THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: APRIL 27, 1937

On April 27, 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge was completed.

The Golden Gate bridge, with its soaring art deco design, its ability to sway 27.5 feet in high winds, and its arches posed against the backdrop of the sea, more than any other monument symbolizes San Francisco. It spans a submerged cleft in the coastal mountain range, dubbed the “Golden Gate” by prospectors on their way to California’s gold fields in the mid-1800s. When completed in 1937, it was the world’s longest suspension bridge (1.86 miles) and the highest structure west of New York (745 feet). Its chief engineer was Joseph Strauss.

Its daily load of approximately 100,000 cars is supported by cables that are three feet in diameter. When the thick fog pours in rendering it invisible from land, the bridge’s distinct color, “international orange,” keeps seagulls from crashing into it.

Russell, Adrienne. “Golden Gate Bridge.” St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 2. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 259. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.

To learn more about the history of the Golden Gate Bridge, click here.

Golden Gate Bridge

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THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: APRIL 20 – 26

In 1953, James Watson (1928–) and Francis Crick (1916–2004) proposed their double helix model for the three-dimensional structure of DNA. They correctly deduced that the genetic information was encoded in the form of the sequence of nucleotides in the molecule. With their landmark discovery began an era of molecular genetics in biology. Eight years later investigators cracked the genetic code. They found that specific trinucleotide sequences—sequences of three nucleotides—are codes for each of 20 amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

Racenis, Patricia V. “Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).” The Gale Encyclopedia of Science. Ed. K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner. 5th ed. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2014. Science in Context. Web.

To learn more about DNA, click here.

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Get Smart About Money

Tax Day has come and gone but it’s not too late to get a handle on your finances. AP research found that 4 out of 5 Americans face financial insecurity at some point during their lives. That means 80% of us worry about losing a job or living on significantly lower income.

Here’s a list of the top four money problems we face.

  1. Not Having a Budget
    Over half of Americans don’t have a budget and 20% admit to not knowing how much they spend on housing, food and entertainment. If this sounds familiar, now’s the time to budget. To get started, work off the 50/20/30 rule. In other words, no more than 50% of your take-home pay  should go to essentials (rent, utilities, transportation, groceries), at least 20% should go to financial priorities (emergency fund, retirement, debt payment), and no more than 30% should go to lifestyle choices (eating out, shopping, travel, etc.)
  2. Forgetting to Save
    About 40% of adults say they are saving less than last year, and nearly the same number say they don’t have any savings, other than retirement, whatsoever. It’s important to put money aside for large purchases (like a house or vacation) or an emergency (like a car accident or illness). Ideally, your savings should cover at least six months of living expenses. And while we’re on the subject, it’s never too early to start saving for retirement.
  3. Overspending
    Over 25% of adults report they are spending more this year. But more importantly, are you spending responsibly? For many of us, we spend money based on emotion and without much thought. This is where that budget comes in handy.
  4. Mishandling Credit
    Almost 50% of Americans have credit card debt and the average household owes $15,611. Most often people don’t understand their credit scores or view their credit report. Websites, like Credit Karma, allow you to view your credit score for free. A credit score of 650 is considered healthy; anything over 700 is impressive. And regular review of your credit report could help prevent identity theft.

Want to learn more? Check out all of the free financial clinics @ Your Library and get smart about money.

Understanding Home Mortgages
April 20, 6 PM at Batesburg-Leesville Branch Library

Understanding Credit
April 20, 6 PM at Chapin Branch Library

Planning for Retirement
April 21, 6 PM, at Lexington Main Library
April 21, 7 PM at Irmo Branch Library

Avoiding Online Scams
April 21, 6:30 PM at Cayce-West Columbia Branch Library

Managing Your Money Online
April 23, 5 PM at South Congaree-Pine Ridge Branch Library

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: APRIL 13 – APRIL 19

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This week in history, we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first presidential assassination in United States history. On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, less than a week after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox — which ended a long and bloody Civil War — Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre. Booth, part of a larger conspiracy to revive the Confederate cause, was a well-known actor. The president died early the next day.

