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Live, work, play Town meeting on healthy living May 4 in Perham

A healthy community is about to get healthier.

The City of Perham and the Perham Area Community Center are sponsoring a community input meeting May 4, centered on the concept of active living.

The meeting will help explore opportunities to make Perham a more active and healthy place to live through community design.

"We want to know how housing, walking, trails, shopping, schools, parks, recreation, roads and bicycling affect the way you live, work and play," said Chuck Johnson, Economic Development Authority director.

The meeting is free and open to the public and is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4, 5-6:30 p.m. at the Perham Area Community Center.

A light supper will be provided by the Statewide Health Improvement Program. No pre-registration is required.

"We want to gauge residents' knowledge of and ideas for incorporating active living principles in Perham," said Johnson. "We are excited to hear what is important to area residents."

The goal of the community is to share information and gather input from residents. The meeting is intended to engage participants by using electronic clickers and discussion to register satisfaction or dissatisfaction regarding community design topics.

The event is also co-sponsored by the Becker, Clay, Otter Tail and Wilkin Counties. Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), an integral part of Minnesota's nationleading 2008 health reform law, strives to help Minnesotans lead longer, healthier lives by preventing the chronic disease risk factors of tobacco use and exposure, poor nutrition and physical inactivity. SHIP seeks to create sustainable, systemic changes in schools, worksites, communities and health care organizations that make it easier for Minnesotans to incorporate healthy behaviors into their daily lives.

Representatives of the health initiative have been meeting with city and school officials to promote the program, and the May 4 meeting-which will be crucial to the launch of the effort. They will also speak at the April 29 Perham Area Rotary meeting.

"The May 4 meeting is a kickoff to the physical activity initiative that the City of Perham and the Parks and Recreation Department have been making with the SHIP project," said Ron Anderson, who serves a volunteer Community Leadership Team member for SHIP. Anderson goes on to say, "We are excited to see how increasing opportunities for biking, and walking and access to com-munity recreation facilities will benefit the residents of Otter Tail County."

Perham is one of four communities that are serving as regional pilot projects for the health initiative. These include Dilworth, Breckenridge and Detroit Lakes.

For more information on the event call Chuck Johnson 218-346-9798.

For more information on SHIP, visit