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Coalition sets 2005 agenda

By Staff
The Coalition for A Healthier Escambia County held the first meeting of 2005 on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2005,at the D.W. McMillan Hospital. There were 14 members in attendance. The Coalition is comprised of a group of concerned citizens from throughout the county who want to see a healthier and safer county for the residents. The Coalition was formed in 1995 by the hospital board in order to evaluate health care services and needs. In the last nine years, the Coalition has met monthly and has addressed many areas of need in the county.
At this first meeting for the new year, Coalition members expressed real concern about some major needs in the county which have a daily impact of the health and safety of county residents.
The Coalition members voted unanimously to focus attention for the next few months on three issues that need to be addressed . These three issues are :
Need for Smoke Free Buildings Throughout the County
To work with the Tobacco Prevention Program in raising the level of awareness of the potential harm that is done to the population by inhaling second hand smoke. The Coalition will be petitioning county and municipal leaders in the next few weeks to pass ordinances making all public buildings in the county " SMOKE FREE".
Need for All Water Systems to be Fluoridated
To work with the remaining three water systems in the county to provide fluoridated water for the people on the systems. Research has shown for years that fluoride, appropriately added to water supplies, is beneficial to everyone who drinks it. In fact, in 1999 the Centers for Disease Control proclaimed community water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public achievements of the 20th Century.
Need for Completion of Hiway 31 Four-Lane Project
To work with county/state officials and citizens in establishing dialogue that will hopefully result in the completion of the Hiway 31 four lane project. One has only to drive those few miles to realize the safety hazards present by the continued appearance of construction on that stretch of road. There are numerous crosses that can be visualized indicating the loss of lives of valuable loved ones. There is the fear that we can only expect more lives to be lost until the road is completed.
Members of the Coalition feel that much has been accomplished by their efforts over the past nine years and that it is now time to re-visit the original Mission . This will be done through an extended meeting to be held in March to which all former members of the Coalition, members of county and local governing bodies, business leaders, members of the media, faith based organizations, education leaders, community volunteers and all residents of the county will be invited. It is the purpose of this meeting to explore ways in which the Coalition can be helpful to the community as well as ways to involve more of the community in the activites of the Coalition. The next Coalition meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 17th at 7:00 am at Atmore Community Hospital. Membership is free and is open to everyone so please make plans to attend.