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Join us on National Wear Red Day, Friday, February 5

The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women are asking for your support by participating in National Wear Red Day® on Friday, February 5, 2016 and donating to help fund research during American Health Month.

Why Go Red? Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action. That’s why this year we are asking that you wear red on National Wear Red Day® and donate to Go Red For Woman. By doing so you help support educational programs to increase women’s awareness and critical research to discover scientific knowledge about cardiovascular health. 

And don’t forget to make your heart health a priority. Schedule your Well-Woman Visit, a prevention check-up to review a woman’s overall health so her doctor can measure blood pressure, check cholesterol and look for signs of heart disease, stroke and other illnesses. Then encourage others through your social channels to do the same.

We couldn’t make positive changes without the support and donations by individuals like you.

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American Heart Association Proposes Solution to Alabama's Money Woes

As the Alabama Legislature prepares to come back in session, money is still needed to properly run state government. While gambling has been at the forefront as a possible answer, Governor Bentley does not think it can solve the problem. In fact, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh recently said in news articles that he does not expect gambling to pass this year. You can read more about that on DecaturDaily.com.

It’s clear that lawmakers need to seek new solutions to make the state fully function. The American Heart Association believes a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB) Tax is the answer! We have been working tirelessly to propose a SSB tax to help fully fund Medicaid. This will be our top priority during the 2016 legislative session and we’ll keep you posted on the progress and how you can help.

Stay tuned!

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Anniston Opens Up Smoke Free Ordinance

On December 7, city council members in Anniston, Ala. allowed public comment on exempting cigar bars from the smoke free ordinance. Council members took a vote and ultimately approved the exemption. This could be the beginning of changes that would weaken the protections against secondhand smoke for all workers in Anniston.

Secondhand smoke causes heart disease, cancer, lung disease and other illnesses to both children and adults who smoke. Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, such as that occurring in a workplace, is associated with a 25-30% increased risk for coronary heart disease in adult nonsmokers.

The American Heart Association remains committed to advocating for comprehensive smoke-free air laws at the state and local level in Alabama.

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Get Social With Your Members of Congress

Will you be on Facebook or Twitter today? Your Members of Congress and their staff will be, and it's a good place to reach them according to a report released in October by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF).

The CMF report, #SocialCongress, says Congressional offices are listening to social media chatter and it takes relatively few posts or comments to get their attention. That's good news for us!

So, how can you use the Facebook newsfeed or Twitter timeline to get the attention of lawmakers and help pass heart healthy policies?

  • Follow your members of Congress, as well as state and local elected officials on Twitter. ‘Like’ and ‘Follow’ their pages on Facebook.
  • Tweet about our health policy issues, tagging the appropriate legislators by using the @ sign and their Twitter handle. For example: I’m from Pennsylvania, so I’d tag my U.S. Senators by including @SenBobCasey & @SenToomey in my tweet.
  • If they allow it, you can post about our issues directly on the Facebook pages of elected officials. Frequently, that feature is disabled but you are able to comment on their posts. According to #SocialCongress, Congressional offices typically monitor those comments for a limited period of time. Your best bet is to comment within the first 24 hours after a post.
  • Rally your friends and family members to tweet, post or comment about an issue on a single ‘day of action’. CMF’s survey data shows just 30 or fewer comments can be enough to make a legislative office pay attention.
  • Be sure to use the campaign hashtag if one has been created by your advocacy staff partners. The #hashtag allows all the relevant posts to be woven together to tell our story, and makes your post searchable by others interested in the issue.    

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We're Feeling Grateful

As AHA Advocacy staff, we get to work alongside the most remarkable volunteers- like YOU! We get to see lives improved and lives saved as a result of the work we’ve done together, and for that, we're grateful.

As You’re the Cure volunteers, you share personal stories of loved ones lost too soon, of survival, or of triumph over heart disease or stroke- all because you know your stories will make a difference in someone else’s life. It is often those stories that convince lawmakers to pass the policies making our communities healthier.

Because of you, more babies are being screened with Pulse Ox and having their heart defects corrected before it’s too late. Because of you, people in communities around the country have been saved by students who learned CPR in school. Because of you, people are getting better stroke care, families have safe places for active play, fewer people are smoking, and kids are eating healthier food at school.  The impact you’re making is incredible, and our communities are better places- because of you.

You make us cry. You share your joy. You inspire us. You amaze us. And we’re just so grateful for all you do.

We’re including YOU as we count our blessings this month, and we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends!   