Captain Roeliff Brinkerhoff was sitting across from the president’s box during the Performance on the night Lincoln was assassinated. He was one of the few to notice Booth approach the presidential party.

In his words:

“It was in the third act, when one of my friends called my attention to the President’s box with the remark, “There’s a reporter going to see Father Abraham.” I looked and saw a man standing at the door of the President’s box, with his hat on and looking down upon the stage …

He took off his hat and put his hand on the door knob, and went into the little hall or corridor back of the box. I then turned to the play. Presently, I can not say how soon, it may have been two, three or five minutes, I heard a pistol shot. I turned to the President’s box …

For a moment there was a stillness of death … I saw Mr. Lincoln seated in a chair with his head dropped upon his breast, but in all other respects he retained the position he had before he was shot … His face was very pale, and the stamp of death upon it, which once seen rarely deceives us.”

Source: ‘I heard a pistol shot’: a soldier who rarely went to the theater witnessed the drama of the century on April 14, 1865.” America’s Civil War Mar. 2015: 44+. U.S. History in Context. Web.

To learn more about Lincoln’s assassination, click here.

April is National Autism Awareness Month

AutismMonth

Nearly a quarter century ago, the Autism Society launched a nationwide effort to promote autism awareness, inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that each person with ASD is provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life. This year we want to go beyond simply promoting autism awareness to encouraging friends and collaborators to become partners in movement toward acceptance and appreciation.

The characteristic behaviors of autism spectrum disorder may be apparent in infancy (18 to 24 months), but they usually become clearer during early childhood (24 months to 6 years).

As part of a well-baby or well-child visit, your child’s doctor should perform a “developmental screening,” asking specific questions about your baby’s progress. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) lists five behaviors that warrant further evaluation:

  • Does not babble or coo by 12 months
  • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
  • Does not say single words by 16 months
  • Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
  • Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age

Any of these five “red flags” does not mean your child has autism. But because the disorder’s symptoms vary so widely, a child showing these behaviors should be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. This team might include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant or other professionals who are knowledgeable about autism.

For more information, visit the Infants and Toddlers page or the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early” program.

April is Jazz Appreciation Month

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Jazz Appreciation Month was created by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2002 to celebrate the uniquely American heritage of jazz.

Jazz was developed as a fusion of ragtime, blues and band music that originated in the African-American culture of New Orleans during the first decade of the 1900s. By 1919, jazz reached Chicago and became a national phenomenon with wide acceptance into the dance scene and the musical style began to be exported to Europe.

A few of the prominent musicians that are noted for their contributions to the jazz genre are Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Nina Simone and Fletcher Henderson.

For more information about the history of jazz music, check out the following links:

http://americanhistory.si.edu/smithsonian-jazz/jazz-appreciation-month

or

http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/ebconcise/jazz/0?searchId=1804da63-da1f-11e4-9914-12c1d36507ee&result=2

To hear some Jazz and the history of Storyville, New Orleans click this link: http://goo.gl/6Xzy4d

THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: APRIL 5 – APRIL 12

This week in history Juan Ponce de León discovered Florida on April 8, 1513. Spain’s exploration of the region known as La Florida began in 1513 when Juan Ponce de León sailed to the area looking for riches and slaves. Within the next three years at least three other expeditions explored both the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. In 1521 Spanish slavers made it as far north as the Santee River in South Carolina. Other explorers also made their way to and through these southeastern regions. In 1528 Pánfilo de Narváez set out with some four hundred black and white men to explore and perhaps settle the Florida Gulf Coast. Only four men survived and in one of the great heroic sagas of the century made their way back to Mexico City after wandering for eight years. Between 1539 and 1543 Hernando de Soto and five hundred followers covered an area from Tampa Bay to Tampico,

“La Florida.” American Eras. Vol. 2: The Colonial Era, 1600-1754. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 126-129. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web.

To learn more about early explorations of Florida, click here.

To learn more about Juan Ponce de León, click here.

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