Click here for a pdf copy of the Fall 2016 CONNECTION Newsletter

Greater Fall River 
Health Update
September 1, 2016

Click here for the new WalkFallRiver web site

 
Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) employee Janice Velozo organized the first in a series of History Walks on the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail on August 27, 2016 to emphasize the role that the River played in the City's history. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) staff members Molly Cardoza and Ken Champlin join Janice in describing various aspects of life connected to the mills that were built along the River in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The walk was part of a larger effort by Mass in Motion Fall River to introduce people to the new Trail and the adjoining Britland Park as a way of improving their overall health. The Trail consists of a bicycle and walking path that runs over a former railroad bed to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street. Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and by the Gateway City Park Program of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Trail will eventually open up nearly two miles of a natural habitat right in the middle of the City. Click here for a 56-minute video of the walk and here for more photos and text.
Volunteers who assisted in cleaning and maintaining the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail over the summer were honored at a picnic and band concert held in Britland Park at the end of the Trail on august 25, 2016. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II was joined by City Councilor Linda Pereira and State Representative Carole Fiola to deliver citations and positive remarks about their work. Volunteers John Sousa and Janice Clarke received special recognition for their work in cleaning the river of over 200 discarded tires and removing trash from the Trail on a daily basis since the Trail opened to the public last June. "It's a small thanks for two very incredible people in our community," stated Mayor Correia. "These twp people represent what's best about Fall River, people who give of their time and really get to work," he added. Click here for a 16-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II organized an Overdose Awareness Week to run from August 28th through September 3rd as a way of bringing to light the ongoing problem of opioid overdoses in the City and to highlight the variety of resources available to victims. As part of that event, April Cabrera from the Bristol County District Attorney's Office organized an exhibit titled "Hidden In Plain Sight" in the lobby of Government Center to bring awareness to parents to clues of opioid abuse that might be visible in a teenager's bedroom. The display showed examples of drug paraphernalia and commonly used hiding places where drugs and paraphernalia might be kept, often in plain sight to parents if they knew what to look for. The exhibit has traveled to Taunton and New Bedford to increase awareness in those two communities. Click here for a brief  video and here for more photos and text.
  Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia II organized a press event on August 25, 2016 at Government Center to announce an Overdose Awareness Week to run from August 28th through September 3rd as a way of bringing to light the ongoing problem of opioid overdoses in the City and to highlight the variety of resources available to victims. City Substance Abuse Grants Coordinator Michael Aguiar led off the event by introducing April Cabrera from the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Stanley Street Treatment and Resources BOLD Coordinator Laura Washington, Recover Fall River Organizer Laurie Godwin, River to Recovery Leader Kevin Doyle and Massachusetts Senator Michael Rodrigues, each of whom spoke on various aspects of the crisis and the response. The event is in response to the steady rise in overdose deaths in Fall River over the past several years, with numbers moving from 16 in 2013 to 44 in 2014 and 36 in 2015. Click here for a 17-minute video and here for more photos & text.
Dozens of adults and children gathered at Lafayette Park on August 26, 2016 to get everyone moving. Designed to provide two hours of healthy activity for younger children, the Women Children and Infants (WIC) program's third field day event did just that. With music provided by Pete Down of Upbeat Entertainment, dozens of kids bounced on WiggleKids exercise balls and beat out tunes during a Drums Alive session that followed. Other created giant bubbles, tried hula hoops, and played with frisbees provided by the District Attorney's Office who sponsored much of the event. Representatives of Highland Pediatrics provided a sugar-free information table, Citizens for Citizens Family Planning and HealthFirst Family Care Center offered information about their services, and Greater Fall River Re-Creation offered free pizza. The event ended with a six-year-old girl and a eight-year-old boy winning a new bicycle and helmets donated by Benny's and BMC HealthNet Plan. Click here for a seven-minute video of the event and here for more photos & text.
While most people walk or bike the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail, the newly-created park is also an ideal location for other events. On August 24, 2016, Art Instructor Holli Faria of Studio Life Art invited children and adults to draw whatever the natural beauty inspired them along the Quequechan River in Britland Park. Holli gave participant drawing paper, colored pencils and boards on which they could work during the two-hour exercise. The project is part of a larger effort to introduce people to the new Trail and the adjoining Britland Park in collaboration with City's Mass in Motion Project. Other events have been planned for the park throughout the months of August and September. The Trail created a bicycle and walking path that runs over a former railroad bed to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street. Click here for a ten-minute video of the session and here for more photos and text.
While most people walk or bike the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail, the newly-created park is also an ideal location for other events. On August 24, 2016, Yoga Instructor Jessica Drolec of Studio Life Art invited children and adults to learn some basic yoga exercises along the Quequechan River in Britland Park. Jessica took participants through basic breathing exercises and then through several stretches and poses designed to relax the body and restore energy. The project is part of a larger effort to introduce people to the new Trail and the adjoining Britland Park in collaboration with City's Mass in Motion Project. Other events have been planned for the park throughout the months of August and September. The Trail created a bicycle and walking path that runs over a former railroad bed to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street. Click here for a 14-minute video and here for more photos.
