SCLibs E-Gov: Connect to Your Government RSS

Archive

Jun
23rd
Thu
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Redistricting

The redistricting process for Florida’s state legislative and congressional districts is underway. The Florida House of Representatives has set up a website, Florida Redistricting, to give the public access to the process. We even have access to the computer application legislators will use to propose districts, called MyDistrictBuilder, and citizens can use it to propose districts too.

Jun
17th
Fri
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ACCESS Florida paper application

If you or someone you know needs to apply for assistance in Florida but you don’t want to fill out the form online, there is still a paper application available that can be printed and sent in.

Go to http://www.dcf.state.fl.us/dcfforms/Search/DCFFormSearch.aspx  and search for Form 2337. And of course, library staff is happy to help you find and print the form so you can fill it out at your convenience.

Jun
9th
Thu
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Let’s Go Fishing!

According to USA.gov, this is National Fishing and Boating Week. What a great time to go online and get a fishing license? The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can also tell you all about fishing regulations and how to identify your catch.

And, if your dad likes fishing as much as mine does, you could use your new license and knowledge to show him a good time on Father’s Day.

Jun
7th
Tue
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Keep Reading and Moving

Summer vacation kicks off this week, and just like we want to keep kids reading over the summer, we hope they’ll keep moving too. Let’s Move is the First Lady’s initiative to keep kids healthy and fight childhood obesity. Find nutrition, exercise and activitiy tips at www.letsmove.org.  

Jun
2nd
Thu
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Gardening Help

After three years I have finally learned enough about gardening in Florida to get a small harvest: two cucumbers, six potatoes, and at least a dozen tomatoes so far. Some of my other plants have not fared as well, though. When my watermelon plants finally produced a fruit, I checked it every day, but sadly, when it reached baseball size a nasty-looking black spot appeared.

To figure out what went wrong, I checked witrh the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. 

"Extension is a partnership between state, federal, and county governments to provide scientific knowledge and expertise to the public."

From http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/about/

According to them, my watermelons seem to be suffering from blossom end rot, caused by calcium deficiency in the soil. To be sure, I could contact a Master Gardener through a county extension office. In Sarasota County, we can call or email for gardening help or visit a help desk at a satellite location, including six of the libraries! They can examine my watermelon in person, test my soil and water, and tell me how to avoid this problem next time. For now, I’ll have to enjoy my tomatoes.  

May
26th
Thu
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Gas Prices Too High?*

Gas prices have gone down a bit lately, but they’re still pretty high. So when my colleague sent me the link to the Florida Department of Transportation’s Commuter Services I immediately tried the Cost Calculator. The results at first made me wonder whether it’s even worth it to go to work, but then I realized the calculator adds a standard mileage reimbursement rate on top of gas costs, possibly overkill. But I still think it’s a useful tool for looking at gas expenditures. My colleague likes the Trip Tracking Program which allows her to track how much she’s saving by using alternate forms of transportation. And, possibly, win prizes.

Well, since I have no choice but to drive to work every day, I’m going to start checking in with FuelEconomy.gov, a site from the U. S. Dept. of Energy. It provides a lot of useful information I might use when shopping for a more fuel-efficient car…someday. But for now I can use their money-saving tips to increase my mileage and link to third-party sites that track the cheapest gas prices in my area.

*There’s probably something to be said about high gas prices leading to less consumption and alternate means of transportation. But for now many of us are still stuck driving.

May
20th
Fri
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Zombie Preparedness

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has prepared a new guide to help Americans prepare in case of a zombie attack. No, it isn’t April 1, and maybe they haven’t lost their minds (or lost their brains to zombies). As stated in the article, “maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

Learn more about how you can stay safe from zombies and other emergencies at http://emergency.cdc.gov/socialmedia/zombies_blog.asp

May
2nd
Mon
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Mortgage Help for Floridians

A new program is now available to help Floridians needing help paying their mortgages. https://www.flhardesthithelp.org/ has all the information, including eligibility and how to apply. And thanks once again to my fellow librarians for passing this one along!

Apr
20th
Wed
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PAST*-minute tax information

So the deadline has passed, and I hope you were able to file on time, or at least request an extension. If you weren’t, the IRS would like to share with you some information about the penalties you may owe in addition to your tax bill. The most important thing to remember is that the sooner you do file (and pay), the less you will owe.

If you did file, and you would like to know where all that money is going, grab a copy of your tax return and check out Your 2010 Federal Taxpayer Receipt. By entering the amounts you paid for Social Security, Medicare, and income tax, you’ll be able to calculate the dollar amounts you paid toward different areas of the federal government. Even though we’ve heard the percentages before, it is fascinating to see a dollar amount associated with one’s own tax bill.

*Thanks to my colleague at Highlights for the first link, and for the title of today’s post. Why should I be clever when she’s already done it for me?

Apr
14th
Thu
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Really-last-minute tax information

With just a few more days until the April 18 deadline, I had to squeeze in one more post about how IRS.gov can help you if you haven’t yet filed your return.

Today I’ll direct you to their news releases page, featuring such helpful recent posts as “Avoid Common Mistakes When Filing Your Tax Return,” “IRS YouTube Videos Provide Information to Last-Minute Filers,” and “Can’t File on Time? Get an Extension until Oct. 17.”

Also refer to the tax information page of the library’s website. The AARP volunteers will be out at three libraries on Monday April 18 to help last-minute filers. But be sure to check the times and go early!