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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

  1. US House Website Details History of Congress

  2. Report Outlines Traffic Conditions throughout Indiana

  3. Smithsonian Introduces Newest Mammal Species

Resources Help Families
Face Financial Challenges

As you’ve probably seen or heard in the news lately, unemployment numbers are down and housing sales are increasing. For many families, these are just numbers and sound bites for the evening news.   Many families in Indiana and across the United States are still struggling to make ends meet. USA.gov  has resources to help you and your patrons cope with the financial challenges many families are facing.   There are resources to help find jobs, apply for unemployment benefits, and education & training opportunities. You can also use this site to get information by state to help feed your family, find child care, and managing homelessness. These and many other valuable resources can be found on this site to help find services and programs to help with these challenging times. 


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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US House Website Details History of Congress

Mapping Congress Have you ever wondered how many Hoosiers have served in the U.S. Congress? How many of these were women? How many were African American? Did you know that you can find out that there have been 12,101 individuals who have served as Representatives, Senators, or in both capacities since the U.S. Congress first convened on March 4, 1789? The History, Art, and Archives page of the U.S. House of Representatives can answer these and many other historical questions about the U.S. House of Representatives with its Mapping Congress page. You can select from a range of Congresses (1st through 113th) to get information such as the number of representatives for each state, who have been Speakers of the House, Democratic and Republican Whips, and many other tools to help you research members of Congress. You can click on each state to get pictures and biographical information for each representative. You can also learn more about congressional Apportionment and state representation and many other facts and historical data about Congress and how Congress functions.   

Report Outlines Traffic Conditions throughout Indiana

2012 Indiana Mobility Report In an INDOT news release from August 12, 2013, it was announced that the I-65 and I-70 South Split Project through Indianapolis will start after Labor Day on Tuesday, September 3. Contractors will require interstate lane restrictions beginning September 2.  See the South Split project website and Operation Indy Commute for updates.

Just this week, in a report issued by Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) traffic engineers and Purdue University researchers, Indiana’s interstates were ranked by amount of congestion. 

Interesting facts and findings about Indiana roadways and traffic include:

  • Interstate mileage is roughly 10% of INDOT’s roadway system (943 centerline miles)
  • Indiana’s interstates carry over 35% of the vehicle miles traveled (approximately 16 billion vehicle-miles)
  • Congestion was reduced by approximately 6% from 2011 to 2012 
  • Indiana’s transportation infrastructure continues to improve, with most occurrences of significant congestion attributable to construction, severe weather and nonrecurring incidents.

The data for the reports was collected by third-party data providers who used anonymous speed records from navigation systems, mobile phones, and other electronics.  This data is typically disseminated as traffic alerts on GPS devices or red-yellow-green overlays for online and local media traffic reports. INDOT and Purdue partnered under their Joint Transportation Research Program to analyze billions of anonymous speed records compiled from road segments statewide.

The 2012 Indiana Mobility Report and the inaugural 2011 report are available here. Free online access to over 1,500 JHRP and JTRP (Purdue University & INDOT) technical reports is currently available here.

For more information about nationwide traffic congestion studies and data, check out the  Federal Highway Administration Focus on Congestion Relief website.

Smithsonian Introduces Newest Mammal Species

OlinguitoA team, led by Smithsonian scientist Kristofer Helgen, spent 10 years examining hundreds of museum specimens and tracking animals in the wild in the cloud forests of Ecuador. The result―the newest species of mammal known to science, the olinguito.

According to the Smithsonian, the olinguito is now the smallest member of the raccoon family. It has thick, woolly fur that is denser and more colorful (orange or reddish brown) than its closest relatives, the olingos. Its head and body length is 14 inches long (355 mm), plus a tail 13-17 inches in length (335-425 mm), and it weighs 2 pounds (900 grams). Males and females are similar in size.

DIET: The olinguito mainly eats fruit, but may also eat some insects and nectar.

BEHAVIOR: These solitary animals live in trees and are mostly nocturnal. It is an adept jumper that can leap from tree to tree in the forest canopy. Mothers raise a single baby at a time.

HABITAT: The olinguito is found only in cloud forests of the northern Andes Mountains

RANGE: Ecuador and Colombia, at high elevations  (5,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level).
For more information, see the August 15 story in the online version of Smithsonian Science.

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