During and after Hurricane Irene, voice data networks may be busy. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that you let friends and family know your status by sending a text, e-mail, or updating social media sites.
If you do need to make a phone call, keep it brief to free up “space” on the network for emergency communications and to conserve battery power, if you are using a wireless phone.
Also, wait 10 seconds before redialing a call on wireless devices. On many handsets, you simply push “send” after you’ve ended a call to redial the previous number. If you do this too quickly, there’s not enough time for the data to clear and it contributes to a clogged network.
Librarian of Congress Appoints Philip Levine Poet Laureate
Philip Levine will be the next Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. Levine is the author of 20 collections of poems and has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.
The Poet Laureate is selected for a one-year term by the Librarian of Congress and the position has been around since 1936. In recent years, Poet Laureates have started projects to broaden the audience for poetry. Billy Collins created Poetry180 to bring one poem per day into high school classrooms and Robert Pinsky created the Favorite Poem Project to encourage people to read and discuss poetry.
It’s important that women have access to the preventive medical services they need. New guidelines now allow millions of women to receive preventive health services by removing barriers such as copays, co-insurance, and deductibles for several common services including:
screening for gestational diabetes
human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing for women 30 and older
sexually-transmitted infection counseling
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening and counseling
FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling
breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
domestic violence screening and counseling
New private health plans must cover these women’s preventive services in plan years starting on or after August 1, 2012. Call your insurer for more information.
Is There a Link Between Work-Related Diseases and Certain Chemicals?
By the Specialized Information Services Division of the National Library of Medicine
Have you ever wondered if there are links between certain hazardous job tasks and work-related diseases? You can find the answer to your questions by using Haz-Map, a database of chemicals, jobs and diseases from the National Library of Medicine.
The database lists 225 work-related diseases and over 4,556 chemical and biological agents. A connection between job tasks and jobs or industries and exposure to certain agents may indicate an increased possibility for workers to be at risk for work-related illnesses.
You can search Haz-Map by chemicals like pesticides, dyes or plastics. Or you can search by types of jobs such as food service or aircraft maintenance. Or by symptoms like rashes or dizziness.
Haz-Map can help you discover:
If there are adverse effects, such as contact dermatitis, when using disinfectants
Which diseases are connected to heavy metal poisoning
Which work-related diseases are caused by certain major job categories
Which symptoms are linked to certain job categories
Haz-Map has a glossary of the terms used in the database that can help understand what you read. There is also a list of all the references used to create Haz-Map. Those references include the 1997 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system for jobs, the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for industries, and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9) for diseases.
The Truth About Cell Phones and the National Do-Not-Call List
You may have received an email telling you cell phones will start to get unwanted telemarketing calls unless you add your wireless number to a special Do-Not-Call Registry.
However, placing telemarketing calls to wireless phones is, and always has been, illegal.
It is unlawful for anyone to place a call using an automatic telephone dialing system or a prerecorded voice message to a telephone number assigned to a paging service, mobile telephone service or any service for which the called party is charged for the call. This applies whether or not your cell phone number is listed on a Do-Not-Call list.
If you receive unwanted calls that you believe violate the do-not-call rules, you can file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is offering single family HUD-owned homes at a 50% discount. Firefighters, law enforcement officers, teachers and others can purchase homes at the discounted rate through the Good Neighbor Next Door Sales Program.
In order to receive the discount, qualified persons must occupy the home as a personal residence for a required 36-month period.
Buyers may use FHA or VA loans, a conventional mortgage or cash to pay for the discounted house, and must use a Real Estate Agent or Broker to purchase the home through HUD.
Share Your Ideas for Mobile Apps from the Government
The USA.gov mobile apps gallery has more than 50 free apps and mobile web sites from across government that can help make your life easier. There’s an app to find out how long the security line is at the airport or to see if your child’s new toy has been recalled. You can also find mobile apps to:
Protect your child: The FBI Child ID app provides a convenient place to store photos and vital information about your child so it can be found easily at your fingertips if your child goes missing.
Look for a job: With the USA JOBS iPhone app, you can search all types of federal government job openings available across the country.
