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This Week's Facts:

-Memorial Day Weekend is Time to Celebrate & Remember

-Initiative Aims to Rally Support for Indiana Produce

-Help Raise Bike Safety Awareness in May

-This Month Designated to Promote Mental Health

Outdoor Indiana: State Park Profiles

Longer days and warm weather create the perfect combination to help people enjoy Indiana’s many State Parks and reservoirs. The Division of State Parks and Reservoirs of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources encourages Hoosier families to Go! Get Outside with package deals for every budget and interest:  water sports, camping, trails, biking, and more. There are also activities for every level of fitness. Remember to go outside and get moving this summer!  

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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Bivouac of the Dead, Theodore O’Hara

For many Hoosiers, Memorial Day weekend means two things: the Indy 500 and spending Monday at a cookout instead of work. However, it’s important to remember the roots of the holiday. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for the men and women who died while serving in the United States military. As many people know, Memorial Day has its origins in the years following the Civil War, when local groups would decorate the graves of those killed in the war. In 1868, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day as a time to place flowers on the graves of veterans. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is largely believed that the end of May was chosen because flowers would be in bloom around most of the country. American s continued to honor Civil War dead through the first World War, when the holiday was expanded to include all fallen veterans. In 1971, the name was officially changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day. The VA has a great website on Memorial Day, including its history, information on military funeral honors, flag displaying guidelines, and the story behind the poppy. If you are unable to attend a Memorial Day service, the VA encourages you to observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.

Of course, this does not mean that you can’t enjoy your day off! Be sure to check out’s page on Memorial Day, which includes links to barbeque food safety, swimming safety, American recipes, and more.

Initiative Aims to Rally Support for Indiana Produce  

Indiana GrownThere’s an old saying that there’s more than corn in Indiana. Well, it’s true! The Indiana State Department of Agriculture is part of a cooperative effort between producers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers to promote Indiana produce and products. The ultimate goal of Indiana Grown is to identify and support Indiana-grown and produced products. Farmers and other Indiana agricultural producers and processors wanting to participate in this program must apply for membership. Some of the Indiana Grown program categories include produce, field crops, forestry, dairy, eggs, livestock & livestock products, fish & seafood, and ornamental horticulture. Indiana Grown Producers can be found all over the state and with a variety of products. Indiana has a long, rich agricultural history; support of Indiana farms and produce will ensure the tradition continues.   

Help Raise Bike Safety Awareness this May

May is National Bike Safety MonthMany of you may have participated in Bike to Work Day last Friday, but did you know that the entire month of May is National Bike Safety Month? Summer is on its way, and people are starting to check their tires, dust of their helmets, and hit the road again. Riding your bike is fun, good exercise, and a great way to save on gas. However, it’s important to practice safe habits while you’re doing it! has a great blog post on it that includes tips on prepping your bike, rules for riding in the street, and rules for riding on the sidewalk. It’s also important to wear a helmet; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that fewer than half of bicycle riders wear one, even though they are 88% effective in preventing serious brain injury. It’s not enough to just wear a helmet, though. You need to make sure that it fits properly. Check out their Easy Steps to Properly Fit a Bicycle Helmet to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your helmet. You can also learn how to be a “Roll” Model by encouraging safety in others.

Want to ride your bike but not sure where to do it? The Indiana DNR has a page on Bicycle Road Routes that lists counties with bicycle route systems. You can also show your support for biking and bike riders by purchasing a license plate sponsored by the Indiana Bicycle Coalition for your car. Happy riding!

Month Designated to Promote Mental Health

Mental Health AssociationYour physical health is important. However, dealing with mental and emotional stress can overwhelm the healthiest of individuals. May has been recognized by the federal government as National Mental Health Month since 1949.  The Office of Federal Occupational Health recognizes the month:

Recognizing the signs of mental illness is important. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, or sleep problems are not uncommon. However, when these feelings get very intense, last for long periods of time, or begin to interfere with school, friendships and other relationships, it may be a sign of a mental illness. Depression, attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety, conduct, and eating disorders are all types of diagnosable mental disorders found in children. Although mental disorders in children are appearing more often, great advances have been made in the areas of diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

You can learn more about mental health issues by visiting the National Mental Health Association or the National Institute for Mental Health. The blog encourages the public, “Take care of your mental well being this month,” with tips to coping with stress and links to federal mental health resources. Check out this bulletin from to help Alleviate Stress.


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