This Week's Facts:
DNR Offering Guided Park
While Spring doesn’t officially begin until 7:02 A.M. (EDT) on March 20, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Nature Preserves has announced an opportunity for hikers to experience spring wildflowers in bloom and Indiana’s old-growth forests. Now through April 6, you can sign up for a guided hike at select state nature preserves. The hikes will take place across the state on Saturday, April 20 (Earth Day) and Saturday, May 11 (Mother’s Day weekend). Space is limited, so participants are encouraged to register early.
The hikes are free and will start at 10 a.m. local time at the following state nature preserves:
- Calli (North Vernon, Jennings County)
US Geological Survey Shares Science of Sinkholes
Sinkholes have been making headlines lately with the tragedy in Florida and the golfer in Illinois. What is it, exactly, that causes sinkholes? The U.S. Geological Survey gives us the science of sinkholes. Approximately 20% of the United States lies in areas at risk to sinkhole events. The most damage from sinkholes tends to occur in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. A sinkhole is a depression in the ground that has no natural external surface drainage. When it rains, all of the water stays inside the sinkhole and drains into the subsurface. Sinkholes are most common in what geologists call, “karst terrain,”which are regions where the type of rock below the land surface can naturally be dissolved by groundwater circulating through them. Sinkholes are dramatic because the land usually stays intact for a period of time until the underground spaces just get too big. If there is not enough support for the land above the spaces, then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur. While collapses are more frequent after intense rainstorms, there is some evidence that droughts play a role as well. Areas where water levels have lowered suddenly are more prone to collapse formation. You can learn more about sinkholes on the USGS website or a USGS fact sheet.
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Help Raise MS Awareness throughout March
March is Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, Awareness Month according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society recognizes MS Awareness week this week, March 11-17. Most people have heard of MS before – on the news, within families or social groups, or in passing. Its name can be easily confused with MD (Muscular Dystrophy) or other health conditions using similar acronyms. Read further to learn more!
What is MS? MS stands for Multiple Sclerosis. Scleroses are areas of tissue that have become hardened, scarred, or abnormally formed. In the case of MS, these scleroses are in the brain. They can cause the following, according to the Medline Plus MS information portal:
What causes it? No one knows the exact causes. With MS, the body’s immune system attacks itself, which is why it is thought of as an autoimmune disorder.
Who has it? The MS Society estimated that 400,000 individuals in the U.S. had MS in 2002.
How is it treated? MS can now be treated many ways – with medications which can manage its progress and others that improve symptoms. Physical therapy also helps MS patients.
What is being done to educate the public? You can find reliable information about MS, including contact information for support organizations on U.S. government websites like the National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke’s Hope through Research website and WomensHealth.gov. Helpful medical websites include the Mayo Clinic and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service.
There is also an MS International Federation website available in 15 languages where you learn about MS, view new research and resources, and sign up for weekly newsletters from the international community.
Department of Revenue Delivers Important Tax Tips
How to choose a tax preparer:
More information about choosing professional tax preparers is available at www.in.gov/dor/4618.htm.
More Hoosiers Turning to Electronic Filing of Taxes
With the tax season underway, many taxpayers are filing electronically this year using INfreefile if they qualify, or using certified vendors. Last year, nearly three-quarters of Indiana filers used some type of electronic filing. Of those returns filed, 99 percent were accurate, meaning that they were error free! Error free results in faster refunds.
But there are still taxpayers who file on paper, and nearly 20 percent of paper-filed returns are inaccurate or have mistakes. The Indiana Department of Revenue accepts paper filing as a method of filing your taxes. Access all of our forms and booklets online.
Here are the top three filing errors on paper returns:
For more information about this year’s tax season, please visit www.in.gov/dor.
USA.gov Outlines Replacing Lost Vital Records
Vital records, like birth and marriage certificates and military service records are often necessary to access a variety of government benefits and services. But sometimes life happens and those vital records go missing. Maybe they were misplaced in a move, were stolen or got damaged in a fire.
USA.gov has information to help you find copies and replacements of your vital records so you can apply for whatever benefits and services you need.
Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates
Military Service Records
Social Security Card
If you need help getting copies of other vital records like tax returns or school records, you can find the information you need to replace them at USA.gov.
This information is brought to you by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the USA.gov blog.
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