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Friday Facts: Government Information You Can Use

This Week's Facts:

-Contest Asks Students to Illustrate Sun Exposure Dangers

-This Week Marks Montgomery Bus Boycott Anniversary

-USA.gov Offers Tips for Obtaining Free Credit Reports

Award Recognizes Extraordinary Hoosier Women

The Indiana Commission for Women  celebrates Indiana Women during the annual Torchbearer Awards. The awards, sponsored and hosted by the Commission for Women, are the most esteemed recognition of women in the state. They are awarded to women who have contributed to the betterment of Indiana, whether its breaking down barriers to equality or simply made the state a better place to live. These awards recognize the many contributions made by Indiana women and acknowledge their role in Indiana. Previous award winners come from all over the state and many different walks of life. The award ceremony is on March 1st at the Indiana Government Center South Building and is free and open to the public. Click here to register. 

Commission Provides Legal Resources for Individuals in Need

Do your patrons ever ask you what pro bono is? No, we’re not referring to the singer. Pro bono means “for the common good” and is a longstanding legal tradition of proving services for those who can’t pay – often the weak, defenseless, and oppressed. The Indiana Pro Bono Commission has information and resources for finding a legal aid provider, requesting help with an appeal, and many other resources to help you or your loved ones navigate the legal system. Those who are interested in representing themselves in court will find information here as well. The Indiana Pro Bono Commission does not offer legal advice or help with criminal cases, but their website provides valuable resources for those who find themselves in need of legal assistance.

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Friday Facts Editorial Team:

Katharine Springer
State Data Center Coordinator

Elisabeth Hedges
Federal Documents Librarian
&

Kim Brown-Harden
State Documents Coordinator

Indiana Federal Depository Library Program

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Contest Asks Students to Illustrate Sun Exposure Dangers

SunWise with SHADE Poster ContestDo you have any young patrons with artistic ability? Would any of them be interested in winning a trip to Disney World? The EPA and the Shade Foundation, in conjunction with other partners, are sponsoring their annual SunWise with SHADE Poster Contest. The contest is open for kids in kindergarten through eighth grade and is designed to show the dangers of overexposure to the sun. Entrants will design a poster using five of the SunWise Action Steps and submit them by the first of April. Action Steps include wearing protective clothing, watching the UV Index, staying in the shade, and finding alternate ways to get Vitamin D. The prizes are pretty neat – in the kindergarten through third grade category, the top five entries will win a digital camera. The national contest winner in the fourth through eighth grade category wins a family trip to Disney World, a Shade ‘N Net shade structure for their school, and a trip to Washington DC to attend an awards ceremony. To see the complete contest rules, as well as images of previous years’ winners, check out this handout.

This Week Marks Montgomery Bus Boycott Anniversary 

American Memory: Montgomery Bus Boycott February 22 marks the anniversary of the arrests of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and others involved in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, one of the early victories of the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1950s, it was Alabama state law that the first ten seats be saved for white passengers. If those seats were filled, black passengers were required to give up their seats. In December of 1955, a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat for incoming white passengers. She was consequently arrested. While this was not the first instance of resistance, it did become a rallying point and the beginning of a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system. This in turn led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision that banned segregation on public transportation. The National Archives in Atlanta has a good page that includes background information, as well as images of some important documents from the case. You may also be interested in the Library of Congress Today in History feature on Rosa Parks. Finally, check out this telegram from Nobel Peace Prize winner Ralph Bunche to Dr. King, following the latter’s arrest.

USA.gov Offers Tips for Obtaining Free Credit Reports

USA.gov: Tips for Obtaining Free Credit ReportsNormally, the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) may charge you a fee for a copy of your credit report. However, an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the CRAs to provide a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months.

Get Your Free Credit Report

To obtain a free copy of your credit report, visit AnnualCreditReport.com, or request your free credit report by phone by calling 1.877.322.8228. Deaf and hard of hearing consumers can access the TTY service by calling 711 and referring the Relay Operator to 1.800.821.7232. To request your free credit report by mail, please complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form (PDF document) and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, PO Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Answers to frequently asked questions about AnnualCreditReport.com are also available.

Other Times You Are Eligible for a Free Credit Report

You may also request a free copy of your credit report in some other circumstances. Visit website about access to free credit reports from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for this information. Or, call the FTC and speak to a representative for assistance. You may call them at 1.877.FTC.HELP (1.877.382.4357) or 1.202.326.2222. TTY users may call 1.866.653.4261.

Changes to Advertising for "Free Credit Reports"

As of April 2, 2010, advertising for free credit reports require new disclosures to help consumers avoid confusing free offers-- which often require consumers to spend money on credit monitoring or other products or services-- with the free credit reports available at AnnualCreditReport.com. For more information, please visit the FTC news release concerning the amendment to the Free Credit Reports Rule.

Filing a Complaint

If any of the CRAs denies your request for a free credit report contact the CRA directly to try and resolve the issue. The CRA should inform you of the reason they denied the request and explain what to do next. Often, you will only need to provide information that was missing or incorrect on your application for a free credit report. If you are unable to resolve the dispute with the CRA, file a complaint with the FTC by calling 1.877.FTC.HELP (1.877.382.4357) or 1.202.326.2222. TTY users may call 1.866.653.4261.

Additional Resources:

These Credit Report FAQs are brought to you as a courtesy of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) via the USA.gov blog.

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