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This Week's Facts:

  1. Government Resources Highlight Independence Day

  2. State Offers Timely Firework Safety Tips

  3. Take in National Park Beauty Online

  4. New Legislation in Effect Sparks Interest in Blue Laws

Feds Tout Healthcare.gov as Useful and Informational

Thursday’s debut of the federal website Healthcare.gov, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was profiled Thursday on Federal News Radio.  Todd Park, chief technology officer at HHS, described it as combining “both public and private health coverage options in a single place. . . . [There is information on] Medicaid, the children's health insurance program, and the new preexisting conditions insurance plan, private insurance options from over 1,000 carriers -- all in one place.” 

You can listen to this full interview and read the article here. National Public Radio also covered the launch with an interview with Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS, available here. The website is meant to be a place where health care consumers can take better ownership of their own health insurance questions and gain knowledge about coverage options.

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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

Indiana State LibraryFederal Depository Library 

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Government Resources Highlight Independence Day

Happy 4th of July!Happy Independence Day!  The 4th of July this year marks the 234th year since the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.  As you might imagine, the Federal Government has a lot of great resources on the holiday that are both informative and entertaining.  The Census Bureau is always a good place to start – check out their Facts for Features for this month.  One fun fact – there are currently 31 places in the United States with “Liberty” in their name and eleven with “Independence.”  You also may be interested in popular patriotic songs.  The Library of Congress has the Patriotic Melodies collection available online.  You can read the histories of songs such as American the Beautiful, the Marines Hymn or even the Star Spangled Banner.  If you are interested in the flag itself, check out this page from the Federal Citizen Information Center.  It provides information about the flag today, historical flags, flag rules and even how to obtain a flag flown over the nation’s Capitol.  Finally, USA.gov provides a number of links to information on fireworks, fireworks safety and barbeque and camping tips.

State Offers Timely Firework Safety Tips

IDHS: Firework SafetyThe Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS)   offers safety tips  to enjoy your fireworks safely this holiday.  Fireworks are the leading cause of injury and death during the July 4th holiday.  Safely operating fireworks not only prevents injury, but it also ensures that you’re in compliance with Indiana law.  If you are a vendor or would like to sell fireworks, click here for important information and resources.   Enjoy your fireworks and have a happy, safe Fourth of July holiday!

Take in National Park Beauty Online

National Park ServiceOne of the best parts about summer is the chance to get outside and enjoy the scenery.  Our national parks provide some of the nicest places to do this.  Scattered throughout the country, they provide nearly limitless opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors.  However, not everyone is able to travel to all of these places.  Fortunately, the National Park Service has a really great website.  While it’s not a substitute for the real thing, there are some neat features that can help you enjoy the scenery from your desk or home office chair.  Acadia National Park has its PanoramAcadia feature that allows you to get a 360 degree view of the park – and it also includes a number of photographs taken by independent photographers.  Another fun resource is the webcam from Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – check out what’s going on there!  You can even listen to podcasts about the Grand Canyon.  For more multimedia items, see the Park Service website.  Whether you want photo galleries, virtual tours, or even videos, there’s something for you!

New Legislation in Effect Sparks Interest in Blue Laws

There is much talk about selling and buying alcohol on Sundays.  This is sure to be a hot issue with elections in November.  Do you know where the term ‘Blue Laws’ comes from?  This term was first used by Reverend Samuel Peters of Connecticut.  The term was used to describe laws that were created by the Puritan colonists in the 1600s to prohibit business activities on Sundays. While some laws prohibited the sale of certain types of goods, some laws banned all business and retail activity. Legend has it that the term originated from laws written on blue paper, but that is not true.  “Blue” was a term used to describe strict moral codes and people who observed them in the 18th century. During the mid to late 1800s, many southern and midwestern states passed laws to protect the Sabbath day. These laws would have penalties for performing ‘worldly’ activities on Sunday as a way to enforce church attendance. Indiana’s liquor laws stem from these traditions. For more information about alcohol laws in Indiana, click here. For information about significant alcohol legislation and tobacco, visit the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission’s website. For historical information on the prohibition movement in Indiana, the Indiana State Library has a subject guide with various resources to research the history of prohibition and temperance. 

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