Pat Shingleton: "Lighthouses and Anniversaries..."
This weekend marks the anniversary in 1789 when the First Congress federalized existing lighthouses. Built by the colonists, funds were appropriated for lighthouses, beacons and buoys. The lighthouse safely directed ships through episodes of fog and storms. Sound was also used to guide ships and in colonial times cannons fired from shore warned ships away from fog shrouded coastlines. A fog bell was first used in 1852 with a mechanical bell in 1869, a fog trumpet in 1872 and an air siren in 1887. Members of the Lighthouse Service maintained the lights, often performing their duties in extreme hardship. On August 7, 1939, the administration of the lighthouses was transferred to the Coast Guard. Other interesting dates include August 8, 1993 and record-setting floods in Des Moines, Iowa that finally ended, marking the first time since July 11 that the city's tap water was safe to drink. On the same date in 1999, an F-2 tornado cut a 300 yard path in Mattituck, Long Island. A stone fireplace's chimney saved one resident from an approaching wall of water. On August 8, 2004, lightning struck two teenage boys corralling cattle in Wauneta, NE, knocked unconscious, they survived. August 9, 2001 found the artificial turf at a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game reaching 149 degrees as 24 fans were treated for heat exhaustion. Finally, on this date in 1985, baby-boy Michael Shingleton was a day old while outside, Tropical Storm Beryl was 50 miles west of New Orleans, with 40 M.P.H. winds.
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