Click here for a pdf copy of the Winter 2015 CONNECTION Newsletter

Healthy City Fall River Update 
December 22, 2014

Click here to see the 2014-2019 Action Plan

Click here for the new video, "Fed Up on the South Coast"

 
The third AHA! Fall River featured over 50 events at multiple venues in downtown Fall River on a cold but comfortable December 18, 2014 evening. The events are designed to help foster an invigorated arts and culture scene in the City. "It's great for economic development; it's great for arts and culture; it's a family-friendly event," stated Dave Dennis, who, along with his wife, Sandy Dennis, and Donna Winn, organized the event. AHA! Fall River was formed in June 2013 in collaboration with the New Bedford AHA! and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. AHA! stands for arts, history and architecture. The organization held its first event on June 21, 2013 and has held several events since then in an attempt to mirror the AHA! events in New Bedford. The purpose of the organization is to develop collaborative relationships in order to expand and sustain arts and cultural programming in the two cities. Click here for a seven-minute  of the event and here for more photos and text
Community leaders, law enforcement officials and staff Children's Advocacy Center (CAC) of Bristol County gathered at 58 Arch Street in the City's South End for a holiday party on December 18, 2014. The event provided a chance to thank all of the many volunteers who provide much of the staffing for the facility where teams of professionals come together to investigate allegations of abuse and assist families in the healing process there after. Forensic interviews, health services and resources assistance are ways in which the CAC establishes connections with families to assist them in their time of need. The center benefits from information provided by many partner and affiliated agencies in the field of child welfare. This information assists in the evaluation of community needs which can help with the development of programs aimed at aiding child victims of abuse. The CAC is also committed to the ongoing education and development of prevention programs in Bristol County. Click here for a 90-second video and here for more photo.
Acadia Healthcare and Southcoast Health held a topping-off ceremony on December 18, 2014 to mark the completion of the steel framing for the new $30 million behavioral health hospital on Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth, MA. "Today marks a major milestone on the path...toward attaining the vital resources for an inpatient behavioral health addiction services facility," stated Southcoast Health CEO and President Keith Hovan. Mr. Hovan went on to introduce Acadia CEO for the new facility, Dr. William Parsons, and then Southcoast Health's Behavioral Health Medical Director Dr. Douglas Munsey, New Bedford Inter-Church Council Executive Minister Rev. David Lima, U.S. Congressman William Keating, and State Representative Patricia Haddad. Expected to open in the fall of 2015, the 77,000 square foot facility will house five 20-bed units devoted to geriatric, adult and adolescent psychiatry as well as substance abuse. Click here for a 32-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.

The mission of the Substance Abuse Task force is to collaborate with the Greater Fall River community to eliminate the abuse of substances through education, awareness, and prevention. Its vision is to create a healthy and drug-free Greater Fall River community. Its goals are to: 1) Assess the prevalence and conditions of substance abuse, 2) Increase education on all forms of substance abuse and its risks and consequences, 3) Raise awareness on substance abuse prevention and treatment services, and 4) Increase access to treatment options The Task Force includes work on underage drinking prevention, prescription drug abuse prevention, youth violence prevention, and overdose prevention. There are seven specific 5-Year Goals for the group between 2014 and 2019. Anyone with an interest is also welcome to attend the monthly meetings, usually held on the third Wednesday of the month. Click here for more photos and text.

