This is a guest post by Rick Miller, founder and Director of the Central Minnesota Sustainability Project. The project’s mission is to teach the community the value of the environment and economic stability; connecting people with land and providing the supplies and knowledge needed to grow healthful, chemical-free foods.
The dream of a community garden to honor the late Dr. Jim Kelly, an avid gardener and a central figure in the development of CentraCare, is coming into full bloom and will be showcased on Saturday, August 11, between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon. Kelly Garden, which is located on the south end of the CentraCare Health Plaza campus, will be part of a state wide “Gardening Matters” network of garden tours on that day.
The forty-six plot community garden was the dream of Dr. Tom Leither who was mentored by Dr. Kelly. With the support of the CentraCare Health Foundation, which provided construction and development funding, Dr. Angie Ausban and Dr. Kevin Smith who have provided immeasurable support in numerous ways, and in collaboration with the Central Minnesota Sustainability Project which landscapes and manages the garden, Kelly Garden was constructed in 2010. Despite some water retention problems in the early going, supporters have persevered and the garden today is alive with the pulse of natural and human diversity.
Community Gardens are growing in popularity across the Nation. They provide an opportunity for people to connect with their roots in nature and in the human community. They also provide an opportunity for people to become aware of how healthy food and healthy lifestyles affect human health. Dr. David Kroska has become an ardent supporter of Kelly Garden which fits “hand in glove” with his mission at the CentraCare Clinics “L.I.F.E.” Program. Dr. Kroska, recipient of the 2012 Sustainability Award given annually by the Joint Planning District Sustainability Committee, has long been committed to exposing the link between human health and healthy food and lifestyles.
Best of all, Dr. Jim Kelly’s family has embraced and become strong supporters of Kelly Garden. Dr. Kelly’s widow, June Kelly, will be on site at 10:00 AM August 11, for the dedication of Dr. Jim Kelly Garden. June Kelly, well known in St. Cloud for her many years of community activism, exemplifies the spirit of Dr. Jim Kelly Garden through her lifelong support for good in our community.
You are invited to honor Dr. Jim and June Kelly at 10:00 AM on August 11 at Dr. Jim Kelly Garden at CentraCare Health Plaza.
By: Rick Miller, Co-Founder
Central Minnesota Sustainability Project
Summers in Minnesota come and go too fast, right? This summer is no exception…my goodness, it’s mid July already. Soon kids will be wrapping up their summer programming and getting ready for school. Don’t panic - if you haven’t done what you’ve wanted to do or planned something for this summer…there’s still time.
Finding something to do can be a daunting task. Again, don’t fret….in just a few minutes you can find lots of great ways to enjoy the rest of your summer in the Greater St. Cloud area. You can go online, listen to the radio, or read local newspapers and bulletins to find local happenings. No doubt you’ll find promotions for events, local town days and church festivals…and, let’s not forget about our fabulous MN resources which provide plenty of opportunities for fun in the sun.
Here’s are some local, healthy happening for you to consider…
- Spend a Wednesday night with your family, friends and neighbors at Lake George! The St. Cloud Rotary’s Summertime by George is a free concert and festival every Wednesday through August 29th.
- Challenge yourself and your family to a 5K race event. The Red River Run is part of the BLEND Fit Kids Club Series and a great race event (7/28/12),
- Get a taste for competition “Olympic-style” at the Anderson Trucking Family Field Days (8/11/12),
- Tour some of MN’s Community Gardens! August 11th is MN Community Garden Day 2012,
- Enjoy the outdoors with your family at the Take the Day OFF (Outdoor Family Fun) on the Mississippi event (8/11/12),
Places to Go:
- Explore the Quarry Park and Nature Preserve, or visit one of MN’s Natural Parks and Trails.
- Take a bike ride or stroll on the Lake Wobegon Trail,
- Stroll through beautiful Munsinger and Clemens Gardens,
- Waste a couple of hours at SummerLand Fun Park,
- Cool off at one of the areas wading pools and splash pads,
- Relax on one of MN beaches! Visit County websites for locations!
- Spend the day at the St. Cloud Skate Plaza,
- Attend a County Fair! Click here for fair dates and locations,
- Play some Disc Golf!
A great website to visit is Explore MN - look for “Things To Do” and “Where To Go” in Central MN and throughout the state. Also, contact local Community Service Organizations and see what events they have planned. And, go to the BLEND Calendar of Events for more race events!
Check out this video from the Stearns County, MN website! Who knew you could do all this at the Quarry Park and Nature Preserve? You can enjoy most of the fun during their upcoming event – Quarry Park and Nature Preserve Free Day on July 21, 2012!
Most of the suggestions listed above are affordable - they are either free or at low cost. Pack a picnic basket full of snacks and beverages — you’re sure to save some money and eat healthier. Don’t forget to involve your kids in the planning, too. (unless it’s a surprise, of course)!
Don’t let summer slip away without getting out and enjoying what MN has to offer. Step out of the box, break your routine, surprise your family and try something new. You won’t regret the fun you had, the memories you made, or the stories your kids can share at school!
Tell us what you like to do in MN?
Angie Stenson is the Senior Transportation Planner at the St. Cloud Area Planning Organization (APO). The APO is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the St. Cloud area and conducts transportation planning activities for all modes including transit, bicycle, and pedestrian. Ms. Stenson graduated from the University of Illinois with a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning and is an alumna of North Dakota State University. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).
