I'm feeling blue ... and that's a good thing.
Efforts are underway in earnest to make Spencer a "Blue Zone" location - one of the designated Iowa focus cities - all part of Gov. Terry Branstad's master plan to make the Hawkeye state the healthiest state in the country.
After Iowa was listed the 16th healthiest state in the U.S. earlier this year, Branstad's administration decided to make it a priority to get Iowans living healthier lives with a long term goal of moving from 16 to No. 1 in five years. A lofty goal indeed.
The Start Somewhere Walk, which occurred Oct. 7, was the starting point, designed to get Iowans mobile, the statewide effort set a record, topping Canada for the most persons walking at a preset time.
The next effort is the Blue Zone communities. Citizens are asked to vote and show support for their community.
According to Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner during a Des Moines press conference in mid-September, ten communities demonstrating the greatest passion, interest and ability to bring their community together to receive assistance from experts to develop and implement a blueprint for making permanent environment, policy and social network changes that transition people into healthier behaviors.
The selected Iowa communities will become demonstration sites and share their learnings with other communities in Iowa that adopt Blue Zones principles. Businesses will be involved by transforming their work-sites, followed by government, schools and non-profit organizations.
Supporters in Spencer have been busy promoting the effort. Initially the "Blue Crew" encouraged voters to go online to www.bluezonesproject.com/citizens/signup or to text "BZP" to 772937. While that remains a viable option for those comfortable with social media and the Internet, members of the Blue Crew in Spencer are offering a more personal touch. Friday morning, they were signing people up at Hy-Vee, and last night, they offered the opportunity to register support at the varsity football game. They plan to be back at Hy-Vee this morning until noon if you're out and about.
I credit these local volunteers with taking an aggressive approach to Spencer's well-being. Please take some time to register your support whether online, by text or by public petition.
This community is already known for the Clay County Fair, Dewey the Cat, it's artistic and historic districts, why not its fitness. We have beautiful walking and biking trails, excellent fitness centers and wide open parks - why not showcase those as a Blue Zone city in Iowa's efforts to pump up the health.
Go online to www.bluezonesproject.com/citizens/signup or to text "BZP" to 772937, to vote for Spencer. Anyone over the age of 13 can vote.