Henry County is changing in a healthy way, board is told
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
“Henry County is changing in a healthy way and residents are starting to take notice of these changes,” said Kelly Carr, Healthy Henry County Communities coordinator.
HHCC, during its regular meeting Tuesday in the lower-level meeting room of the Iowa State University Extension office, discussed these healthy changes.
One of the events that HHCC organized was a Walk to School Day which took place on Oct. 9. “We had 29 kids at Salem, that’s about one-fourth of the student enrollment,” said Greg Moeller, member of the committee.
“We ran out of booklets, so we didn’t even keep track. There were a lot of kids walking and biking to school to that day,” said Rose Lauer, another member of the committee. This event encouraged kids to walk or bike to school and as an incentive, received stickers and coloring books when they arrived.
Lindsey Remick, wellness coordinator added, “There were kids who would have their parents drive them to a location so they could walk to school. It was a great turnout.”
Also on Oct. 9, HHCC and Iowa Wesleyan College sponsored a Healthiest State Walk and approximately 181 people attended. “It was a great day, students participated as well,” Remick said.
The Health Halloween Walk also had success with 400 people attending. “There were 15 different activity stations. One station, sponsored by Community Health, brought the flu mist vaccine with them and people/kids were able to get vaccinated. They weren’t sure if they would use the amount they brought, but they did,” Carr told the committee.
“We are making advances in the community to become healthier,” said Carr. “Lindsay (Remick) has been talking with local vendors about adopting the Your Plate-Your Health initiative.”
“We helped four restaurants make changes for the better and we know of a couple more that what to get on board,” Remick said in regards to the initiative. “We helped them print new menus, added table tents and window clings, all showing the Your Plate-Your Health logo. Tazza Bella, Short Stop in New London, Mt. Pleasant Golf and Country Club and Pad Thai all joined the initiative and made healthier changes. In a year, we will reassess them and see if they upheld the changes.”
HHCC is also helping to make changes in ways of substance abuse. Ron Archer, chief of police in Mt. Pleasant, told the board that, “On Oct. 26 it was ‘drug take back day’ and we took in 21 pounds of old prescription drugs that day. Overall, we shipped out 160 pounds.” This initiative is ongoing and the police department, along with the sheriff’s department, encourages people to turn in old prescription drugs in order to prevent children or others abusing them.
The committee has been busy this year and really has helped to make changes in the community for the better. The committee has helped to create a resource guide for healthy cooking classes and is also looking to partner with 4-H clubs to do healthy cooking demonstrations next summer.
HHCC has also held discussions with area schools about adding healthier alternatives to their concession stands. Winfield-Mt. Union has jumped on board and added trail mix and a veggie tray to the stand.
“Through the Community Transformation Grant we were able to purchase new crosswalk signals along Washington Street, new brighter rolling stop signs at Van Allen and Salem Elementary, new “Yield to Pedestrian” signs at all schools in Mt. Pleasant, including IWC, new bike racks at the square, REC Center, schools etc. These all help to make Henry County a safer place,” said Carr.
Ryan Duffie, from the Mt. Pleasant REC Center, finished the meeting by sharing news of the upcoming 5K at the REC Center. “The REC Center will be holding a 5K walk on Nov. 23. It is called the Gobble Wobble and residents can contact the REC Center in order to sign up or to help volunteer,” he said.
Healthy Henry County Communities will meet again for their holiday party on Dec. 12, and will meet on January 7, at 1 p.m. for its regular meeting. The location of the meeting is to be determined at a later date.