Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, April 22nd. On this date 31 years ago, executives at one of America’s and the world’s most famous consumer brands were confidently looking forward to the morrow. After much research, experimentation and extensive taste testing, a reformulated Coca-Cola was launched on April 23, 1985. The historic company was surprised by the negative, noisy consumer reaction, and New Coke became something of a synonym for product failure. The original Coca-Cola, designated as “Classic,” was rushed back to retailers by July 11 that year. New Coke staggered on for a time alongside “the Real Thing,” but is no longer available in the U.S. Nearly 480 American companies engage in soft drink manufacturing, employing 45,000 people in the $34 billion a year business. Profile America is completing  its19th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Saturday, April 23rd. America’s first — and oldest — school is celebrating its 381st birthday today. The Boston Latin School started in 1635 with a handful of students meeting in the headmaster’s home. Stressing a classical education and the development of independent thought, the school has long been considered one of the top public secondary schools in the nation. Its list of graduates includes John Hancock, George Santayana, and Leonard Bernstein. Ben Franklin is one of its famous dropouts. Today, there are over 77 million children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country — from nursery school to college. They comprise 25.5 percent of the entire population age 3 and older. Of those students, 16.6 million are in high school. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <>.

Sunday, April 24th. Early America certainly was a simpler society than that which we have today, but some of today’s familiar institutions were part of the national experience over 200 years ago. On this date in 1795, the city of Baltimore set up a permanent, elected board of health, successor to the nation’s first such appointed agency. The first board was created by Maryland’s governor to cope with yellow fever epidemics beginning in 1792. At one point, the city of Baltimore quarantined or turned away travelers fleeing hard-hit Philadelphia. Board of health or no, Baltimore was affected in 1794 and hundreds died as a result. Across the country, there are 1.9 million people employed in federal, state and local government hospitals and health services. Over 700,000 are working at the local level. Profile America is completing  its19th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.