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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

  1. April Chosen Month to Raise Autism Awareness

  2. National Event Enables Public to Dispose of Unwanted Prescription Drugs

  3. Can Help Youths Understand Finances

  4. Provides Online Gardening Resources

Resources for Flood Damage

Homeland Security Taking Flood Damage Reports Online

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) announced last week that Hoosiers who sustained damage caused by severe weather and flooding from April 17 through 22, 2013 can report damage online. IDHS emphasizes that this form is intended to gather information for the department and for local emergency management agencies. It is for a preliminary assessment of damage while they decide whether to pursue federal assistance. The form is not an application for a grant with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  

The form is available on the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) website. In the middle of the page under "Featured Topics," click on "Report Damage From Severe Storms and Flooding - April 17-22, 2013."

Individuals will be asked to provide their name, address, phone number and type of damage their property sustained. Losses can include structural damage to homes and loss of personal property.

For questions, contact your county emergency management agency. Contact information for local agencies is available here.

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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April Chosen Month to Raise Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness MonthApril is National Autism Awareness Month, sponsored by the Autism Society of Bethesda, MD.

What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?
Autism Spectrum Disorders are a range of different conditions that can occur in the brain. ASDs can affect each person in different ways, and developmental issues can range from very mild to severe. The CDC provides Facts about ASDs on its website. 

ASD is sometimes difficult to diagnose in the developing child. What can a parent or teacher do when they suspect their child or student may have an autism spectrum disorder? The CDC and Medline Plus Autism pages offer tips for screening and diagnosis, including the latest news about treatments, health tools, and research.

WebMD provides an online ASD Health Center which recently reported the CDC statistics about the rise in Autism diagnoses in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also offers an Autism Information website to help educate patrons and students about Autism.

National Event Enables Public to Dispose of Unwanted Prescription Drugs

National Take-Back DayThe U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration’s Office of Diversion Control  is sponsoring the National Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 27th, from 10:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. This event is an opportunity for those who have accumulated unwanted, unused prescription drugs and to safely dispose of them. This is a day to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposal, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of medications. In previous Take-Back events, law enforcement agencies and partners collected more than 2 million pounds of prescription medications. To participate in the National Take Back Initiative, you can search for a site near you. You can also learn how to safely dispose of unused medicines, find out which medicines are recommended for disposal by flushing, and use other additional resources to help dispose of your unwanted medicines. Safe, responsible disposal of medicines is not only good for the environment, but could possibly save lives. Can Help Youths Understand Finances

Kids.govWhile Financial Capability Month reminds us all that we could do a little bit more to be in charge of our finances, it is also a good time to talk to your kids about how they too can begin to understand finances and how it affects your family. has smart money sections for kids of all ages, and tips for parents and teachers on how to teach kids about understanding money.

Useful tips include:

  • Get your kids to write down where they spend their money or allowance so they can see how it adds up
  • Talk to your kids about “used” versus “new” and how borrowing a book from the library, or a game from a friend, is smarter than buying something new every time
  • Teach your kids to take good care of their games, books, DVDs and other purchases because it costs money to replace these items also has a series of comic strips to teach younger and older children about how they can help their parents save money. Children can follow along in a fun and engaging way to learn simple tips such as turning off lights or helping clip coupons to help save money in the long run.

This information is brought to you by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog. Provides Online Gardening Resources

Gardening ResourcesThere’s no better time to plant a garden than spring, when the weather is just right for plants and flowers. But you don’t have to do it alone. Planting a garden can be a great family activity that also promotes the environment.

There are several things you should consider before getting started.

Before Planting a Garden
Figure out how much space you have and what type of plants you’d like to have. There are different types of gardens for houses or apartments. Do some research and pick the one you like the most.
Once you are ready:

  • Select the plants you want. If you’re not sure which ones to choose, go to a gardening store and take your family with you. Everybody can help pick the plants, flowers or fruit trees for your home.
  • Make a budget for plants and materials to help you stay on track.
  • Be careful with drainage holes as too little water or too much water can affect the growth of your plants.
  • Make sure the soil has the right nutrients. Ask a specialist to recommend the right type of soil for your garden.

When Planting a Garden
Consider these tips as you begin:

  • Separate your flowers and trees so they are not too close to each other.
  • Figure out how much water and shade each plant will need.
  • Make a layout of your garden so you know which plants need to go where.

Once you’re ready to start, get your family together and assign tasks such as spreading the soil and placing the seeds in the holes.

After Planting a Garden
Taking care of your garden regularly will help your plants grow healthy. Give family members weekly tasks to help maintain the garden. For a healthy garden, make sure to:

  • Water your plants according to their needs. Some will need more water, some will need less.
  • Add fertilizer to the soil to make sure your plants get the nutrients they need.
  • Protect your garden from unwanted pests by using pesticides (check how to use pesticides safely.)
  • Trim your plans and remove any dry leaves and fallen fruits. It will make your garden look clean and lush.

This information is brought to you by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the blog.

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