Friday / Weekend Open Lines

Friday, July 8th. This week in 1898, the U.S. began absorbing an island paradise en route to making it a treasured part of the nation. President William McKinley signed a resolution annexing the Hawaiian islands, then an independent republic. A short time later, Congress made Hawaii an incorporated territory of the U.S., which it remained until achieving statehood in 1959. For most Americans on the mainland, Hawaii is the ultimate vacation, with its lovely scenery and an average annual temperature of around 75 degrees. Tourism, defense, and raising sugar cane and pineapples are the mainstays of the economy. More than 1.4 million Americans call Hawaii home — about half of them Asian, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <>.

Saturday, July 9th. A number of special observances are held in July — three of them seem just right for summer. It’s not only National Grilling Month but also National Hot Dog Month and, since 1984, National Ice Cream Month. Whether we call them frankfurters or just plain hot dogs, Americans eat some 7 billion of them during the summer months, grilled, microwaved, or boiled. While more hot dogs are consumed during the season, they are popular all year round — part of nearly $49 billion of processed meats sold in the U.S. each year. And when it comes to ice cream, we especially savor the cold treat during the summer and scoop it out all year long. Americans consume a per capita average of nearly 23 pounds of frozen dairy products annually. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <>.

Sunday, July 10th. It took a while after the invention of the gas-powered automobile by Karl Benz in Germany in 1886 for someone to steal the wheels. The first stolen car is said to be of a French aristocrat’s Peugeot in Paris in 1896. In this country, the first auto theft is believed to have occurred in St. Louis in 1905. But this slow beginning has become an all-too-robust present. With July and August being the peak months for automotive thefts, this is National Vehicle Theft Protection Month. The goal is to raise public awareness of the danger, and remind drivers to above all take their keys and lock their vehicles. Nationally, a motor vehicle is stolen on average every 45 seconds, and safeguarding against this threat contributes to the insurance industry’s annual revenue of over $1.6 trillion. Profile America is in its 20th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.