Short Takes

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized


Published on September 07, 2010 with No Comments

Available on Twitter and Facebook
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) is continuing to make it easier for Hoosiers to stay informed by using social media to spread the messages of safety and preparedness. For more than a year, IDHS has been using Twitter to help Hoosiers be prepared and inform them of important safety information. The ever increasing popularity of social media, including Facebook and Twitter, has made the sharing of information more streamlined than in the past. These new media have allowed IDHS to transmit important information in a matter of seconds. As September is Preparedness Month in Indiana, IDHS will be providing daily

communication to all of the agency’s Twitter and Facebook followers. Hoosiers can stay informed of preparedness and safety tips, and other public safety information. “At homeland security we’re committed to pursuing a variety of avenues to reach the public with potentially life and property saving warnings and public safety information,” IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott said. “In addition to traditional means of communication through literature and other print sources, radio and television broadcasts and agency web pages, these social networking sites provide a user friendly platform for communicating directly with Hoosiers.” To follow the Indiana Department of Homeland Security on Twitter, go to Even if you don’t have a Twitter account, text “follow IDHS” to 40404 and Twitter updates will be sent directly to your cell phone via text message. The tips are also available on the IDHS Facebook page at or by going to, logging in and searching for “Indiana Homeland Security.”

Trees for America
Hoosiers who join the Arbor Day Foundation in September will receive 10 free trees as part of the Foundation’s Trees for America campaign. Trees for America is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation that encourages anyone to help the environment by planting trees. The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest not-for-profit organization in the U.S. dedicated to planting trees. Everyone who joins will receive an eastern redbud, white pine, sugar maple, white flowering dogwood, pin oak, red maple, river birch, silver maple, northern red oak and Colorado blue spruce. “We selected this group of trees to provide benefits during all four seasons in Indiana: lovely spring flowers, cool summer shade, spectacular autumn colors, and winter berries and nesting sites for songbirds,” John Rosenow, chief executive of the foundation, said. “These trees will also add to the proud heritage of Indiana’s 64 Tree City USA communities. For 34 years, Tree City USA has supported community forestry across Indiana, and planting these trees will enhance this tree-planting tradition.” The trees will be shipped postpaid at the right time for planting, between Oct. 15 and Dec. 10. The 6-12-inch trees are guaranteed to grow or they will be replaced free of charge. Easy-to-follow planting instructions are enclosed with each shipment of trees. New members of the Arbor Day Foundation also receive The Tree Book, which includes information about tree planting and care. To receive the 10 free trees, send a $10 membership contribution to Ten Trees, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410, by Sept. 30, or join online at .

Top Consumers of Energy
Hoosiers are among the top 10 consumers of energy per person nationwide, according to the new website is a project of the Lexington Institute, a not-for-profit think tank based in Arlington, Virginia and a great resource for everyone from students and journalists to elected officials and policymakers who want to keep track of their state’s energy patterns. “Many Americans want to save energy, and even know how to do it, but they frequently don’t have access to timely, useful information about how much energy they are using,” Don Soifer, executive vice president of the Lexington Institute, said. “We worked to create a new resource that will be useful for everyone from schools to elected officials to keep track of their state’s critical energy consumption and generation patterns.” The website uses data from the federal Department of Energy. It tracks vital indicators for energy and electricity use, as well as which fuels – like coal, nuclear or renewable – are used to generate electricity, and ranks states in each category. It also analyzes data from recent years, providing easy-to-read indicators to show overall trends. For more information on, contact Don Soifer at 522-5828, or at

America Recycles Day Contest
“Curb Your Carbon Footprint” is the theme of this year’s Indiana Recycling Coalition (IRC) video contest open to Indiana middle and high school students. Students can earn prize money for creating 30 second PSAs that educate Hoosiers about how they can reduce their carbon footprints by recycling. “We often hear that encouragement from children is the number one reason that households begin to recycle,” IRC Executive Director Carey Hamilton said. “So they are a natural choice to find creative ways to reach larger audiences with the important message that reducing, reusing, recycling and composting lead to significant reductions in carbon emissions as well as energy savings and resource conservation.” In addition to cash prizes, video contest winners and their families and friends will be able to see their videos screened at an awards ceremony in the Indianapolis Art Center’s Basile Theatre on America Recycles Day, Nov. 15. The contest is open to any Indiana student in grades 6 through 12 and ages 10 through 18. Registration information and a complete listing of rules and regulations are available on the IRC website. Video entries will be due Oct. 18. America Recycles Day (ARD), Nov. 15, is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle. ARD is a program of Keep America Beautiful and the IRC, as a recycling partner with Keep America Beautiful, coordinates Indiana’s ARD activities. The contest is one of several ways that the IRC will celebrate ARD in 2010. This contest is possible thanks to support from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, National Starch Food Innovation, and the Indianapolis Art Center. For more information, call 317-632-5915 or 317-840-2582, or visit

