On this date in 1882, the world’s first hydroelectric power plant began operating on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. Inspired by Thomas Edison, a man named H.F. Rogers built the facility, using a water wheel to power the lights in the two mills of the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company, a nearby building, and his home. Soon, hydroelectric power plants were spurring industrial growth in many parts of the country. Now, water-generated electricity accounts for 7 percent of power in the U.S., and is most important in the west. Nationally, most of the nearly 4 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity generated is from coal-fired plants, followed by those using natural gas, and nuclear power. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.
Sunday, September 29th. As National Hispanic Heritage Month continues, and another fiscal year draws to a close, much attention is focused on the country’s economic performance. The 53 million strong Hispanic community in the United States inhabits a formidable and expanding place in the nation’s economy. Over 19 percent of Hispanics over the age of 16 work in management, business, science, and arts occupations. When tabulated recently, there were 2.3 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., an increase of almost 46 percent from five years earlier. A greater surge is seen in revenues from Hispanic-owned businesses. Receipts totaled over $350 billion, up more than 58 percent from the earlier figure. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.
Saturday, September 28th. This month in 1837, the Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Ohio became the first college in the U.S. to grant equal status to men and women in degree programs. Now known as Oberlin College, its leadership reasoned that many mothers and sisters often served as the only teachers available on the nation’s frontier — so better educated women would make superior teachers. During its history, Oberlin was the first to routinely admit African-Americans, granted the first degree to a black woman, and was one of the first to have coeducational dormitories. Today, coeducational schools are the norm, and of the 42 percent of the population age 18 to 24 enrolled in college, more than 12 million are women, compared to about 9 million men. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.