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Go Red event at Mall of America

This past Saturday, AHA held a Go Red Health Fair at the Mall of America. You’re the Cure advocates were there collecting petition cards in support of active transportation policy – funding walk and bike paths as part of the larger transportation investment in the state of Minnesota.

We were also asking kids to tell us, by drawing a picture what they do to stay active every day. The event produced great results and we collected more than 100 petition cards in support of the policy.

We want to thank our awesome volunteers, Norm, AmandaJean, Elaine, Erik, Rachel, Clara, Elliot, Amy, Angela and her daughter for coming out and supporting the cause, we could not have done this without you all!

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Litchfield Community Weighs In on Transportation Funding

This week the editorial board of the Litchfield Independent Review  overwhelmingly endorsed Move MN's balanced and holistic legislative proposal.
The op-ed agrees that Minnesota needs a 10-year commitment to fix our bridges, improve state highways and local roads, expand access to transit and create safer routes to school and work.
Join the American Heart Association in fighting for dedicated bike and pedestrian infrastructure funding as part of this package. Register for the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Lobby Day here. Check out the editorial below!

Minnesota’s transportation system is ailing, and the 2015 Legislature has the opportunity to find a cure.

The question is, will the Republican-controlled House and Senate choose a treatment that for some might involve the taking of a bitter pill? Or will they take the path of least resistance and prescribe a placebo that promises only short-term health?

A combination of a budget surplus spend-down and a tax increase makes the most sense, but the initial refusal by Republican leadership to consider increased fees or taxes is disappointing. And — so no one gets the idea that we’re simply bashing one party — we think Gov. Mark Dayton must at least attempt a more conciliatory and cooperative tone in the search for a compromise solution to our state’s sorely lacking transportation system. Continue reading here (photo - Litchfield Independent Review)

 

 

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Minneapolis School Board Votes to Cut P.E. Requirement

Despite our best efforts, the Minneapolis School Board voted tonight to cut physical education (PE) and Health graduation requirements in half. This is not only bad for the health of Minneapolis students but also bad for their academic success, as fit kids learn better.

Thanks to newly seated board member, Nelson Inz, for putting up a strong argument against it at his first official meeting. Thanks to our AHA State Advocacy committee member, Jack Olwell, and You're the Cure advocate, Michelle Trumpy, who sat through three hours of board business to testify and watch the final vote. We gave it our best effort! Voting against the proposal were Inz, Asberry and Ellison.  Kudos to them for their stand against a bad proposal! And thanks to all of you who took action on this important issue. We will be working a lot more to fight to protect and enhance P.E. in the state of Minnesota, so please stay tuned.

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Prep Yourself for the IL Legislative Session!

Our elected officials will returned to Springfield this week, we are off and running in the advocacy department on a new legislative session as well!
Before we jump right in and ask you to make those important phone calls and send those urgent emails to the legislature, here is a quick rundown of the issues we're going to be focusing on this legislative session.

· Prevent and Reduce ObesityHealthy Eating Active Living Act: Reducing the Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages

  • Secure a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and ensure that a portion of the state revenue generated by the tax is dedicated to health, obesity prevention and Medicaid funding.

· Prevent and Reduce ObesityProtect P.E. in Illinois Schools and Implementation of P.E. in Chicago Public Schools

  • Protect IL’s strong elementary and secondary school P.E. mandate from expected attacks and ensure the implementation of daily P.E. in Chicago Public Schools.

· Tobacco ControlProtect the Illinois Smoke-Free Air Act

  • Prevent any rollback of existing Smoke Free IL protections, notably in casinos and taverns.

· Systems of CareStatewide STEMI System of Care

  • Establish STEMI Systems of Care in line with the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Campaign via statewide legislation and work to secure state funding to assist local communities in purchasing automated external defibrillators, 12-lead EKGs, ambulances and other critical EMS equipment and infrastructure.

· System of CareRebuild Illinois’ EMS System

  • Rebuild Illinois’s EMS system by securing a stable, dedicated funding source for EMS and pursue an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates for EMS providers.

· Acute Cardiovascular CareLauren’s Law Implementation

  • Ensure the implementation of Lauren’s Law requiring all high school students to learn CPR prior to high school graduation.

Sounds pretty ambitious, doesn't it? The American Heart Association believes that everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. That is our why. As always, we're going to need your help to be successful with these policy priorities, so as you look at the list above, ask yourself which of the issues fits in with your why.
Whatever the reason, if you’d like to get more involved and work hand-in-hand with us on any of these issues, please send me an email (anne.simaytis@heart.org) or drop me a line (414-227-1410) anytime!

 

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Prep Yourself for the MN Legislative Session!

Now that our elected officials have returned to St. Paul, we are off and running in the advocacy department as well.
Before we jump right in and ask you to make those important phone calls and send those urgent emails to the legislature, here is a quick rundown of the issues we're going to be focusing on this legislative session.

· Prevent and Reduce Obesity – Main the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) funding

  • Maintain the $35 million of current program funding. SHIP provides state funding to local communities to support local efforts for reducing tobacco use, and increasing opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating.

· Prevent and Reduce Obesity – Strengthen P.E. in Minnesota Schools

  • Evidence demonstrates that healthy, active children are better learners. Yet schools continue to reduce the amount of physical education provided to our children. AHA advocates legislation that will strengthen physical education in schools across Minnesota. 