 
Members of the Greater Fall River Coalition for Health and Well Being, an ad hoc group of Partners for a Healthier Community formed in response to the challenges posed by homeless families living in local motels, held a meeting in the HealthFirst Community Room on December 17, 2014. Coalition Chair and Executive Director of United Neighbors of Fall River Wendy Garf-Lipp welcomed the group and led a discussion about recent efforts to provide assistance to the homeless families living in Somerset and Swansea motels. She detailed recent efforts to provide holiday meals, healthy cooking classes, van and bus transportation, recreation for children, health screening with UMass School of Nursing, and donations of clothing and toiletries. The group works continuously to provide resources and assistance for families, and future donations are welcomed from any source as long as they are coordinated through the coalition. Anyone with an interest is also welcome to attend the monthly meetings, usually held on the third Wednesday of the month. Click here for more photos and text describing the Coalition.
YMCA Southcoast  CEO Gary Schuyler, Vice-President of Operations Nancy Bonell and Fall River facility Executive Director Frank Duffy welcomed dozens of supporters, planners, financial supporters and staff to a grand opening of the newly-completed Wellness Center and After-School Enrichment Center at their Main Street headquarters on December 10, 2014. BayCoast Bank CEO and President Nicholas Christ, Bristol County Savings Bank CEO and President Patrick Murray, Southcoast Health COO Renee Clark and Saint Anne's Hospital Vice-President of Finance Michael Bushell offered their congratulations and remarks at the noon-time ribbon-cutting ceremony in the new Southcoast Health Group Exercise studio on the third-floor. "We worked hard to ensure that this landmark building will be around for generations to come and will continue to be an important part of this community for many, many years," stated Schuyler. Click here for a 32-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text..
The first Fall River Open Table Tennis Tournament was played at the new Smash Table Tennis Club on Weaver Street in Fall River over the weekend of December 13th and 14th, 2014. Co-owners Osvaldo Gold and Anestis Taskos were on hand to officiate the USA Table Tennis (USATT) accredited event that was sponsored by the Fall River Herald News. There were twelve events organized according to players' rating and those who were not rated but still wished to play, including six beginner and intermediate events, an unrated and junior event, and over 50 event, and advanced event and an open category. The USATT is the Table Tennis division of the US Olympic Committee. The Club was created to provide a venue for table tennis and ping pong enthusiasts to practice and enjoy their sport. The 4,500 square foot facility houses eight Joola tables, a semi-private room with a table and robot for specialized training, a pro-shop, and a snack bar and lounge.. Click here for a  video of the event and here for more photos and text.
The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program promotes healthy alternatives for children and parents in their travel to and from school and educates students, parents and community members on the value of walking and bicycling. Because of Fall River's involvement with the program, the City was awarded a one-million dollar infrastructure grant to improve walkability around the Viveiros Elementary School in the City's South End. "Our goal is to use this grant to improve approximately one million dollars in infrastructure improvements that will help now to improve sidewalks, improve traffic lighting, improve signage, to make our ramps more handicap accessible, also markings on roadways," stated Mayor William Flanagan. Usually grants are given in amounts up to $500,000. "When we just recently heard that Fall River was going to be getting a million dollars, we were doubly pleased," said Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia PicardClick here to see a 21-minute video and here for more photos..
Sophomore students at B.M.C. Durfee High School and seventh graders from all four middle schools participated in the fourth annual Career Day on December 11, 2014 in the school gymnasium. Students interviewed professionals that they had pre-selected for five minutes each before getting signed-off. Three hours in the morning for the Sophomores and two hours after lunch for the middle school students provided students with a highly interactive opportunity to talk to more than dozens of adults in a variety of professions. Students were challenged to speak to at least fifteen of them during each 50-minute period to learn about various careers and the requirements for entering that field. Tina Shorette of the Career Center's Youth Connection helped to put the annual event together with Guidance Director Kim Napolitano. Students who completed all fifteen interviews were eligible to participate in a drawing for prizes. Click here for a five minute video of the even and here for more photos and text.
The30th Annual Holiday Children's Parade stepped off from Kennedy Park shortly after 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 6th following the traditional Jingle Run up South Main Street to Government Center. The parade was led by a giant inflatable birthday cake maneuvered by volunteers from Fitness Fusion. One hundred forty groups from local schools and organizations signed up for the chance to walk a heart-healthy half-mile parade route on South Main Street from the Park to Government Center. "Everyone wants to be in this parade," said Greater Fall River Re-Creation's Annemarie Holly who worked for over a month to organize the event, the largest Holiday Parade in New England. Click here for the Herald News article. Click here to see all of the photos of the parade. Click here for a sixteen-minute video of this year's parade, here for photos of last year's parade, and here for more photos and text describing this year's parade.
