TIME Culture

Here’s What You Shouldn’t Do With Fireworks This Fourth of July

Make sure you have all five fingers on July 5th.

Fireworks are fun and just as much a part of Independence Day celebrations as cookouts, but please, Please, PLEASE be careful.

To deter you from setting your house ablaze with a mix of patriotic fervor, alcohol, and black powder, here are five of the biggest pyrotechnic mishaps ever. Observe the proximity of the bystanders, the lack of forethought, the size of the explosives and make yourself a mental checklist of proper protocol tomorrow before putting that M-80 in your pool. Which you shouldn’t do.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

TIME Aviation

France Beefs Up Security on Flights to U.S.

France Airport Security
A French soldier stands in front of the desk of American airline company 'Delta Air Lines' in Nice airport, south eastern France, July 4, 2014. Lionel Cironneau—AP

Amid terrorism concerns

France is ramping up security measures on all outgoing flights to the U.S. following terrorism warnings.

“At the request of American authorities, security measures at airports for flights bound to the United States have been increased for the summer period,” the French Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement Friday.

American authorities said Wednesday that they’re concerned al-Qaeda might be developing a new kind of bomb that could be smuggled onto planes. The Obama Administration told foreign airports with direct flights to the U.S. to increase their security measures.

The French agency warned that delays are possible and recommended all passengers flying to the U.S. arrive early. The move follows British airports agreeing to increase airport security Thursday.

France has not elaborated on the measures it intends to implement.


TIME Immigration

The Family Fireworks Sellers of South Texas

Around the Fourth of July, a few families near the Mexican border devote their lives to selling sparklers

When it came time to name Nelson Zamora, his paternal Mexican grandmother had just one request: give him a name that sounds American, but is easy to pronounce in Spanish. Like many Americans with roots in Mexico, Nelson and his wife Cynthia Fuentes straddle two worlds, even if they mostly stay on one side of the border.

In Mission, Texas, a small city not far from the southern border where Nelson and Cynthia live, the demarcation between the U.S. and Mexico can seem fluid. Travelers pass back and forth, sometimes legally through a checkpoint and sometimes in the dark of night through the waters of the Rio Grande. Cynthia has seen new arrivals around town, mothers with babies looking dazed and others desperately in need of water. She helps when she can.

Every summer since 1998, Cynthia and Nelson, who were both born in Texas, have operated a stall selling fireworks for the Fourth of July. Fireworks are illegal in the state, except at this time of year and just before New Year’s Eve.

Working on 20 percent commission, the couple can earn as much as $3,000 a season. “We’ve made good money,” says Cynthia. “It’s kept us coming back.”

When they’re not selling fireworks, Cynthia runs a home-based business making and selling piñatas. Nelson drives a forklift for a citrus company, seasonal work that won’t begin again until August. To accommodate their daughter and two grandchildren who’ve come with them to the fireworks stall this year, Cynthia and Nelson built a makeshift camper in the bed of their pickup truck. They are required to stay on site 24 hours a day.

“We brought our AC from the house, the television and the DVD for the kids,” says Cynthia. “It’s fun. We’re all together and we’re talking.”

On July 4th, after the last customers have gone, Cynthia and Nelson will buy some fireworks for themselves, close up the stall and go celebrate American independence as a family.

TIME Infectious Disease

Beware Bugs at Your July 4th BBQ

Asian Tiger Mosquito biting on human skin
Getty Images

An Independence Day warning

There’s a little bit of good news for backyard barbecuers this summer—that frightening new virus called chikungunya is not likely to get you. But West Nile virus just might.

Chikungunya has been making headlines because it’s spread rapidly across the Caribbean and Central America in just half a year, infecting 260,000 people and killing 21. But a recent study suggests the United States has a bit of time on its side…

Read the rest of the story on NBC News

TIME Culture

WATCH: The Delicious History of the Hot Dog

The history of tubular meat goes way back.

Red hots, dogs, brats, frankfurters, wieners, sausages — whatever you call them, you’re probably getting ready to scarf down some hot dogs on the Fourth of July.

Before they were on your picnic table, hot dogs graced the fires of ancient Greece, the beer houses of Germany and the White City of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Whether accompanied with sauerkraut, slathered in mustard or just nestled in a bun, no food represents America’s melting pot better than the well-traveled, immigrant hot dog.

TIME Aviation

Dust Storm Grounds Arizona Flights

A violent dust storm resulted in delays at Phoenix Sky Harbor airport

Arizona’s largest airport ground to a halt Thursday night after a dust storm hit the area.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was forced to halt all flights between 8:00 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. local time as a result of the storm’s fierce and obscuring winds. The airport said on Twitter that the delays were “due to a summer monsoon storm” and forced the diversion of 24 planes to other airports.

