5 stories to follow: July 4

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Fourth of July fireworks over the Art Museum, 2011. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer)

Happy Fourth of July. Whether you're already celebrating or still at the office, here are five things to know to make the most of Independence Day.

1. Stepped up security: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter says there will be "enhanced" security at the city's July 4 festivities this year. "You'll certainly see uniformed personnel and telescoping stations and outdoor video surveillance," the mayor said. "And then there's a bunch of stuff that you won't see and that I can't talk about." The beefed up surveillance will be at both events near Independence Mall in Old City and at the Welcome America festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

2. What's open: Your rundown of what services are open, and what's closed for the holiday.

3. Fireworks, other events: Still scouting which events and fireworks displays to check out? Check out our recommendations. If you're shooting off fireworks at home, know what's legal in your area and how to stay safe.

4. Gas prices: Gasoline prices have dropped slightly over the past month, but holiday travelers will still face the third-highest gas costs on record for Independence Day.

5. Statue of Liberty reopens: Up in New York, the Statue of Liberty, which has been closed to visitors since Superstorm Sandy last fall, is reopening today.

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