Representative Carole Fiola invited Fall River residents to join her on August 23, 2016 for one of her Walk and Talk events, this time at the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail. The Trail was named for local historian and planner Alfred J. Lima. and follows a plan for a Quequechan River Greenway, drawn up by Lima, that includes improvements to Britland Park. Plans were first presented in April, 2011 and reviewed in 2012 along with other efforts to make Fall River more bicycle-friendly. The project created a ten foot wide paved surface with three foot grass shoulders that runs over a former railroad bed and five timber bridges to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street and eventually the existing path that begins at the Westport Town line along South Watuppa Pond. The project was funded by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and by the Gateway City Park Program of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Rep. Fiola led the group from the Rodman Street entrance and walked to Quequechan Street and back. Click here for a 12-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Steppingstone, Inc. is continuing to raise funds for the relocation of the First Step Inn at 177 North Main Street to enable it to continue to provide emergency shelter for the area's homeless population. A newly purchased building a block west of the current location will provide space for people who have had to go to overflow shelters in local churches during the winter months. "The new building on Durfee Street is currently being rehabbed to accommodate all of the homeless individuals in Fall River," stated Steppingstone Executive Director Kathleen Clark. It will also provide space for counselor, medical help and other assistance need to get them out of the temporary shelter into permanent housing.  An annual 5K fundraiser brings in donations to provide counseling, proper nutrition, bedding and other services to help the homeless stay clean, sober and safely sheltered. Click here for a two-minute video of the shelter under construction and here for more photos and text.
The Medical Staff at the HealthFirst Family Care Center often invite representatives of community-based organizations to their staff meetings to provide information about community resources that can assist them in working with their patients. On August 18, 2016 two staff members from Stanley Street Treatment and Resources' (SSTAR) Project AWARE talked about their P4C HIV prevention project, and Partners for a Healthier Community Executive Director Dr. David Weed presented a short PowerPoint program about Partners' collaborative work. SSTAR Social Worker Patricia Garber and Project AWARE staff member Willie Cabral talked about the Partners for Change (P4C) grant that aims to improve HIV services and increase the number of patients who know their HIV status by offering routine testing. Dr. Weed's session was designed to help the staff better understand the scope of collaborative efforts in which Partners is involved. Click here for a 36-minute video of a similar presentation & here for more photos and text.
The Partners Soda-free Campaign traveled to the Boys & Girls Club of Fall River's Camp Welch in nearby Assonet on August 15, 2016 to urge campers to reduce or eliminate soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. This is part of an ongoing effort to educate children and adults that soda is one of the largest sources of empty calories that contribute to obesity and metabolic syndrome. Sugars from soda and other foods are also a major contributor to tooth decay. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard and Community Outreach Manager Jack Shipley posed a series of questions to three teams whose answers determined which of three Camp counselors would get doused with a bucket of water. The questions covered a range of information about sugar and other nutritional concerns, but the teams were, for the most part, able to respond to them correctly. "These kids have learned a lot about the harm that sugar does and which foods to avoid," noted Picard. Click here to see a 28-minute video and here for more photos and text.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) Youth Conservation Corps has worked on building a trail along the south end of Cook Pond to create a rustic walking path and reclaim and create public access to this beautiful space. During the summer of 2016, the crew worked near the Henry Lord Community School, restoring and creating the Amity Nature Trail at Cook Pond along the shoreline. The pathway extends from the south end of the Henry Lord property north to the boat ramp at Henry Street with permission from the Fall River School Department, the SouthPointe Rehabilitation Center, and the MA Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Area providing more than half a mile of access to a beautiful wooded natural area with views of the Pond along the way. The long term Mass in Motion Fall River plan is to continue around the circumference resulting in a three and a half-mile walking loop around the Pond. Click here for a two-minute video of the completed path and here for more photos and text.
