A decade of Village Fairs equals healthier/safer community

Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2005


  Visitors were able to see the schematics for phase II of the CPGH addition schedule for this summer.

Visitors were able to see the schematics for phase II of the CPGH addition schedule for this summer.

Ten years ago a group of individuals interested in building a healthier community decided to organize a fair that would feature all the health care opportunities available to local residents here on the Peninsula. "It became evident to us that there was a lot more available in our local area than people were aware of, so awareness became our original goal and of course now it's the Village Fair, Safe Kids Fair, and Health Fair all in one. It's marvelous to get together and check out what's happening within our lives and what's available in our local community to make our lives better," said Jane Stein, one of the original organizers.

According to Stein the largest growth at the fair has been in the health support groups that include organizations such as the Kenai Water Shed Forum, The Blood Bank of the Kenai Peninsula, City of Soldotna, Denina Clinic, and Safe Kids, just to mention a few of the some 100 groups represented at this year's Village Fair. DNA testing was even available along with a myriad of other tests at reduced rates without a physician's order being required. Bonnie Nichols was also one of the original organizers of the Village Fair and says that the highlight for her are the special events that happen in conjunction with event. "This year it was our own library in Kenai that participated with workshops that introduced people to information about consumer health available on the internet through the national library of medicines. It was very popular and is another way of helping people become healthier," said Nichols.

Safety is always a key element in a healthy community and Central Emergency Services was at the Fair to answer questions about home fire prevention. "We work very hard at education and prevention. There have been a lot of folks come by interested in fire extinguisher use in the home and proper placement of smoke and CO detectors," said Lt. Mike Simpson. Safe Kids offered bicycle helmets for $5.00, which is less than the wholesale price of the helmet in Seattle. "The helmets are brought up at no charge through the Fred Meyer freight system, so at $5.00 we are almost giving the helmets away and can be sure that the kids have a properly fitting helmet. We also have the adult size helmets, because the kids aren't going to wear a helmet if they don't see adults wearing them also," said Dr. Byron McCord, a Safe Kids volunteer the Fair. McCord estimates that thousands of helmets have been sold over the last few years which have significantly reduced injury in our community. As a public service McCord offers the $5.00 helmets year round at his office in Soldotna where his staff is trained to properly fit the helmet to the child's head.

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