Monday Open Line

Much is being written and said about the nation’s dependency on foreign oil and the daily need to fuel our cars, trucks, railroad locomotives, ships and jetliners. The U.S. petroleum industry got its start on this date in 1859, when “Uncle” Billy Smith saw a dark film floating on the water of a shaft he was digging near Titusville, Pennsylvania. Soon, the nation’s first commercial oil well was pumping out crude oil. Today, there are 526,000 oil wells in the U.S., producing just under 2 billion barrels of crude oil a year. But to meet our daily needs, we import about 1½ times that amount annually. That means some three-of-every-five gallons of crude oil we use comes from overseas. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunday, August 26th. This is National Safe at Home Week. The idea is that most people feel their home is a haven away from the dangers of the world. After all, you’re not driving on the highway or at work, or crossing a busy street on foot. But people should be aware that’s a false impression. The leading cause of injuries around the house is tripping while walking on the floor. More than 1.3 million people are hurt that way each year. About the same number are injured on stairways or steps. Many injuries are also caused by common home furnishings, such as beds, tables, and chairs. And more than 440,000 are injured annually riding their bikes. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <>.

Saturday, August 25th. All summer long, millions of Americans have been flocking to the nation’s network of national parks, monuments and recreation areas, including national parkways, seashores and lake shores, and park service campgrounds. It was on this date in 1916 that the National Park Service was founded, with the charge to promote and regulate the areas under its jurisdiction, as well as preserve the scenery and wildlife for the enjoyment of future generations. Now, there are more than 80 million acres in the National Park System. Each year, over 285 million people visit facilities from Alaska to Florida and from California to Maine. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <>.