live-well-1FLORENCE – Nancy Costello and Lea Beck are trying to raise an army in Northern Kentucky to combat a tenacious public enemy.

The enemy? Poor health habits.

Kentucky stands No. 47 of 50 states in overall health, according to their recruiting literature for LiveWell NKY. And, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks the Commonwealth No. 1 in the nation in percentage of adult smokers (25.9 percent).

The heavy artillery for this LiveWell army? Healthy eating, physical activities and tobacco-free environments.

“We’re trying to reach people where they live, work and play,” said Costello, director of Health Initiatives for Skyward, the organization managing the Northern Kentucky strategic plan. “The main factors in overall health are behavior and environment.”

Costello and Beck, health educator with the Northern Kentucky Health Department, took their recruitment campaign to the Florence Rotary Club on Monday, January 9. They outlined the LiveWell NKY initiative in Skyward’s strategic plan for building more vibrant communities over the next five years in the nine northernmost counties in Kentucky.

Their goal is to improve the health of 20,000 adults by 2020. “We all know what we need to do” to accomplish it, Costello said. The challenge is to get people to do it.

Their strategy is what Beck calls “coalition work” – mobilizing businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations, cities, schools and individuals to enlist in long-term health improvement activities. More than a dozen partners already have signed up, including five cities which received shares of a $100,000 grant from St. Elizabeth Healthcare to launch projects.

Costello said some groups already are on the offensive:

– The Center for Greater Neighborhoods, the Northern Kentucky Incubator Kitchen, Coving10 and LiveWell NKY staged a Community ReSoup dinner for 600 people to gather citizen views on the kinds of foods people would prefer.

– Ft. Mitchell adopted a smoke-free parks resolution and put up signs that say, “Young Lungs at Play.”

Katrina Svach, wellness director at the R.C. Durr YMCA in Burlington, took the battle to the Florence Rotarians. She urged them to develop individual goals for work/life balance. For example, she said, members might set aside a specific time three days a week for activities with their families.

“What makes a difference in the long run is not a one-time activity,” Beck said.

What makes a difference is a sustained march by a coalition of help-minded cities and health-minded citizens.


Living With Polio

December 10, 2016

FLORENCE – Rotary International’s three-decade battle to eradicate polio worldwide means more to Barry Kienzle than to most others. Kienzle, the chief financial officer for Paul Hemmer Companies, contracted the crippling disease a month before his second birthday. After six surgeries stretched over 15 years, he enjoyed a pretty normal life for half a century, […]

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Bray Brings Animal Shelter Awareness to Rotarians

November 7, 2016

FLORENCE – Hedgehogs can be a problem. They are a bit prickly to handle. Cats can be a problem, too. They tend to proliferate. That’s the assessment of Colleen Bray, field sergeant for the Boone County Animal Shelter in Burlington. “Cats are our biggest challenge, especially in the spring and summer,” Bray said. “We get […]

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The Ghosts of Boone County

October 31, 2016

Bridget Striker, Local History Coordinator Boone County Public Library, spoke about ghosts in Boone County. The Local History Department does a lot of genealogy research, including house and property genealogy.   They receive a lot of questions about “who died in my house or on my property.”  From these questions an idea was born—Ghost Walks of […]

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U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie Visits Florence Rotary

October 25, 2016

FLORENCE – U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky) believes elimination of omnibus funding bills would help break the frequent budget gridlocks in Congress. To meet the September 30 deadline for funding the government, lawmakers in recent years have lumped proposed appropriations from 12 subcommittees into a single bill. Congress also has passed continuing resolutions that keep […]

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Everything But The House Visits Florence Rotary

October 17, 2016

FLORENCE – How can you attract half a million potential buyers to your estate auction? Move it online … everything except the house, that is. That’s the premise behind a Cincinnati-based business named (you guessed it!) Everything But The House (EBTH) that has turned traditional estate sales into a virtual auction with the reach and […]

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Mayor Whalen Updates Rotarians

October 3, 2016

FLORENCE – The city of Florence continues to see small and large investments in commercial and residential development, according to Mayor Diane Whalen. Florence has grown into the eighth largest city in Kentucky in recent years with a current population of 32,000 residents. More than 100,000 people a day come to the city to work, […]

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Judge Moore Updates Rotarians

September 27, 2016

FLORENCE – Corporate growth isn’t the most important indicator of the health of Boone County to Judge-Executive Gary Moore. It’s the quality of the growth that matters to him. “We want to ensure the growth is adding to the quality of life in the community, not just putting more pressure on roads and infrastructure,” he said. […]

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Dinsmore History Visits Rotarians

September 7, 2016

FLORENCE – When people ask Barbara Bardes what period of history the Dinsmore Homestead in Burlington depicts, she says “150 years.” Visitors to the home, built in 1842, will find an accumulation of personal possessions, household goods and letters accumulated by the Dinsmore family over the century and a half the single family owned the […]

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NKU Coach Whitaker Charts Course for Women’s Division I Tournament

August 30, 2016

FLORENCE – Northern Kentucky University women’s basketball coach Camryn Whitaker believes a berth in the NCAA Division I postseason tournament is within reach in the Norse’s first year of eligibility. “We’ve set our goals high, and I have high expectations,” Whitaker said. “They’re not unrealistic goals. We’re not rebuilding. We have what it takes to […]

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