This Week's Facts:
Online Resources Outline Steps for Maintaining Heart Health
We don’t generally like to think of the trauma that can come with heart attacks, but if you or a loved one experience symptoms, do you know the difference between cardiac arrest and a heart attack? They are not the same. Check out the American Heart Association’s Cardiac Arrest vs. Heart Attack webpage for details.
The USA.gov blog encourages us to love and care for our hearts, and briefly describes coronary heart disease, or atherosclerosis, its causes, and treatments. It also directs us to free publications on heart health. For more information, see the MedlinePlus page on heart disease/cardiac disease.
Also learn more about fighting heart disease in February at the Go Red for Women website. Get easy tips for living healthy and preventing heart disease, learn about your risk factors, and get involved in teaching others about the fight.
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American Memory Traces Origins of Valentine's Day
Hearts, Candy, and Cupid! It’s Valentine’s Day! On February 14th, Americans celebrate love and friendship by exchanging cards, flowers, and candy. The origins of Valentine’s Day are unclear, but ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, a pagan fête when the holiday moved to the fourteenth of February, the saint day associated with several early Christian martyrs named Valentine.
The allure and romance we associate with Valentine’s Day also may originate from the medieval belief that birds select their mates on February 14th. During the Middle Ages, lovers recited verse or prose to one another in honor of the day. Handmade valentines, which were probably the first greeting cards, appeared in the sixteenth century. Mass production of cards began as early as 1800. Initially hand-tinted by factory workers, by the early twentieth century even fancy lace and ribbon-strewn cards were created by machine.
For more information about Valentine’s Day or to browse digitized collections about Valentine’s Day, visit the The Library of Congress American Memory page.
Governor Takes Measures to Alleviate Statewide Propane Shortage
On January 29, Governor Mike Pence and Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann announced a number of measures to help Hoosier families and businesses cope with the propane shortage caused in part by recent extreme winter weather. Video from the press conference can be found here.
To assist propane suppliers in meeting the needs of Hoosiers, Governor Pence has again extended an emergency proclamation by issuing Executive Order 14-2, to waive propane transport statutes until March 1, 2014. The Governor first issued the emergency proclamation on January 3, and then extended it through January 31, 2014. The executive order eases restrictions on hours of service for propane transporters and suspends limitations on divisible loads for propane suppliers. Governor Pence has also directed the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Department of Revenue to work with the Indiana Motor Truck Association to expedite permit applications and waive any fees on oversize, overweight loads carrying propane. An additional $5 million in Low Income Housing Energy Assistance funds will be available to local service providers. LIHEAP crisis benefits will be increased from $400 to $550 through March 31, 2014. During this shortage, the Office of the Indiana Attorney General will continue to protect the rights of Hoosiers who feel they are being subjected to price gouging. To file an inquiry, please call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-866-241-9753.
The propane shortage affects not only Indiana, but also states across the Midwest. In a press release dated February 4, Governor Pence joined fellow governors from the Midwestern Governors Association in signing a letter to President Barack Obama requesting immediate assistance to address the current propane supply shortage across the Midwest. Governor Pence joins Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio governors in signing the letter which can be found here.
Purdue University’s Extension Disaster Education Network offers tips to help homeowners conserve their residential propane supplies.
IRS Tax Programs Provide Assistance for Eligible Individuals
The IRS Volunteer Tax Assistance (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs offer free tax help and preparation for those who qualify. To qualify for the VITA Program, you need to make $52,000 or less and need assistance in preparing your own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals in their local communities. They can inform taxpayers about special tax credits they may qualify for such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. VITA sites are generally located at community and neighborhood centers, libraries, schools, shopping malls, and other convenient locations. The TCE Program provides free tax help for all with priority assistance to citizens 60 years and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement issues unique to seniors.
If you don’t need tax preparation assistance or don’t qualify, you can volunteer to help prepare taxes and make a difference in your community. Please visit the IRS.gov website for more details about the VITA and TCE Programs.
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