Tuesday, July 1


Healthy Communities Partnership: striving to maintain or improve quality of life

Healthy Communities picture page

[JULY 1, 2003]  The Healthy Communities Partnership invited community leaders to a luncheon meeting on Thursday, June 26. Who is HCP? The partnership consists of various task forces working together to fulfill the mission statement of the organization, which says that HCP exists "to protect, maintain and improve the health and quality of life of all residents of Lincoln and Logan County." The report to the community shares goals, progress and needs. Kevin Riggins also shared an update on the progress of the Sean Riggins Foundation. Approximately 50 people were in attendance as the program started.

The keynote speaker for the gathering was Kevin Riggins, who gave an update on progress in banning ephedra. He detailed the work done that culminated in a state law signed by Gov. Blagojevich on May 28 banning the sale of ephedra products in Illinois.


Kevin Riggins, keynote speaker
[Click on image for bigger picture]

Riggins said that he has been encouraged by the amazing support he has received in his efforts, especially from state Sen. Bomke. He cited this support for Illinois becoming the first state to ban such sales. He had just returned from California, where he was helping to provide information in efforts to pass a similar law there. He also praised U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin for his efforts in working on a federal law regulating dietary supplements that would require proof of an item being safe and effective before being released on the market. The Commerce Commission in Washington, D.C., is planning hearings on this issue. Riggins received a standing ovation at the conclusion of his presentation.


Sharon Awe served as master of ceremonies for the event, as neither Lincoln Mayor Beth Davis nor Dale Voyles, chairman of the Logan County Board, could attend. On their behalf Melanie Riggs and Dick Logan offered thanks to the Healthy Communities Partnership for the work the group has done for the community.

Bobbi Abbott spoke for the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber of Commerce on the need to find a part-time volunteer coordinator for the Healthy Communities Partnership and asked that any suggestions on filling the position be given to Jenni Humphries at Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital (732-2161, Ext. 427; humphries.jennifer@mhsil.com). The coordinator has a two-year term and should expect to work between 10 and 24 hours a month, depending on the time of year.

Abbott also thanked the Illinois Department of Public Health and the SIU School of Medicine for their financial support of the partnership's efforts.


Police Chief Rich Montcalm detailed the efforts by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Task Force to enforce prohibitions on sales by businesses to underage youth. The tougher battle, according to him, involves the adults who buy these items legally and then pass them on to those who are underage, as these actions are harder to monitor. The ATOD Task Force is planning to have a billboard placed in the community to increase awareness of the issues involved.

Dick and Marsha Logan announced the presentation of the Daniel Logan Memorial Scholarship of $500 to Marcy Wilham of Chestnut, who plans to attend Western Illinois University and major in law enforcement and justice administration. A thank-you letter from her was read.


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The director of the Domestic Violence Task Force, Kelli Knoblau, announced events planned for October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. She plans a candlelight vigil on Oct. 7 to increase awareness of the problem. Last year 194 victims of abuse were aided in Logan County.

Kathy Huerd, who coordinates the Lincoln Parents Center, said the goals for the Healthy Families Task Force were met this past year, and the group plans to enhance their programs this year. These programs include providing support and monthly personal visits to teen parents, the "Baby Think It Over" program for area schools, and the REACH program to help adults to be better mentors in their children's education. The group has also provided "New Parent Bags" for the OB ward at ALMH.


Linda Marini spoke of efforts by the Senior Issues Task Force to provide packaged meals for shut-in seniors over the weekends. CIEDC provides such meals Mondays-Fridays, but the task force is looking for sponsorship by businesses and individuals to cover the weekends also.

The Parish Nurse Task Force is working through local congregations to provide needed health services. Seven nurses have completed the parish nurses curriculum, and other nurses are helping in the program. It was emphasized that all of those doing this are volunteers. The task force is working to establish a Vial for Life program. In this program, vials containing health information on occupants in a home are stored in a prearranged place where the information can be accessed in an emergency by those providing treatment. Judy Horn, who heads the task force, states they are looking for more nurse volunteers from congregations for this important work.


The Rural Health Partnership mobile unit has been working to provide free blood sugar screenings and other services throughout the county. This year's grant funds have run out, so these free services have stopped for now, except in Etna Township where the township provided funds for services there. Carrie Harris, health educator from the Logan County Health Department, said educational programs have been provided by the partnership in seven local schools. Seventh-grade programs on peer resistance and eighth-grade programs on drug awareness have been given.

[Keith C. Wilkerson]


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