Greater Fall River Re-Creation, the Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge, and Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc., sponsored the Fourth Annual Jingle Run from Kennedy Park to Government Center on December 6th. Kicking off half an hour before the annual Children's Holiday Parade, proceeds for the event went to help sponsor the Parade. Runners and walkers were encouraged to wear holiday apparel and to bring jingle bells to make lots of noise on their trip up South Main Street. Fitness Challenge organizer Annemarie Holly started off the group of runners at the staring line after signing everyone in, and Greg Medeiros of Fitness Fusion led the group on the rainy day run. Either walking or running, everyone completed the trip and were offered a free bus ride back to the start of the parade of its start! Click here for a one-minute video of the Jingle Run at the start pf the Children's Holiday Parade
The outgoing Executive Director of Mass Bike joined officials from the Southeastern Regional Economic Development District (SRPEDD), Mass Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Fall River Police Department and Traffic and Parking Office, Bike Fall River, and Fall River Mass In Motion for a two-hour walking audit of bicycle access in the Central Fall River area on December 3, 2014. Following a brief introduction and review of the audit process that was funded earlier in the year through a federal Highway Safety Improvement Plan grant given to Fall River and eleven other communities in Massachusetts. David Watson of Mass Bike led a team on a two-hour walking tour of central Fall River to observe traffic patterns and current routes that bicycles frequently travel in central Fall River. Following the walk audit, the group were joined by Fall River Police Sgt. Andrew Crook in the Fall River Police Department Community Room to debrief their observations and make recommendations for improving bicycling in the City. Click here for a 35-minute video of the debriefing and here for more photos.
Students from B.M.C. Durfee High School and UMass-Dartmouth took their cameras into Fall River's various neighborhoods and photographed the people and places they encountered. An exhibit of their photos opened on December 4, 2014 in the Staircase Gallery in Government Center. This collaborative portrait features many of the City's small businesses, neighborhood scenes, and the often unnoticed but fascinating details of everyday life. Through this project, students gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of the city that is just down the road from their campus, and Durfee students had the opportunity to explore and reflect upon their own community. The project was sponsored by a University of Massachusetts Creative Economies grant and organized by Durfee photography teacher Mark Carvalho and UMass-Dartmouth anthropology professor Andrea Klimt, Ph.D.. The goal of the Staircase Gallery is to encourage physical activity among employees and visitors to the Government Center by use of the stairs. Click here for a  video and here for more photos & text.
World AIDS day was celebrated in Fall River on December 3, 2014, beginning with a ceremony at Gromada Plaza in front of Government Center. About two dozen people gathered at noon to mark the 25th anniversary of the worldwide event and the 10th time that people have gathered to mark the day in Fall River. According to Fall River Health and Human Services Director Henry Vaillancourt, M.D. there were 223 people living with HIV infection in Fall River as of this January. "That number has gone up from previous years, not because more people are becoming infected but because people are living longer with the disease," he stated. "Unfortunately, the predominant mode of exposure is intravenous drug abuse," he added. Connie Rocha-Mimoso of Seven Hills Behavioral Health stated "we've done very well in Fall River and the state. Our numbers are down, but don't be fooled about this victory. There's still a lot to be done," she added. Click here for a 14-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
A crew from the Fall River Traffic Department have installed over thirty bicycle racks throughout the City in order to complete a grant awarded by the Southeastern Regional Economic Development and Planning District (SRPEDD) with the assistance of the Fall River Bicycle Committee earlier this year. Two of those staff, Joe Dewsnap and Kevin Raposa, were interviewed on November 19, 2014 as they did one of the last installations on the sidewalk next to the Academy Building on Old Second Street. "People have really appreciated having these installed," stated Traffic Department Worker Joe Dewsnap. The two-man crew did the installations over just a few days. When the project is completed, there will be a Partners web page showing all of the locations throughout the City. "This project will really help the growing number of bicyclists throughout the City who need a secure place to lock their bicycles that doesn't depend on their using fences, trees, or other inappropriate means of locking their bikes," commented Fall River Mass In Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly  Click here for a two-minute video of the installation and here for more photos and text.

 

Get Ready for the 8th Annual Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge Health Fair

Coming, Saturday, January 10, 2015, 10 a.m. - Noon

at Kuss Middle School

For more information and to register for an exhibit table, contact Annemarie Holly at 508-679-0922.


 

Healthy City Fall River Update is sent to over 500 participants in Healthy City Fall River, a partnership between the City of Fall River and Partners for a Healthier Community with a mission to improve the health status of all those who live or work in the City of Fall River. For further information about Healthy City Fall River, go to www.healthycityfallriver.org. To see all of the web pages describing Healthy City activities, go to http://www.gfrpartners.com/HealthyCity-related14.html. In order to send announcements of Healthy City events or to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, contact the Coordinator at drweed@cox.net. Agencies: please add this e-mail address or our fax number (508-324-2429) to your standard media notification list so we can cover your event on the Healthy City Update.