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This Week's Facts:

  1. Online Resources Highlight Black History Month

  2. This Sunday is Black HIV Awareness Day

  3. Help Raise Burn Safety & Treatment Awareness

  4. IRS Offering Free Tax Assistance

  5. 2010 Contest to Celebrate Hoosier Women Artists

Tips for a Fun and Safe Super Bowl Party

Super Bowl Sunday is a time to enjoy the exciting festivities and good food, but be careful of food-borne illnesses.  The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) offers food safety tips and advice to keep you safe and fully enjoy your Super Bowl party!  Large meals and a probable leftovers mean consumers should do some advance preparation to get the kitchen "food safe" for the festivities. Here are some recommendations from ISDH to keep you safe:

  • Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds before and after handling food;

  • If you are feeling ill, please do not handle food.  This is a common mode of transmitting illness-producing germs.  Let others who are not ill do the food preparation;

  • Have plenty of paper towels or clean cloth towels on hand for cleaning of surfaces, drying hands, and for blotting dry fresh fruits and vegetables after rinsing. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washer. 

For the full list of food safety tips, click here. For more food safety tips and advice, consumers can Ask Karen, the Food Safety and Inspection Service virtual representative available 24 hours a day.  The United States Department of Agriculture also offers tips and advice to ‘Referee a Safe Super Bowl Party’.  Have a safe, Super Bowl Sunday and keep the ‘flags off the field’!

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Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth O’Donnell
Federal
Documents Librarian
&
Kim Brown-Harden
State
Documents Coordinator

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Online Resources Highlight Black History Month

Black History MonthPresident Obama has proclaimed National African American History Month for the month of February. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard graduate and founder of The Association for the Study of African-American Life and History, was the first to declare Black History Week in 1926 during the week of the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, the week of celebration was expanded to a month. Since then, each U.S. President has issued proclamations celebrating African American history. As the President’s 2010 proclamation states, “This year's theme, ‘The History of Black Economic Empowerment,’ calls upon us to honor the African Americans who overcame injustice and inequality to achieve financial independence and the security of self empowerment that comes with it.”   

Seven different federal agencies have combined resources to create an African American History Month website. National events are highlighted on the right sidebar of the main page. Educational resources, including lesson plans, are linked at the bottom of the page. A history of the celebratory month and this year’s theme can be found on the left sidebar under “About.” A subject guide to exhibits and collections that relate to African American history is provided under “Exhibits and Collections.” Many of these have an online component, such as the Library of Congress Voices of Civil Rights exhibit. This physical exhibit was shown at the library only until March 2005, but the online version lets us have access to the content right now. The Smithsonian Institute also provides an online African American History Virtual Tour. For more lesson plans, check out The National Endowment for the Humanities Edsitement/Black History Month website.

Find statistics about the African American population in the U.S. at the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features. You can find a list of this month’s events in Indiana via the Black History Month Celebration webpage. African American History Month events at IUPUI can be accessed via their Cultural Celebrations website.

This Sunday is Black HIV Awareness Day

National Black HIV & Aids Awareness DayFebruary 7th is National Black HIV and AIDS Awareness Day.  The Indiana State Department of Health and other agencies are participating in a citywide event on Friday, February 5th to educate and inform Hoosiers about HIV/AIDS and other topics to promote a healthy lifestyle. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, blacks are disproportionately affected by all stages of HIV/AIDS, and it is slowly becoming an epidemic within the community.   The theme for 2010 is “10 Years of Building Community Awareness”.  Click here for more information about HIV/AIDS.  Education and access to medical care are the best weapons to defend against this epidemic.

Help Raise Burn Safety & Treatment Awareness Next Week

Burn Awareness Week 2010The Consumer Products Safety Commission states that in one year, almost 1,300 children under the age of five were treated in emergency rooms for injuries related to the misuse of gasoline and gas cans.  Many of these injuries resulted in serious burns.  In order to prevent these and other burn injuries, February 7-13 has been declared Burn Awareness Week for 2010.  The two most common causes of burn injuries in children and teenagers are accidents involving gasoline and those involving hot water or steam (scald burns).

Laws have been passed in order to minimize the risk of burns from consumer products.  Most recently, the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act (PL 110-278) was enacted in order to require and regulate child-resistant locks on portable gas cans.  For an explanation on the details of what this law covers, check out this fact sheet from the CPSC.  Of course, it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to prevent burns.  Medline Plus provides tips on home treatment for mild burns, as well as advice on when to seek a physician.  They also provide links on how to prevent burns in the home.  You can find further burn prevention tips from the Home Safety Council

Finally, while any time of year is a good time to donate blood, you can use Burn Awareness Week to remind patrons of the importance of voluntary blood donation.  For the nearest blood center near you, visit the American Red Cross or the Indiana Blood Center.

IRS Offering Free Tax Assistance

IRS: Free Tax AssistanceIt's that time of year again…tax time.  A lot of our patrons have questions about how to file and what they can claim.  Unfortunately, not everyone is able to enlist the help of an accountant to navigate tricky tax codes.  The federal government may be able to help.  The IRS provides free tax assistance for those who qualify.  Specifically, people who are in the low-to-middle income bracket and are unable to file their taxes can use the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program.  In this program, certified volunteers in various locations around the country assist people in working on their taxes.  These centers are often held in libraries, schools, and even shopping malls.  To find out the nearest location, just call 1-800-829-1040.  Another good source for assistance is the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Program.  People age 60 and older are eligible for this program.  Volunteers provide free tax counseling and sometimes help with basic tax preparation.  To find out the closest TCE Center, you can call 1-800-829-1040.  Additionally, Tax-Aide is a program offered by TCE in conjunction with AARP and is geared toward low-to-middle income seniors. 

Free tax advice is also available to members of the military.  The Armed Forces Tax Council offers advice specifically geared to the military, such as combat zone tax benefits. Also, don’t forget to check out the State’s Taxes and Finances website for Indiana tax info. 

2010 Contest to Celebrate Hoosier Women Artists

Help celebrate Women’s History Month next month with art! Indiana Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman’s office is accepting submissions of artwork for the fourth Celebration of Hoosier Women Artists competition. Artists need to be a resident of Indiana and submit only one entry. Artwork can be conveniently entered into the competition by sending in an electronic image of the material. The winning originals will hang in the Lt. Governor’s office for one year starting in late March. Applications materials must be sent to Karen Davis by Feb. 19. For additional rules, see Lt. Governor Skillman’s 2010 Celebration of Hoosier Women Artists webpage.

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