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As the fireworks go off on Friday, several hundred spectators will be watching from a previously underutilized viewing spot: the vast rooftop of the Government Printing Office (GPO) on North Capitol Street. The roof, which has been closed to employee use for decades, is being thrown open by newly installed GPO chief Bruce James. Unimpressed by the agency’s $2,500 promotions fund, former Nevada businessman James (official title: “Public Printer”) is catering the Independence Day party out of his own pocket. But it’s not intended to be a treat for the staff: Though some GPO employees are invited, most guests will be library representatives and GPO customers from other government agencies. Still, GPO spokesperson Veronica Meter says, the party may be a first step toward restoring workers’ long-lost roof access. “There was a time when they were allowed to play shuffleboard,” Meter says. —David Morton