Helps Indiana Employers and Unions
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today announced the first round of applicants accepted into the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program. Nearly 2,000 employers, representing large and small businesses, State and local governments, educational institutions, non profits and unions have been accepted into the program and will begin to receive reimbursements for employee claims this fall. Created by the Affordable Care Act to help serve as a bridge to the new health insurance Exchanges in 2014, the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program provides $5 billion in financial assistance to employers and unions to help them maintain coverage for early retirees age 55 and older who are not yet eligible for Medicare. Businesses and other employers and unions that are accepted into the program will receive reimbursement for medical claims for early retirees and their spouses, surviving spouses and dependents. Savings can be used to reduce employer health care costs, provide premium relief to workers and families, or both. The program ends on January 1, 2014 when State health insurance Exchanges are up and running. “In these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees. Many Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said. “The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees as we work to put in place market reforms to lower costs for all.” Rising health care costs have made it difficult for employers to provide quality, affordable health insurance for workers and retirees while also remaining competitive in the global marketplace. The percentage of large firms providing workers with retiree health coverage has dropped from 66 percent in 1988 to 29 percent in 2009. Health insurance premiums for older Americans are over four times more expensive than they are for young adults, and the deductible these enrollees pay is, on average, almost four times that for a typical employer-sponsored insurance plan. For more information about the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program, call 202-690-6343, or visit .

Looks to Benefit Local Company
Public Sphere Communications (PSC), a student-operated not-for-profit firm developed for a Purdue University Calumet course gives students the opportunity to work in their field and provide clients with a service that they would normally pay triple the amount for. PSC consists of 10 students that are participating in the experiential learning program. The service that the students are offering is an independent communication audit that will be provided for one local business. The audit includes services such as: performing a benchmarking report, conducting interviews, focus groups and surveys in the work environment. The client will receive an audit book that features recommendations aimed to promote a productive and profitable communication culture. The results will be published and provided to the client in December. Thomas Roach, who holds a doctorate in communication studies, created this course so that students could get a hands-on approach in the public relations field. Since its date of inception in 1989, there have been 20 different clients that have had communication audits preformed from students in this program. Some clients include: Nipsco, the cities of Hammond and Portage, the Munster Police Department, the BP refinery in Whiting and Globe and Associates in Chicago. “Many of our PR graduates that have graduated from this program currently hold top positions in Chicago. When a client commits to this program, they will get the same quality of work as a consulting firm would offer. They are essentially getting the service for free, because the students in this program are still working on a degree,” Roach said. For more information, call Public Sphere Communications at 308-0212, or e-mail at

Receives Colorful Donation
Taltree’s gardens will be even more colorful thanks to a donation of flowering shrubs from Spring Meadow Nursery in Grand Haven, Mich. The shrubs, valued at more than $1,000, will enhance the Hitz Family Rose Garden and the Welcome Garden. Spring Meadow, developer of ColorChoice plant introduction program, specializes in blooming shrubs from roses to hydrangeas. ColorChoice represents breeders in North America, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, England, Poland, South Korea and Japan. There are currently 43 ColorChoice varieties, including Oso Easy roses and several Viburnum and Hydrangea cultivars. Taltree’s Senior Horticulturist Patty Stimmel rounded up a group of volunteers to plant 15 roses from the Oso Easy series, including Paprika, Strawberry Cream, Peachy Cream, Fragrant Spreader and Honey Bun. “I was trying to find some lower-growing roses for the north end of the rose garden. I looked into the Oso series and they seem like they’d be perfect,” Stimmel said. “The best part is the height of these roses, as tall roses would be overpowering because of the slope.” Foy Spicer, Taltree’s Horticulturist in charge of the Welcome Garden, selected Blue Muffin, Cardinal Candy and Brandywine as the three varieties of Viburnum, and Let’s Dance Starlight and Limelight as the two varieties of Hydrangea hybrid. “We love the idea of using shrubs in the landscape for their easy care and two to three seasons of interest,” Spicer said. “We would especially like to expand our collection of Viburnums and Hydrangeas so that home gardeners can come and see what their options are.” The remaining shrubs will be planted this month. Taltree is located at 450 West 100 North in Valparaiso. Admission to the grounds is $5 for guests and free for Taltree members and children under five. For more information, visit, call 462-0025 or e-mail

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