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Archive for Monday, October 5, 2009

Events aim to get Lawrence residents walking, talking

October 5, 2009

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Healthy living

Lawrence residents are invited to events Tuesday designed to build a healthier community.

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for 11:30 a.m. for the new Burroughs Creek Trail and Linear Park at Parnell Park, 901 E. 15th St.

And from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., “Building a Healthier Lawrence” will be the focus during an event at Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. Keynote speakers will be Mark Fenton, who hosts the PBS series “America’s Walking,” and Sara Snow, a TV host and author who travels the country promoting sustainable eating. The first 100 attendees will each get $10 tokens to spend at the Lawrence Farmers’ Market.

You’ve heard the advice over and over as part of the talk about health care reform:

Americans need to get moving and eat right because chronic health conditions are costing our nation billions of dollars each year.

Sounds easy, but it’s not.

And if you think Lawrence already is a healthy community, think again. Studies show that 50 percent of the adult population is overweight or obese.

Tuesday afternoon, two nationally recognized health leaders — Mark Fenton and Sara Snow — will offer some direction on how Lawrence residents can help build a healthier community. The event is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

Fenton serves on the executive committee of the Partnership for a Walkable America and hosts a new PBS series, “America’s Walking.” He is the author of “The Complete Guide to Walking for Health, Weight Loss and Fitness.”

Snow serves on the board of directors for the Organic Center, a national nonprofit organization, and has a regular segment, “Living Green with Sara Snow,” on CNN.com LIVE. She is the author of “Sara Snow’s Fresh Living: The Essential Room-by-Room Guide to a Greener, Healthier Family and Home.”

Marilyn Hull, program officer of the Douglas County Community Foundation and facilitator for LiveWell Lawrence, said Lawrence is “very lucky” to get the speakers.

Hull said Fenton will talk about how to build an environment that supports walking and bicycling. He is a proponent of making exercise part of our daily routine — walking to work, school, stores, parks or movies.

“It’s really taking us back to the way cities were constructed 50 years ago, when it was assumed that people would walk from place to place, and our streets and our buildings and everything were laid out to support that,” Hull said. “He’s really in a way getting back to the ways things were in the past and away from a completely car-dominated culture.”

She said Snow will talk about practical ways that people can incorporate local foods in their diet.

“They are here to talk about the way that the community can support our citizens and their own health goals,” Hull said.

The presentation is being sponsored by the Kansas Health Foundation, which also is providing $10 tokens to the first 100 attendees. The tokens will be good for merchandise at the Downtown Lawrence Farmers’ Market.

Fenton and Snow also are helping the Kansas Health Foundation with some strategic and leadership initiatives during meetings this week in Lawrence.

Before Tuesday’s presentation, Fenton will provide an audit on how walkable the area is from downtown Lawrence to New York School for a handful of staff members from the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Department and other community leaders. The school, 936 N.Y., is four blocks east of Massachusetts Street.

“He helps communities look at how they can support safer routes to school and walking in the community in general, and instead of him just talking about it, we are actually going to get out and do it,” Hull said.

These events will come on the heels of a groundbreaking ceremony for the Burroughs Creek Trail and Linear Park at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at Parnell Park, 901 E. 15th St., which is open to the public.

The trail, which will run along a rail corridor from 11th to 23rd streets, west of Haskell Avenue, is being developed on existing city property and the abandoned rail corridor. The $850,000 project is scheduled to be complete by Dec. 31.

Roger Steinbrock, marketing supervisor for the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department, said the paved trail will be for walkers and bicyclists, and will further connect the city’s trail system.

“It’s going to be a neat trail,” said Steinbrock, who also serves on LiveWell Lawrence.

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