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Carver Elementary Celebrates National Eating Healthy Day

 On Nov. 4, National Eating Healthy Day, the American Heart Association encouraged Americans to commit to healthier eating. Connie Dacus, a You're the Cure advocate and member of the American Heart Association State Advocacy Committee, wanted to celebrate the day by teaching students how to make healthy choices.

Connie worked with the American Heart Association, Alabama State University and Carver Elementary School to host the first mini heart farmers' market at Carver Elementary located in Montgomery, Ala. Students and parents walked from station to station to learn about which fruits and vegetables are in season for fall and what they look like, as well as how to cook with the produce. Students who did not attend the farmers' market received fact sheets and other goodies to help bring the experience home.

With advocates like Connie, the American Heart Association is one step closer to meeting its Impact Goal, which is to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20% - all by 2020!

You can learn more about National Eating Healthy Day at heart.org.

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Homewood Considers Stronger Smokefree Laws

After a lengthy debate, the public safety committee voted to recommend updates to Homewood’s smoking regulations at their Oct. 5 meeting.

The updates, proposed by the Safe & Healthy Homewood Coalition, include revisions to broaden the existing smoking ordinance, such as increasing the minimum distance a smoker must be from a business’ doorway, adding electronic cigarettes to the existing regulations and regulating the operation of private businesses dedicated to smoking.

The committee’s recommendation came with the proposal to ban smoking within 20 feet of a business’ doorway, which is an increase from the current 10 feet but a reduction from the 30 feet the Coalition proposed. Some stated concerns that a 30-foot distance is impossible in close shopping areas such as 18th Street South.

Read more at TheHomewoodStar.com.

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Vickie Evans Fuller, Alabama

The American Heart Association Alabama Advocacy Committee consists of eleven Alabama residents from a variety of backgrounds united to advance the advocacy priorities of the organization. Throughout the fiscal year, we’ll introduce you to some of the members. Today, we’d like you to meet Vickie Evans Fuller.

How do you stay updated on current public policies in your state? AHA, the newspaper, TV and keeping the conversation going at community events

If you could help advocate for one change in your state, what would it be and why? Schools to work with the AHA to educate children at a young age to eat healthy and exercise more

What have you learned in your time being a You’re the Cure advocate? How powerful advocacy can be! I'm very happy to learn of the states that have passed laws to ensure newborns receive a pulse oximetry screening to detect heart issues.

Why would you tell a friend or family member to join You’re the Cure? Because heart disease affects everyone at some time, whether it's them or someone in their family.

Tell us one unique thing about yourself. I am currently working on my finance degree at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I have two daughters, one granddaughter and one grandbaby on the way in February.

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Sing to End Stroke

One in three Americans can’t recall any stroke warning signs. What if singing a song could help people recognize a stroke and give someone the power to save a life?

On World Stroke Day, October 29th, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is using music to help people remember the common warning signs of stroke, F.A.S.T. (Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 9-1-1).

Why learn the F.A.S.T song? The quicker you recognize the stroke warning signs and call 9-1-1 for stroke, the better the chances of recovery. 

Here is how you can participate:

So get your vocal cords ready and let's sing to end stroke!

  

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Gov. Bentley Questions if Budget is Unconstitutional

On September 8, the Alabama Legislature convened for a second special session to address the state’s budget crisis. Eight days later they passed a budget that relies heavily on a 25-cent tobacco tax increase and moving money from education to close a large portion of the budget hole.

Gov. Robert Bentley signed the budget the next day, and shortly afterwards questioned if the budget is unconstitutional because it encroaches on executive branch authority. To be certain, he asked the Alabama Supreme Court to issue an opinion on four specific item in the budget that place restrictions on state agencies.

According to AL.com, “the parts of the budget Bentley questioned [are]:

  • Require the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency to keep open all drivers license offices that were in operation at the beginning of fiscal year 2015 (Oct. 1, 2014), and that any reductions in force focus on areas that don't directly serve the public.
  • Prohibit spending General Fund or earmarked funds in the budget for capital outlay for the construction of new buildings, except in the case of a natural disaster or other emergency. If there is an emergency, the agency would have to make a request to the finance director and the chairs of the House and Senate budget committees, and two of the three would have to approve before the money could be spent.
  • Prohibit spending General Fund or earmarked funds on vehicle purchases or leases. Again, if there is an emergency, the agency would have to make a request to the finance director and the two budget chairs, and two of the three would have to approve.
  • Agencies must cut spending to administrative functions before any cuts made to direct services or payments to recipients of government programs.”

We want to know your thoughts. Do you think any of these items are unconstitutional?

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