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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 Clarifies Due Process Standards Regarding Indefinite Suspensions Based on Suspended or Revoked Security Clearances

An Assistant Federal Security Director at the Grand Junction Regional Airport had her security clearance suspended by the agency after making statements to the local police on January 26, 2011. Thereafter, the agency proposed the employee’s indefinite suspension on February 1, 2011. The proposal cited the suspension of her security clearance “based on allegations regarding [her] mental health and personal conduct” which were outlined in the letter which suspended the employee’s security clearance. When the employee requested the materials relied upon, the agency claimed that it had only relied on the notice from the Personnel Security Division that the employee’s security clearance had been suspended. After amending a pending EEO complaint to include a challenge to her suspension, and the passage of 120 days from that amendment, the employee filed her appeal with the Board challenging her indefinite suspension and her intervening decision to retire after the agency revoked her security clearance in August 2011. The MSPB administrative judge, in applying the Board’s then-controlling case law, found that the agency had satisfied the employee’s due process right to notice of the reasons for the suspension of her clearance and to reply to the official who had authority to change the outcome, and affirmed the indefinite suspension. The employee filed a petition for review to the full Board. On August 27, 2014, the Board affirmed the initial decision to sustain the employee’s indefinite suspension, with modifications to the decision reflecting changes in analysis due to the existence of new precedent.

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