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USDA, University Researchers Examine All-Natural Mosquito Repellents

GEICO’s Good Stuff is a column series highlighting great stuff happening in the federal community.

Scientists are researching ways to capture the secrets of a traditional folk remedy insect repellent used in Mississippi for over a century.

The scientists are with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Research Service and the University of Mississippi, which houses the National Center for Natural Products Research.

The researchers are studying the American beautyberry plant (Callicarpa americana), the leaves of which can ward off insects like mosquitoes, ticks, and ants when rubbed on the skin, according to a Science Daily article.

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MSPB Denies Access to Voluntary Early Retirement to Employee Guilty of Embezzling Funds

On November 6, 2012, the Department of Agriculture proposed to indefinitely suspend an Area Director with the agency’s Rural Housing Service in Camden, Alabama in contemplation of an ongoing criminal investigation and the purported confession of the employee to the conduct at issue. On November 20, 2012, the employee pled guilty to a felony criminal charge related to embezzling $6,225,920.76 in government funds. On December 5, 2012, an email memorandum issued announcing the agency’s approval of an early buyout under the Voluntary Early Retirement Authority (“VERA”). But because the employee’s suspension had been effected on November 24, 2012, he did not have access to his agency email account and was unaware of the December 5th email memorandum about VERA. On December 18, 2012, the agency issued a proposed removal letter to the employee, and on December 21, 2012, the “window” for employees to apply for early retirement ended.

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