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ISDH Raises Awareness of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses


According to an Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) press release dated July 9, state health officials have confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Although there have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year, mosquito samples in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for the virus. West Nile virus has been found throughout the entire state in past years, and as the virus season progresses, temperatures and rainfall will influence mosquito populations. For more information and how to spot symptoms of West Nile view ISDH’s West Nile Quick Facts.

Another mosquito-borne disease making headlines is Chikungunya, which is not spread from direct person-to-person contact, but can be transmitted from a sick person to a healthy person by the bite of an infected mosquito. ISDH issued a news release on July 17 that six more Hoosiers have tested positive for the Chikungunya virus, making a total of seven reported cases in the state. The majority of individuals recently traveled to the Caribbean, where the virus has been found in multiple countries since December 2013. While the virus has been found in Africa, Asia, Indian Ocean islands and Western Pacific areas, mosquitoes in the United States do not appear to be carriers. For more information, check out ISDH’s Chikungunya Quick Facts.

Learn about other mosquito-borne viruses and how to protect your health, property, and animals by visiting ISDH’s webpage

State Management and Performance Hub Launched

mph logo

The State of Indiana recently launched the Management and Performance Hub (MPH) website. It is one of several initiatives under the MPH program, aimed at bringing better visibility, accountability and openness of state government using modern data analytics tools.  Expanding and providing access to the information currently provided in the state’s Transparency Portal, the MPH website comprises three main areas: the Governor’s six Roadmap goals and their progress, a one stop shop for the financial health of the State, and trending key performance indicators (KPIs) for executive branch agencies. Additional details are in the press release, and the website can be found at The MPH, established by Executive Order 14-06, is coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT). The majority of the funding for the MPH will come from current Indiana Office of Technology resources for technology improvement.  Lilly Endowment Inc. also awarded a $500,000 grant to IOT for cutting-edge technology for the MPH program. 

Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Kim Brown-Harden
Federal Documents Coordinator

Andrea Glenn
State Documents Coordinator


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Anniversary of Apollo 11

Apollo 11

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” a phrase which signaled the midpoint of a journey that began as Apollo 11 launched from Cape Kennedy on July 16, 1969, carrying Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin into an initial Earth-orbit of 114 by 116 miles until landing safely on the moon. An estimated 530 million people watched Armstrong's televised image and heard his voice describe the event with his first steps on the moon.  

The primary objective of Apollo 11 was to complete a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961: perform a crewed lunar landing and return to earth. Additional flight objectives included scientific exploration by the lunar module, or LM, crew, deployment of a television camera to transmit signals to Earth; and deployment of a solar wind composition experiment, seismic experiment package and a Laser Ranging Retroreflector. During the exploration, the two astronauts were to gather samples of lunar-surface materials for return to Earth. They were also to extensively photograph the lunar terrain, the deployed scientific equipment, the LM spacecraft, and each other, both with still and motion picture cameras. This was to be the last Apollo mission to fly a “free-return” trajectory, which would enable, if necessary, a ready abort of the mission when the combined command and service module/lunar module prepared for insertion into lunar orbit. 

NASA’s  Project Apollo’s goals went beyond landing Americans on the Moon; they also included:

  • Establishing the technology to meet other national interests in space.
  • Achieving preeminence in space for the United States
  • Carrying out a program of scientific exploration of the moon
  • Developing man’s capability to work in the lunar environment.

For more information about this historic mission and others, visit NASA’s Apollo Missions page.  

Governor Pence Names Dozens of Appointees

According to a press release from July 21st, Governor Mike Pence has named appointees to various state boards and commissions, including the War Memorials Commission, Department of Financial Institutions Board of Directors, Criminal Justice Institute Board of Trustees, Workforce Innovation Council, Motor Vehicle Sales Advisory Committee, Statewide 911 Board, Little Calumet River Basin Development Commission, Charter School Board, Governor’s Adoption Committee, Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Council, Indiana Spinal Cord & Brain Injury Research Fund Board, and the Natural Resources Commission. The full list with appointees’ names and terms of appointment is available here. Gubernatorial appointments are explained here, along with an alphabetical listing of state boards and commissions.

Celebrate National Blueberry Month


What’s round, blue, sweet and can be found in everything from pancakes to muffins to smoothies? It’s the blueberry! July is when the blueberry harvest ramps up, with production lasting through late summer. While many people agree that blueberries are delicious and nutritious, few know about the history of this fruit.  Botanists estimate blueberries have been around for more than 13,000 years! Blueberries are native to North America and have deep roots in agricultural history. When Europeans came to North America, Native Americans were already enjoying blueberries.  They dried them in the sun and added them whole to soups, stews, meat, and even crushed them into a powder to use on meat as a preservative. Native Americans called blueberries “star berries” because the end of the blossom of each berry-the calyx-forms a perfect five-pointed star. Tribal elders recounted how the Great Spirit sent “star berries” to ease the children’s hunger during a famine. According to legend, Native Americans gave blueberries to the pilgrims to help them make it through their first winter. Today we can buy and enjoy blueberries thanks to the efforts of two people in the early 1900’s. Previously, people didn’t believe that blueberries could be domesticated; however Elizabeth White was determined to cultivate them. Partnering with USDA botanist Dr. Frederick Coville, they identified wild blueberry plants with the most desirable properties and crossbred those bushes to create vibrant new blueberry varieties. They produced the first commercial crop of blueberries out of Whitesbog, New Jersey in 1916. For more information about the history of the blueberry and its many health benefits, visit the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Find out more about blueberries , recipes, and other resources about this little ‘wonder’ fruit. Visit the USDA’s blog to get more information about blueberry month and other topics. Looking to celebrate the blueberry locally?   Check out the Marshall County Blueberry Festival  for fun, food, and entertainment. To find local growers, visit the Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s. Indiana Agritourism and Farmers' Market Online Directory to find not only locally grown fresh blueberries, but also when all of the freshest fruits and vegetables are in season Enjoy!!

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