parades, fireworks, and backyard barbecues across the country.
In July 1776, the estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation was 2.5 million. (Source: Historical Statistics of the United States: Colonial Times to 1970)
The nation's estimated population on July 4, 2012 is 313.9 million. (Source: Population clock)
Enjoy more fun facts about the 4th of July on the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features website.
Attention all motorcycle enthusiasts! Join Governor Mitch Daniels and American Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) on the Ride with the Governor Friday, Aug. 10. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Indiana National Guard Relief Fund. This is the 8th year that the ride has taken place. Video from previous years 2011 and 2010 are available on the Governor’s website. More information will be posted here about this year’s ride as it is made available. A promotional group code is also available on the website for riders who are interested in staying overnight in French Lick. Ride on!
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Fireworks – though fun, exciting, and beautiful - can also be fatal. The Indiana State Police and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security remind Hoosiers to practice common sense and safe practices when handling or discharging fireworks. Some tips to remember when handling fireworks are: Never let children handle, play with, or light fireworks; Store fireworks in a cool, dry place; Use a clear, open area and keep your audience a safe distance from the shooting site; and do not alter any fireworks device or attempt to make your own fireworks. These and many other tips are on the Department of Homeland Security’s website.
In addition to safety rules, Indiana law requires that only individuals over 18 can purchase fireworks and must be present when anyone younger than 18 uses or has fireworks. For more safety tips, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has a video about fireworks safety. Have a happy, safe Fourth of July!
Indiana and surrounding states have been experiencing record heat and droughts this month. Many states have experienced dangerous brush fires that can lead to emergency situations. In dry conditions, fires can ignite and spread very quickly. Normal summertime activities such as grilling, fireworks, and backyard fires have the potential to cause devastating fires. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security offers tips and resources, such as Burn Ban Maps and the U.S. Drought Monitor, as well as information on extreme heat to help keep you and your family safe during this dry weather period. Check with your local fire department or county commission for information on burn bans in your community.
Fifty years ago, U.S. Astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn circled the Earth three times in the Friendship 7 space capsule. Glenn was the first American to orbit Earth. Details about the launch are listed on the Kennedy Space Center Friendship 7 website. The safe result of his solo mission helped NASA complete Project Mercury, which was the first project of its size for the agency. Mercury was the precursor to Projects Gemini and Apollo, which lead to the United States landing on the moon. The Friendship 7 capsule which propelled Glenn around the planet took on celebrity status after the mission. The capsule was flown on a 30-city tour of the globe via a U.S. Air Force cargo plane where it was made available for viewing at public events, fairs, and parades.
You can learn more about the tour on the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website, Friendship 7’s ‘Fourth Orbit’. Photos, videos, links, and biographies associated with Friendship 7 and Project Mercury are available on NASA’s History website.
Be careful on the Indiana highways this weekend. The Indiana State Police and other state police agencies are working together on a six-state Trooper Project. This collaboration between Indiana and surrounding states will look for impaired drivers on the roadways. On June 29 and 30, the Indiana State Police will conduct checkpoints and saturation patrols throughout the State. You can make Indiana roadways safer by practicing a few common sense safety tips: Call a taxi if you’ve had too much to drink; offer non-alcoholic drinks at events and make sure guests leave with a sober driver; and take the car keys away from someone you know who’s had too much to drink. Plan to help make this weekend safe for all motorists.
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