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A Healthy Change

By Staff | May 16, 2010

Students at Blue Earth Area Schools will start eating healthier foods, thanks to a grant from the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). In fact, the school has received two grants – the second is being implemented by Community Education and will help fund ways for all people in Faribault County to improve their health.

Dar Holmseth, of Community Ed, and Sharon Hoyt, BEA school nurse, were at the Blue Earth Area School Board meeting last Monday to explain what they are doing with the two grants.

Holmseth invited the board members to attend a kick-off dinner on June 1 for the new SHIP local program. The dinner will be held at the BEA High School, and it is free.

“We want to get 125 community people there,” Holmseth says. “So we are not charging for the dinner, and it is open to the public.”

They will have three people speaking at the kick-off event.

Chera Sevcik is the SHIP coordinator for Faribault, Martin and Watonwan counties.

Another guest will be Chris Chalmers of Albert Lea Community Education, speaking about that city’s efforts to become a Blue Zone Vitality community.

“We have also hired a consultant to come and visit the area, then speak at the dinner,” Holmseth says. “Dan Burden is a nationally recognized authority on walkability, bicycle and pedestrian programs, street corridors, traffic flow, and other planning elements that effect roadway design.”

Holmseth says Burden will tour Blue Earth and the area on Monday and Tuesday morning, then report on his findings Tuesday evening at the dinner.

“One thing he will look at is traffic patterns around the schools,” Holmseth says. “He will look at sidewalks and trails for bikeability and walkability, as well as bus approaches.”

While the kick-off dinner on June 1 is free, those interested in attending need to register by May 21.

Hoyt says the second grant will be used for improving the way students eat, and the food choices they make.

“It isn’t that the school meals aren’t nutritional,” Hoyt says. “But we all need to get on board and change the way we eat if we are not making healthy choices.”

To read more of this story, see this week’s Register.