· Active Transportation – Funding for Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure

  • American Heart Association recommends sixty minutes of physical activity daily and bicycling and walking can provide a good opportunity for physical activity if it’s safe. AHA, as part of the Move MN campaign, will seek to pass a statewide comprehensive transportation bill that invests significant new funding in all modes of transportation including the first-ever dedicated funding for biking and walking to ensure we have the infrastructure and programs necessary to make it a safe choice to walk and bike.

· Stroke Systems of Care Funding for the Minnesota Stroke Registry Program

  • Secure state funding for the Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Unit at the MN Department of Health specifically to support the MN Stroke System, including support for the MN Stroke Registry Program, support for hospital designation, EMS and hospital training and a stroke hospital site visit program.

· Stroke Systems of Care EMS Transport Protocols

  • Seek legislation requiring EMS agencies to have written transfer protocols for Stroke patients that follow current national guidelines and best practices.

Sounds pretty ambitious, doesn't it? The American Heart Association believes that everyone has a reason to live a longer, healthier life. That is our why. As always, we're going to need your help to be successful with these policy priorities, so as you look at the list above, ask yourself which of the issues fits in with your why.
Whatever the reason, if you’d like to get more involved and work hand-in-hand with us on any of these issues, please send me an email (anne.simaytis@heart.org) or drop me a line (414-227-1410) anytime!

 

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Move Up in Ranks - Meet Your Lawmakers in St. Paul!

Starting in January , we'll be working on many great issues to make Minnesota a healthier state! Join us at one of the upcoming Lobby Days to advocate for Heart Health!

 February 18th, 2015 

Legislative Breakfast - Systems of Care   REGISTER HERE

Learn about the importance of acute care issues when treating heart disease and stroke!

 

March 25th, 2015

Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Lobby Day   REGISTER HERE

Learn about the importance of fighting childhood obesity and promoting healthy communities!

 

There is no cost to attend either events, but advance registration is required.

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New Road Map to the End of Hunger Launched in Minnesota

The Public News Service of Minnesota published an article on Food Insecurity in our state.  AHA's Rachel Callanan serves on the Steering Committee of the Minnesota Food Charter. Check it out!

 DULUTH, Minn. - Minnesota is set to roll out a new plan on ending hunger as hundreds of advocates from around the state convene at the annual Food Access Summit, beginning today in Duluth.

Lucinda Jesson, Minnesota human services commissioner, says this year's gathering will include the public launch of the Minnesota Food Charter, aimed at improving access for families struggling to put food on the table.

"This is the result of about a year of public input from a lot of stakeholders," says Jesson. "Basically it's a road map on how we're going to get to the goal of making sure all Minnesotans have access to healthy, affordable food." - Continue reading here

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Minneapolis Passes Measures for Healthy Food Access!

On October 31st, the Minneapolis City Council passed the Staple Food Ordinance unanimously! Thanks to all of our advocates who took action on this important issue, and  to You’re the Cure advocate Dr. Courtney Jordan Baechler for testifying on behalf of the American Heart Association.

The Staple Food Ordinance would remove a key barrier for many to eating healthy by making healthier food more available and accessible to Minneapolis residents.  This ordinance ensures that stores offer an appropriate variety and amount of staple foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It  also provides store owners with flexibility to meet requirements using culturally appropriate foods and clarify exemption criteria for business owners across all types of retail food outlets. There are many barriers to eating healthy, but proximity to healthier food is barrier that can be addressed.

Corner stores are a frequent source of food for urban residents, youth and families, but often do not carry healthy foods. However, residents living near supermarkets have healthier diets and are 17% less likely to be obese. Additionally white and higher income residents are more likely to eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day compared to lower income residents and people of color.

The American Heart Association recommends that children eat at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal. But many Minnesota children are falling short. The 2013 Minnesota Student Survey found that 55% of respondents are not eating fruit and 60% are not eating vegetables at least once a day. Even more startling, 7% ate no fruit at all and 1 out of 10 ate no vegetables at all, during the previous week.

Measures like this ordinance will create more opportunities for parents to incorporate fruits and vegetables as part of regular meals and improve the diets of many children.

There was a tremendous show of support at the public hearing!

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Farm to School Program in MN Produces Healthy Results

Check out the article posted this week in the Public News Service about the Farm to School Program happening in our state! (Photo Credit - Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy)

ST. Paul, Minn. - October is National Farm to School Month and in Minnesota, it's an event being celebrated in an ever-growing number of districts, in every corner of the state.

The Farm to School program links school districts with nearby farms, to open new markets for those growers and get more healthy and fresh foods into cafeterias. It's also aimed at educating children about where and how their food is grown, says Erin McKee VanSlooten, Farm to Institution senior program associate with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

"Minnesota is really a leader in farm to school," says VanSlooten. "We have been at the vanguard and doing a lot of innovative programs, trying to get more regionally sourced products into their meals." - Continue reading here

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MnDOT Starts Applicant Search for SRTS Grants

MnDOT talks about how they are seeking applicants for the Safe Routes to School grant, check it out!

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota schools and their partners are invited to apply for $1.25 million in Safe Routes to School grant funds for projects that will help more children safely walk and bicycle to school. Applications are due Jan. 9, 2015, and are available at http://www.dot.state.mn.us/saferoutes/, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

Schools in Minnesota may apply for state grants in three categories:

SRTS Infrastructure Solicitation  – K-12 schools, in partnership with cities or counties, will receive grants to support infrastructure identified in Safe Routes to School planning efforts that improve safety or access for children walking and bicycling to school. MnDOT has $1 million in state funds for projects constructed in 2015 or 2016. Continue reading here

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