Once the storm, which hit Phoenix at about 7:30 p.m., had abated, flights were able to resume. But the airport warned that “delays are still possible.”

At the storm’s peak, more than 10,000 people were without power and parts of the state were under a thunderstorm watch.

TIME National Monuments

84 Years Later: The Making of Mount Rushmore

The memorial that immortalized four presidents took more than a decade to carve out of the rock. But on July 4th, 1930, in the early days of construction, a dedication was held for the head of George Washington.

The Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum began carving the heads of four presidents out of South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore in 1927, embarking on an ambitious project to build one of America’s most iconic memorials. Today, the heads of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt attract more than 2 million visitors every year.

But construction was predictably laborious, and Borglum died in 1941 before he could see his project finished. His son, Lincoln Borglum, completed the sculpture later that year. Today, on the 84th anniversary of the Fourth of July dedication of Washington’s head in the early years of carving, TIME looks back at the construction of the memorial that immortalized four presidents.

TIME weather

Hurricane Arthur Heads Northeast, Brings July 4 Travel Chaos

Gridlock spans the Eastern U.S. with more than a thousand flights canceled on a weekend when 41 million Americans are expected to travel

Updated 12:11 p.m. E.T.

Hurricane Arthur made its way north up the East Coast on Friday, after forcing thousands of Fourth of July vacationers to evacuate and creating gridlock on highways and skyways as rain scrambled holiday plans and rescheduled fireworks shows.

After the hurricane made landfall late Thursday night, the National Weather Service said North Carolina could get eight inches of rain on Friday, while areas as far north as Cape Cod in Massachusetts could se six inches. Arthur became a Category 2 storm overnight, and fierce winds were expected to push into Virginia on Friday. Authorities warned of coastal flooding and dangerous ocean conditions up and down the East Coast, and tropical storm warnings were in effect all the way to Cape Cod. It weakened to a Category 1 storm Friday morning as it moved up the East Coast.

Despite sunny skies forecast for the weekend, heavy rain had already wreaked havoc on Fourth of July plans. Cities as far north as Boston had rescheduled their fireworks for Thursday night or later in the weekend in anticipation of soggy weather.

Arthur was the earliest hurricane to hit North Carolina since record-keeping efforts began in 1851. The storm system continued to bring heavy rains and winds of up to 100 m.p.h. early Friday morning, with meteorologists anticipating “little change in strength” as the storm grazes the Eastern seaboard over the course of the day.

More than 21,000 people across North and South Carolina were without electricity early Friday morning, the Associated Press reports. The storm was heading northeast at 22 m.p.h. and was about 80 miles north of Cape Lookout, N.C., by early Friday, CNN reports.

Arthur created a pattern of gridlock spanning the U.S. More than a thousand flights had been canceled by midday Thursday—a frustrating start to a weekend when 41 million Americans were projected to travel.

“I found out at 5 p.m. [on Wednesday] that my 7:50 p.m. flight was canceled due to ‘air-traffic congestion [because of Arthur],” Taylor Laub, who was scheduled to fly to Philadelphia from Atlanta, told TIME from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Her rescheduled flight had been “successively delayed” into late Thursday night.

The scene at Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday afternoon was chaos as Hurricane Arthur continued to gather strength off the coast of North Carolina. Passengers on flights scheduled to leave mid-afternoon were still waiting at 8:30 p.m.

One such passenger was David Luterman, who did his best to ignore the turmoil around him, reading a magazine in front of Gate 2 in Reagan National’s Terminal A, waiting to take off on what should have been a 3:40 p.m. Jet Blue flight to Boston. “Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize,” a Jet Blue employee announced over the loudspeaker around 5:45 p.m. “We’re just waiting for the lightning to clear for the ramp to open so we can land, disembark and clean the plane to continue on to Boston. We hope to have you on your way as soon as possible.”

Three hours later, that flight still hadn’t boarded.

Luterman had hoped make it back to his Boston-area home to spend the holiday weekend with his family. “I really want to get home,” he said.

In the days preceding the storm, state authorities warned of flooding and other damage, prompting mandatory evacuations in vulnerable areas and forcing thousands of vacationers to make alternate plans for their Fourth of July weekend. Tourism officials in North Carolina had initially projected a quarter of a million people to travel to the beaches of the Outer Banks for the holiday.

“We’ve lost a lot of business because of the storm — people are afraid of hurricanes,” said Jeff, the night manager of the Nags Head Inn in Nags Head, N.C., early Friday morning. “We were expecting to be 80 to 90% full, and now it’s looking more like 60.”