Get nutrition information: The Food-a-pedia app breaks down food items by total calories, food groups, and other extra calories added from fat and sugar.
For the next few weeks you can also tell us what apps or other mobile products you think government agencies should create. The deadline to submit ideas is September 15.
Sergeant (then Corporal) Dakota Meyer stands at an awards ceremony in Afghanistan.
Congratulations to Sergeant Dakota L. Meyer who will receive the Medal of Honor for his acts of extraordinary heroism in Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.
Over the course of a six hour fire fight, Sgt. Meyer entered the battle zone five separate times to evacuate the wounded, provide essential aid, and save the lives of 13 Marines and 23 Afghan soldiers.
Sgt. Meyer will be the first living Marine to receive the Medal of Honor in 41 years.
Back to School is Easier with Help from the Government
The start of a new school year is an important time for planning and preparation. For millions of children and teenagers, it’s time to plan new academic schedules and activities. For parents and guardians it’s a good time to plan financial support for school-aged children. There are several programs and resources available for families who qualify for federal assistance, including low cost lunches and affordable health insurance.
National School Lunch Program
Children who eat well perform better at school. That’s why the National School Lunch Program provides free, low-cost and nutritional lunches to eligible students (usually children from a family of four that makes about $29,055-$41,348 per year).
Enrollment is open year-round, so this program is especially useful if your family has had a sudden loss of income, say, due to a family member losing his or her job.
Some key facts about the program:
It’s open for children up to 18 years of age
It’s offered at daycare centers, public schools and private nonprofit schools enrolled in the program
School lunches meet federal nutritional requirements, which means they limit fats and saturated fats and provide one third of the recommended dietary allowances of proteins necessary for a healthy diet
Schools usually send application notices at the beginning of the school year. However, you can enroll at any time by filling out a form and submitting it to the school
Subsidized Health Care for Children
Health insurance is important to ensure regular check-ups and preventive care, as well as emergency treatment, for your child.
You can find affordable health care for your children through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Although each state manages its own program, it is generally open to families of four that make up to $44,100 per year.
This program offers many benefits, including:
You can get more information about this program by calling 1 (877) 543-7669 or visiting InsureKidsNow.gov.
Also, keep in mind that students going to college can remain on their parent’s health insurance policy until the age of 26 because of new provisions in the Affordable Health Act.
Get Your Children Vaccinated
Vaccines are important not only for the health of your child, but also for his or her classmates. Last year there were outbreaks of whooping cough and measles, which caused dozens of deaths among adults and children. Vaccinations could have helped prevent those outbreaks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have several vaccination resources including vaccination calendars that tell you which vaccines are needed and when.
If your child is heading back to school soon, make sure his or her immunization shots and vaccines are up-to-date. Each state has its own requirements, and your child’s school may require documentation of immunization records. Depending on the state, children could need to be vaccinated against mumps, measles, tetanus or other diseases. If you have questions, schedule plenty of time to ask your healthcare provider, doctor or school for answers. If your child doesn’t have the proper vaccinations and documentation, he or she may not be allowed to attend school.
Children under 6:
Children under the age of 6 are more likely to contract a disease or the flu than older children. All children in this age group should get a seasonal flu shot, as well as other shots as recommended by their doctor. Before entering school, it is the parent’s job and responsibility to find out which shots are required. Failure to get the proper immunizations and vaccinations could lead to health problems for your child and others in your family and community.
Older children need vaccinations also. They should still get a yearly flu shot to protect themselves from possibly contagious students at school. Once your child reaches this age, your school and state will have specific requirements in order to attend school. Other pre-teen and teen shots like HPV and tetanus are usually recommended.
Learn more from the CDC about what immunizations are required for your children:
Beginning on August 15, Social Security offices will close 30 minutes early each day. For example, an office that is usually open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. will now close at 3:30 p.m.
You do not need to visit an office to complete most Social Security services. Apply for benefits, sign up for direct deposit, replace a Medicare card, obtain a proof of income letter, or change your address or telephone number at www.socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).