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This Week's Facts:
  1. Resources Provide Insight into April Fools' Day Origins

  2. Help Spread Alcohol Abuse Awareness in April

  3. Spring Cleaning is Perfect Time for Home Safety Audit

  4. Deadline Approaching to Register to Vote in May Primary

Fast Facts Tool:
Cost of Living Calculator

We often receive data center requests from people wanting to know about the cost increase or decrease involved when moving from one city to another. The ACCRA cost of living calculator from STATS Indiana is a one-stop shop to solve your relocating riddles. Enter the dollar amount of your current salary and to what location in Indiana you might be moving. The results tell you how much more or less your expenses will cost when living in the new location. For example, someone who makes $100,000 in Indianapolis will be charged about 7% more for groceries, 17.6% more for housing, 38% more for utilities, and 3.4% more for transportation in Evansville, IN. The calculator also provides average prices in that metro area for a selection of goods, including milk, eggs, bread, coffee, certain vegetables and fruits, medicines and self-care items. A haircut averages $12.08 in Indianapolis, $16.03 in Evansville and $13.09 nationally.

Deadline Approaching to Register to Vote in May Primary

Primary elections are almost here!  The deadline to register to vote in this year's primary is April 4, 2011. The Secretary of State’s Office  has made it easy to register or check your registration status from the comfort of your home. The online voter registration system is a quick, easy resource to answer questions about registration and requirements. Participating in the political process is a sure way to make your voice heard. 

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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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Resources Provide Insight into April Fools' Day Origins

America's Story: April Fools' DayHappy April Fools’ Day! Those of us who experienced the brief snow showers this week may feel like we got an early April Fools’ Day joke played on us. The beginning of Spring is a tempestuous time, often “fooling” us into thinking that Summer is closer than it actually is! According to America’s Story from the Library of Congress, no one really knows when the holiday began or how long it’s been around. However, it’s not only a day for the weather to trick us, but is also a day when people play tricks on each other. The practice of the April Fools’ Day trick originated in Great Britain, but was quickly adopted by Americans. The LOC Today in History profile on April 1 has more information on this. The webpage features a story from the Great Depression about children skipping school until noon every April 1. They also have links to LOC collections such as American Life Histories that include stories tricks, jokes and other pranks. You can even find out the origin of the Snipe Hunt!

Help Spread Alcohol Abuse Awareness in April

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services AdministrationApril is Alcohol Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Alcohol Awareness Month is a chance to make people aware of the signs of alcohol abuse and to encourage them to make safe and healthy choices. The Department of Health and Human Services lists several warning signs of alcohol abuse: drinking when alone to combat sadness, drinking that makes you late for work, blackouts and more. For a complete list, see their website. They also have a list of strategies to help people quit or cut back on drinking. Their toolkit (available from the website) provides sample announcements and tweets, e-cards, badges and other tips to get involved in spreading the word. The Sara Bellum blog, a blog for teens from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has information for teenagers on the dangers of underage drinking. They also include a list of links to other sites with good information.

Spring Cleaning is Perfect Time for Home Safety Audit

Home Safety TipsSpring isn't just a great time for cleaning your house; it's also a great time to do some simple safety checks. These tips from the Federal Citizen Information Center will help you go through your house to identify and eliminate common safety hazards.

Test your house for radon. This odorless gas can cause lung cancer, and the only way to find out if it's present is to get a test kit and run the test. Some state radon centers offer free or low-cost radon test kits. Find out where to get your kit.

Eliminate mold. Dark, damp areas of your home are prime targets for mold growth, which can irritate allergies or cause asthma attacks. To clean up mold, scrub the spores off hard surfaces and allow the area to dry completely. Make sure you also fix the cause of the problem or the mold will keep coming back.

Read labels carefully. The cleaning supplies you keep under your kitchen sink can contain harsh chemicals. Make sure you read the labels closely and pay special attention to directions on the labels about how to handle and store the products to prevent accidents. In general, it's smart to store cleaners in a separate cabinet than your food and to make sure the cabinet is locked if you have young children.

Check the batteries in your smoke detector and purchase a fire extinguisher. Smoke detectors give the first warning that there is a fire. Make sure you test the batteries in your smoke detector at least twice a year to make sure yours is operating properly. Keeping a fire extinguisher on hand will let you put out small fires before any serious damage is done. Use these tips to select the right extinguisher for you house.

Learn more ways to make your home safe, including a room-by-room guide, from the Home Safety Council.

With these tips, you'll be able to eliminate a large majority of common household dangers and make your home a safe place for you and your family.

This article is brought to you courtesy of The Federal Citizen Information Center, connecting people with government benefits, services, and information through its family of websites, including Pueblo.gsa.gov, USA.gov, GobiernoUSA.gov and ConsumerAction.gov; by phone at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636); and with publications by mail from Pueblo, Colorado. FCIC is part of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

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