Storm preparation is a familiar routine along the North Carolina coast, where some of the most devastating tropical cyclones of recent years have made landfall. As Arthur churned in the Atlantic on Thursday, local supermarkets were crowded with residents stocking up on flashlights and bottled water. The town of Surf City canceled its Fourth of July celebration.

Rough surf and rip currents will remain a major concern along East Coast beaches, and swimmers have been advised to be extra cautious.

At the same time, a good number of North Carolinians have responded with indifference, dismissing the ongoing media coverage of the hurricane as unnecessarily alarmist.

“We had a big increase in sales today, which is normal when hurricanes come,” an employee at a Harris Teeter grocery store in the beach town of Kitty Hawk said. “But it’s really not too bad. It seems pretty overhyped.”

-Additional reporting by Jay Newton-Small/Washington

TIME Crime

Police Say the Hot-Car Toddler Died While His Dad Was Sexting

Justin Ross Harris
Justin Ross Harris, the father of a toddler who died after police say he was left in a hot car for about seven hours, sits during his bond hearing in Cobb County Magistrate Court, Thursday, July 3, 2014, in Marietta, Ga. Kelly J. Huff—AP

Detectives say man sent explicit messages to women as son died in car

On Thursday a judge denied bail to Justin Ross Harris, a man whose 22-month-old son died after being left in his hot car, after finding probable cause to charge him with felony murder and child cruelty. Harris, of Cobb County, Georgia, has pleaded not guilty.

At the hearing, detectives shared incriminating evidence that had been found on Harris’ computer, tablet and smartphone. Lead investigator Phil Stoddard testified that Harris had been sending explicit text messages to six different women through an app called Kik — including a picture of his erect penis to a 16-year-old girl — while his son Cooper Harris was trapped in the car for hours and subsequently died. According to Stoddard, Harris may also be charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.

Detectives also found evidence on Harris’ computer that he had been reading articles on a Reddit page called “child-free”— a thread for people who do not have or want children — in the months leading up to the incident. Harris had also twice watched a public-service-announcement video that dramatized the results of leaving an animal in a hot car. The last time it was watched was only five days before his son died on June 18. Detectives say that Internet searches also revealed Harris was looking for tips on how to survive in prison.

Harris’ wife Leanna explained to police that they had watched the video after she saw a public-service announcement reminding parents not to leave children in cars, CNN reported.

During the hearing, detectives also claimed that Harris was exhibiting strange behavior after he had been interrogated. In the interview room, his wife asked him what he told police. “And she looks at him, and she’s like, ‘Well, did you say too much?'” Stoddard testified.

The Cobb County medical examiner’s office has said that Cooper’s cause of death was “consistent with hyperthermia and the investigative information suggests the manner of death is homicide.”

Cooper’s funeral was held in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday.

TIME White House

Obama Will Host Naturalization Ceremony To Mark Fourth of July

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to people at 1776, a tech startup hub, on July 3, 2014 in Washington, DC. The president will host a naturalization ceremony for military men and women who are non-Americans. Brendan Smialowski—AFP/Getty Images

Obama alluded to the event in a Monday speech

President Barack Obama will host a naturalization ceremony for American military servicemembers at the White House Friday to mark Independence Day, a White House official said.

According to the official, 15 current members of the armed forces representing all four service branches will take the oath of allegiance, as well as two veterans, one reservist, and seven military spouses. The ceremony “will recognize the contributions made by foreign-born members of the U.S. Armed Forces who have earned their American citizenship by serving our country, and the contributions that immigrants from all walks of life have made to our country throughout its history,” the official added.

Obama alluded to the event in a speech on Monday in which he pledged to use executive action to circumvent Congress to try to push through immigration reforms. Obama announced in that speech plans to pursue executive action to try to work around Congress on curtailing the deportation of illegal immigrants. Additionally, Obama has directed additional federal resources to deal with an influx of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. Republicans, meanwhile, are calling on Obama to roll back his deferred action program for so-called DREAMers, who were brought to the United States illegally as children.

“Some of the servicemembers coming this year are unique because they signed up to serve, to sacrifice, potentially to give their lives for the security of this country even though they weren’t yet Americans,” Obama said Monday. “That’s how much they love this country. They were prepared to fight and die for an America they did not yet fully belong to. I think they’ve earned their stripes in more ways than one. And that’s why on Friday morning we’re going to naturalize them in a ceremony right here at the White House. This Independence Day will be their first day as American citizens.”

The ceremony comes hours before Obama plans to host a barbecue and picnic for military families and White House staff on the South Lawn of the White House to mark the holiday.

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