Find your Fourth fun



GEORGIA: Permissible fireworks include sparklers, smoke snakes and glow worms, trick noise makers and drop pops that contain less than 0.25 grain of explosives. The sale and use of most types of fireworks, including firecrackers, skyrockets and cherry bombs, are still illegal in Georgia and punishable by a maximum fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.

Source: Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner

SOUTH CAROLINA: All ICC Class C "common fireworks" are permissible, including Roman candles, bottle rockets, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, wheels, illumination torches, sparklers and firecrackers.

It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone younger than 14 who is not accompanied by an adult.

Source: South Carolina Board of Pyrotechnic Safety


- Never give fireworks to small children.

- Always follow the instructions on the packaging.

- Keep a supply of water close as a precaution.

- Make sure the person lighting fireworks wears eye protection.

- Light only one firework at a time and never try to relight a dud.

- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

- Never throw or point fireworks toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

- Stay at least 500 feet away from professional fireworks displays.

- Immediately leave any area where untrained amateurs are using fireworks.

Source: American Red Cross


Just one firecracker can permanently damage hearing, an Augusta audiologist said.

Dr. Robin Bohannon, of Augusta Hearing and Balance, said firecrackers create "impact noise" that can overwhelm the ear and cause more damage than prolonged exposure to loud sounds.

"The muscle part of the ear mechanism that is supposed to decrease sound by tightening does not have time to protect the ear, so the noise goes straight into the ear," Dr. Bohannon said.

Any sound above 85 decibels can cause permanent ear damage. Firecrackers produce between 140 and 150 decibels, he said.

Dr. Bohannon said he knows of just two cases when fireworks rendered his patients deaf in at least one ear.

Although earplugs are helpful, the best way to avoid ear damage is to avoid fireworks, Dr. Bohannon said.

-- Staff reports




About 40.4 million people are expected to leave home this weekend, according to a recent survey by AAA. Those drivers can expect high gas prices and more law enforcement on the roads looking for drunken drivers.


All prices are for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline as of Wednesday.




Macon....... $3.99







Myrtle Beach....... $3.94


FRIDAY TO SUNDAY: Mostly sunny with a chance of showers or thunderstorms each day. Highs in the mid-90s and lows in the upper 60s.

Sources: AAA, National Weather Service



WASHINGTON --- People would rather barbecue burgers with Barack Obama than with John McCain.

Though many are still deciding who should be president, 52 percent to 45 percent said they would prefer having Mr. Obama than Mr. McCain to their summer cookout, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll released Wednesday.

Men are about evenly divided between the two while women prefer Mr. Obama by 11 percentage points. Whites prefer Mr. McCain, minorities Mr. Obama. And Mr. Obama is a more popular guest with younger voters while Mr. McCain does best with the oldest. One in six people saying they'd vote for Mr. McCain prefer Mr. Obama as their barbecue guest; just one in 20 Obama backers would invite Mr. McCain.

-- Associated Press


We want your Fourth of July pictures of picnics and parades, boating and barbecues, fireworks and flags. Upload your photos at

Please include the following information about your picture:

- When and where it was taken

- Who is shown in the photo (Identify people by full name from left to right.)

- Name of the person who took the photo

VIEW PHOTOS from the Fourth online at We'll publish some of the photos in the newspaper after the holiday.