The Vinton County Health Department (VCHD) has received a Creating Healthy Community Grant allowing it to form a community coalition to promote healthy lifestyles, nutritional options as well as park expansion and repair projects.

VCHD Deputy Administrator Janelle McManis notes the grant has been around for a while, but it is new to Vinton County. McManis further noted Jeri Ann Bentley has been hired as the Healthy Community Coordinator and is working on several key projects. 

 Bentley told The Telegram that a virtual meeting was conducted Monday, July 20, to discuss ideas for the new community coalition. The coalition members include: McArthur Mayor Steve Hammond, Vinton Industries Representative Troy Thacker and Ohio State University Extension representatives Kate Homonai and Travis West. Bentley explained she used the meeting to introduce herself to the group and discuss ideas. Initial work has already begun pursuing a couple of those ideas.

One of those projects being developed with Vinton Industries is to place vending machines with a healthy option at local businesses. Superior Hardwoods is partnering with this project. The developmentally disabled clients will be stocking the machines. The machines will be checked more often because they have more perishable items than the usual vending machine items such as chips, crackers and candy. 

Another goal the coalition is working toward is promoting farmers' markets in the county. Bentley noted these markets are a source of fresh produce and locally grown products. She reported there may be a new one started in Hamden and also one in Wilkesville at the park.

Bentley also noted she supports a plan the McArthur Village Council has to expand Wyman Park. If the village can buy the land, she will bring it to the committee to see if it may be possible to partner with the village or participate in some way. Bentley is excited to get the program going and foresees many positive results coming from it.