On May 9, 2012 MnDOT announced Safe Routes to School (SRTS) grant recipients of federal funds totaling $768,000. The program will support 92 Minnesota schools, funding non-infrastructure and planning activities. Oak Hill Community School in St. Cloud is among the awardees. Oak Hill is one of 70 schools in 35 communities statewide to receive support for completion of a SRTS plan. The planning assistance grant will help the school gather information on existing conditions, gather public input, and identify potential infrastructure and non-infrastructure solutions to promote bicycling and walking to school.
Safe Routes to School is a program created through federal legislation in the 2005 federal transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU). The main purpose of the program is to increase opportunities for children to safely walk and bicycle to school. It also seeks to address the current social issue of childhood obesity and inactivity. In addition, SRTS can lead to community benefits such as decreases in traffic congestion issues and motor vehicle emissions.
At the core of SRTS are the 5 E’s: Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation. This promotes a balanced approach to the implementation of the program. This funding cycle included solicitation for non-infrastructure and planning funds only, meaning no infrastructure projects were awarded. Since 2005, however, the majority of funding, $9.9 million, has been awarded for infrastructure projects.
Non-infrastructure and planning activities are a vital part of the SRTS program as a whole. The importance of the new, concrete sidewalk or the smooth, asphalt multi-use path installation is visibly understood by most, but the underlying factors of education, encouragement, enforcement, and evaluation can be more difficult to validate. This funding cycle MnDOT allocated funding for planning assistance as well as non-infrastructure projects including walking and bicycling maps, support for crossing guard programs, bicycle safety programs (during and after school), and various encouragement activities such as a “Walking School Bus”. These programs are activity based and go hand-in-hand with the development of new infrastructure.
In the case of Oak Hill, the planning process is valuable because no clear, common-sense solution directly addresses the primary goal of increasing opportunities for children to safely walk and bicycle to the school. Existing conditions, opportunities, and scenarios will be explored through the combination of community input and technical expertise (SRTS grant). The objective of the process will be to provide a plan for pedestrian infrastructure improvements in and around the school, and it will stress ways to bolster bicycle and pedestrian safety education as well as encouragement programs. If you are a parent or staff member at Oak Hill, look for opportunities to get involved in the SRTS planning beginning this fall.
Do you have an interest in bicycle and pedestrian issues beyond the SRTS program? The St. Cloud Area Planning Organization (APO) has a venue for you to share your ideas or concerns. The APO Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee consists of community members and officials who meet to discuss relevant and ongoing bicycle and pedestrian topics in the metropolitan area. Please contact me if you would like more information.
What is the Walk About?
It is an Open Streets event where selected streets will be closed to motor vehicle traffic, making the streets available to all non-motorized transportation and people of all abilities. Open Streets or “ciclovias” events are exploding in popularity across the country!
The St. Cloud Downtown Alliance Foundation is hosting the Downtown Walk About, An Open Streets Festival on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, 6-9pm. The closed streets will be transformed into “urban playgrounds” for people of all ages, with music, bicycling, rollerblading, walking, Zumba, and other activities in the heart of our region.
What’s the difference, you might ask, between an event like this and any old 5K race?
Typically we see streets close so the super fit can race through them; everyone else cheers from the sidelines. These events require no registration. The entry point for those attending is easy — you can start, stop and change direction at any time along the route, as long as you’re moving on your own power. It’s about inviting folks who are not regularly active to experience their community in a new and refreshing way … on their feet and in the street.
Hello again loyal BLEND followers!
It’s Chad Johnson from the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA, and I hope you are enjoying this unique “winter” weather! I know all of you winter sports gurus are a little down this winter, but instead let’s enjoy the fact that we can spend more quality family time outside without having to put extra layers on.
I mean its February in Minnesota, and how often can you say “I just played disc golf and cross country skied in the same day?” Well if you come to the Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games on February 11th, this can become a reality! This event will be centered on Cross Country Skiing and Frisbees!
The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games will take place on Saturday, February 11th, from 9:00am-1:00pm at Riverside Park in St Cloud, MN. We will have equipment for cross country skiing, disc golfing and other fun games and activities! Don’t worry about getting too cold because we will have warm beverages and oatmeal in the warming shelter. We will also be giving away awesome prizes including snow tubing passes to Powder Ridge, snow tubes, Skatin Place party passes, and much more! Register today, because the first 300 will receive a FREE LONG SLEEVE SHIRT!
The Plaza Park Bank Family Snow Games is a part of the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series which is sponsored by Bernick’s in conjunction with the St. Cloud Times and 104.7 KCLD. If you are unaware of the series, the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series goal is to continue improving the health and wellness of our community through a series of fun, educational and activity based seasonal family friendly events.
My goal for this whole series is to have fun activities that all ages and skill levels can enjoy! It is so important for our community to get out and be active all year long, and this series will hopefully assist. Keep an eye out for the other events of the series. The more events you participate in, the greater your chances are to win one of the GRAND prizes at the conclusion of the Health Partners Wishbone Walk/Run in 2012! Visit the YMCA website to see all prizes, to register and read more about the Bernick’s Family Fitness Series!
2012 Bernick’s Family Fitness Series:
River Ride Bike Event, May 19th 2012
Family Field Day, August 11th, 2012
Health Partners Wishbone Walk/Run, Thanksgiving Day, 2012
So if you have nothing going on February 11th, bring the whole family out to Riverside Park and have a little fun while it is still nice outside! Hope to see all of you out there supporting our community’s health!
Thank you and good luck!
Health and Wellness Director
St. Cloud Area Family YMCA