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Boscola Bulletin

History & Facts of the Fourth of July

We celebrate Independence Day every year on July 4.  On this day, we commemorate the Declaration of Independence, although the Second Continental Congress had voted to declare independence 2 days earlier, on July 2, 1776, however it was not officially declared until July 4, 1776.
Celebrations of the Fourth of July became common as the years went on and in 1870, almost a hundred years after the Declaration was written, Congress first declared July 4 to be a national holiday as part of a bill to officially recognize several holidays, including Christmas. Further legislation about national holidays, including July 4, was passed in 1939 and 1941.

FlagDid you know that the first official public reading of the document was by John Nixon in the yard of Independence Hall in Philadelphia on July 8? Public readings also took place on that day in Trenton, New Jersey, and our very own Easton, Pennsylvania in Northampton County.

A mural that hangs in the Northampton County Courthouse depicts this famous event in the history of Northampton County, Pennsylvania. The Declaration of Independence was read to the people of the county from the steps of the old county courthouse, which stood in Centre Square, Easton. A large crowd had gathered. The colonel and field officers of the 1st Battalion were among the select group gatherer' about the entrance to the building. Before the reading began, a company of Light Infantry marched down Northampton Street to the beating of drums and the sounds of fifes. The Ensign of the company carried a flag, the forerunner of our national emblem. A Philadelphia paper, published on July 11th of that year, in describing the ceremonies in connection with the reading of the Declaration at Easton, mentions the flag in the following words: - "the standard, the device for which is the thirteen united colonies, - was ordered displayed." This early flag with its stars and stripes may be seen at the Easton Area Public Library.

Fireworks & Common Sense on the Fourth

With recent changes in state law, it has made things a little easier for residents to buy certain types of fireworks. In 2017, the state passed House Bill 542, which repealed the state's existing Fireworks Act.

fireworksThanks to the new bill, Pennsylvania residents are legally allowed to purchase — and set off in state —"consumer grade" fireworks - which includes firecrackers, Roman Candles, bottle rockets, and similar products. Fireworks cannot contain more than 50 milligrams of explosive material, according to the new law.

With the legalization of consumer fireworks in the Commonwealth, it does not mean that you can use fireworks anytime and anywhere you want. Residents and visitors are reminded to please use fireworks responsively and with consideration and respect to others, their property and pets.

Every summer, municipalities respond to numerous complaints of fireworks being set off late at night, on public property, on private property, and adults and kids being injured by fireworks. Remember that fireworks are not toys and every year in the U.S., there are thousands of firework related injuries and incidents of property damage.

Fireworks also affect people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sudden loud bangs, explosions can cause PTSD symptoms to reoccur in people recovering from a traumatic event or military service. Please consider what you are doing and how it affects others.

Police also respond to dozens of reports of firework upsetting people’s pets. Dogs in particular are affected by the loud noise and flashes, causing many to break leashes, panic, become disoriented, frightened and run. Did you know, more dogs run away on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year?

While the new law allows these Class C fireworks to be used in Pennsylvania, it does restrict where they are allowed to be set off. According to state police, fireworks cannot be used in the following locations:

  • On any public or private property without the permission of the owner
  • Inside a motor vehicle or building
  • Toward a motor vehicle or building
  • Within 150 feet of a building that is occupied

And, of course, anyone who is intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance is not legally allowed to shoot off fireworks. Fireworks may be purchased at any licensed facility by individuals aged 18 or older.  Please be careful. Please be considerate.  Make sure to check with your municipality for any ordinances that might be different from those few listed above.

Some Safe Grilling Tips for Your Picnics Today

fireworksThe Fourth of July is upon us and there will be a lot of grilling going on!  Three out of five households own a gas grill, which translates to a lot of tasty meals. But it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires. Please remember to never leave your grill unattended while you are cooking. The number one cause of residential fires is unattended cooking. Please - the gas grill should be checked for gas leaks, deterioration, proper assembly, and burner obstructions before using to avoid any malfunction.

Make sure children are away from the grill & know not to touch the grill as children under five accounted for 1,700 (37%) of the 4,500 thermal non-fire grill burns. These were typically contact burns rather than flame burns.

One last thing, make sure to clean your gas grill after each use.  This will remove grease that can cause a fire & help reduce any mishap that may occur otherwise. 

It is a lot to remember, but these are small things we can do to take full advantage of long summer days to keep our food tasting good and our families safe.

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Offices of State Senator Lisa M. Boscola

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Bethlehem, PA 18018
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