Journal Express, Knoxville, IA


October 19, 2012

Oskaloosa prepares for Blue Zones visit

OSKALOOSA — It’s a unique opportunity for the community.

On Oct. 30, members of the Blue Zones Team will visit Oskaloosa for a site visit at the Musco Technology Center from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Dawn Collins, executive director of the Mahaska County YMCA and member of the Mahaska Wellness Coalition, said a big part of the site visit will be demonstrating why Oskaloosa should be a Blue Zones Project demonstration site.

“We need to show that our stake holders and our community leaders are committed and that we want to improve community health using the Blue Zones principles,” said Collins, adding that its also important to show that it is possible to create sustainable environmental change in the area.

Collins said the Mahaska Wellness Coalition is helping organize community leaders to make a presentation to the Blue Zones Project Team on the area’s readiness to be a Blue Zones Project Demonstration site. School, business and city policy leaders are being looked at for this effort.

“Those are the three biggest areas wherein we will create environmental change and we need their support for this project so it’s critical that we show their support,” explained Collins.

Collins said demonstration sites are being selected  throughout Iowa. Resources and experts will be a part of these demonstration sites as a way to create change, said Collins.

Should Oskaloosa become a demonstration site, there would then be a several month long period after which Oskaloosa could become a certified Blue Zone, said Collins. She said during this demonstration period specific goals would have to be met by major employers, grocery stores, restaurants, schools and within city policy. Some of these things have already been started, added Collins.

The Blue Zones Project carries with it principles to help people not only improve their health, but improve social and spiritual aspects of their lives, Collins said. She noted that events like Friday After Five, Art on the Square and Sweet Corn Serenade point to Oskaloosa’s focus on having a sense of community.

“Oskaloosa already recognizes that the sense of community and belonging is critical,” Collins said.

Collins said there is a need for health improvements in Oskaloosa and Mahaska County and said that is why the area needs the Blue Zones Project here. She cited statistics from County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, which notes that 11 percent of Mahaska County is in “poor or fair health.”

Gov. Terry Branstad started the Healthiest State initiative last year, said Collins. The Blue Zones Project was introduced with this initiative. The Mahaska Wellness Coalition was created at this time, added Collins.

Mahaska Wellness Coalition would go on to organize the 100 Day Wellness Challenge through Live Healthy Iowa, said Collins. Approximately 11 percent of the community participated in this effort.

Those interested in attending the Blue Zones Project site visit can RSVP with Diane Burns at by Oct. 25.

To learn more about the Blue Zones Project, visit or contact Collins at 673-8411.

Text Only
  • American sunscreens need an upgrade

    The last time a new sunscreen ingredient came on the U.S. market, the Y2K bug was threatening to destroy our way of life. Intel had just introduced the Pentium III processor, featuring an amazing 500 MHz of computing power.

    April 24, 2014

  • 20140424-AMX-COFFEE24.jpg Coffee growers' prayers for rain met with threat of deluge

    Brazil's drought made arabica coffee this year's best-performing commodity. Now, farmers are facing a downpour that is once more threatening crops.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Celebrity quack moms are a terrible influence on everyday parents

    On April 15, the actress Alicia Silverstone released a book called "The Kind Mama: A Simple Guide to Supercharged Fertility, a Radiant Pregnancy, a Sweeter Birth, and a Healthier, More Beautiful Beginning." It's chock-full of attachment parenting lessons and dangerous misinformation.

    April 24, 2014

  • 0425 OTT eagle stock photo Mahaska Co. man accused of killing bald eagle NEW SHARON — A Mahaska County man faces federal charges after allegedly beating a bald eagle to death and decapitating it. Jason John Thomas was arrested in New Sharon after being indicted by a federal grand jury. He is accused of killing the eagle i

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014