Steppingstone, Inc. held its 14th annual 5K Walk & Run for the Homeless on August 13, 2015, to raise funds for the First Step Inn at 177 North Main Street to enable it to continue to provide emergency shelter for the area's homeless population. This year's event was moved to the quiet streets of the City's North End around the B.M.C. Durfee High School were the race began and ended. Olympian Judi St. Hilaire, 7th place winner of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was on hand to champion the race that race participants along with dozens of walkers on the 3.6 mile course. "The new building on Durfee Street is currently being rehabbed to accommodate all of the homeless individuals in Fall River," stated Steppingstone Executive Director Kathleen Clark. The annual event raises funds to provide counseling, proper nutrition, bedding and other services to help the homeless stay clean, sober and safely sheltered. Click here for a 13-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Members of the Fall River Bicycle Committee organized a series of rides through the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve, a 14,000 acre tract of wooded land that borders Fall River's northeast corner, every Thursday evening through the month of August, 2016. Bike Fall River members Mike Klek, Paul DeVillers and Frank Menezes joined up on August 11th for a 12.5-mile ride through the forested area, much of which is within the Fall River City Limits. The Bioreserve protects Fall River's drinking water supply and is home to various animal and plant species. The Bioreserve offers an "off road" experience through a natural setting that is rarely traveled by motorized vehicles. Despite the poor condition of the pavement in many areas, the cyclists can navigate over seventeen miles of trails. "There are a few rough spots, but the road is not horrible," noted Paul who cautioned those who did not have an off-road bike like his. Click here for a eighty-second video and here for more photos and text.
Ihe Heritage Park Visitors' Center at Battleship Cove was turned into a Family Fun Night and Summer Dance Party on August 10, 2016 by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) interpretive staff members Maggi Brown and Molly Cardoza. The evening provided a chance for family members to engage in crafts, watch DCR employee Colleen Keegan from Pilgrim Memorial Park in Plymouth spin yarn, play with giant inflatable balls provided by the Greater Fall River Children's Museum, learn knot tying with Chris Nardi of the.Greater Fall River Re-Creation Community Boating Program, and dance to the tunes of Chris Hookie and Sunshine Entertainment. The Visitors' Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the summer and includes exhibits and a video about Fall River's history. Click here for a three-minute   video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Following a lot of planning, tree planting, and construction on the Sventh Street Community Garden, Bank Street Neighborhood Association President Natalie Melo invited people on August 8, 2016 to see the garden looks now that the plants are beginning to yield their crops. Sandy Peckham of the Citizens for Citizens Head Start Program on Maple Street and Neighborhood Association Treasurer Odete Costa joined Natalie as she looked over what was growing in the eight three foot by twelve foot raised beds in the newly designated gardening space. Each is equipped with automatic sprinklers set on a timer so no one has to be there to water the plants ans the beds are beginning to overflow with vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and eggplant, all of which gets donated either to the groups who work on the garden or to various food banks in the City. “It’s everything I always wanted,” stated Bank Street Neighborhood Association President, “and more!” she added. Click here for a 90-second   video and here for more photos.
While most people walk or bike the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail, the newly-created park is also an ideal location for other events. On August 6, 2016 Kim Ferrara of WiggleKids in Swansea brought her exercise balls to the park where she was joined by over 15 children and adults for more than an hour of active drumming to music called Drums Alive. The event got kids and adult moving to a variety of familiar tunes as they used drumsticks and pool noodles to keep time to the music. "Coach Kim gets everyone moving and enjoying the space that she creates, "commented Stanley Street Treatment and Resources (SSTAR) employee Janice Velozo who helped to plan the event. The project is part of a larger effort to introduce people to the new Trail and the adjoining Britland Park in collaboration with City's Mass in Motion Project. Click here for a seven-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Residents of the Chor Bishop Eid Housing Complex on Quequechan Street in the Flint gathered on August 3, 2016 to enjoy a salad made of fresh  vegetables picked from the community garden minutes beforehand by resident Katie Goldman who oversees the garden. "It's wonderful to see people eating nutritious food that they had a hand in growing and without any expense to them," commented Goldman. The garden has been constructed with donations of wood, soil, compost and seeds from the Housing Authority, Partners for a Healthier Community, and other sources. The garden gives residents the opportunity to plant and raise their own fruits and vegetables, including beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. The produce is shared among the residents of the complex, many of who are physically unable to work in the garden, and some is donated to community food pantries and soup kitchens. Click here for seven-minute video and here for more photos and text.
All over Fall River during the summer of 2016, construction is underway designed not only to move automobiles but also to move pedestrians and cyclists and to create environments that welcome physical activity. While most of that activity has centered on the reconstruction of the Route 195/Route 79 interchange, other activity has been taking place throughout Fall River. Denver, Hall, Middle and Tripp Street in the City's South End have all had sidewalk improvements as part of the City's repaving efforts. Montgomery, Harvard and Langley Streets in the City's North End have also had major sidewalk replacements. Even sections of Bank Street in the City's downtown area have had sidewalk repair as part of a City contract with LAL Construction who is doing the work. Each of these improvements will enhance the walkability of the City, a major goal of the Mass in Motion Fall River effort. Click here for a two-and-a-half-minute video and here for more photos and text.
he HealthFirst Family Care Center at 387 Quarry Street, Fall River began a month-long series of special events held on every Tuesday, starting on August 2, 2016. The event on August 9th included free fruit and exercise for children and adults together. Everyone was offered a banana, orange, apple or pear either to eat or take with them, and all were invited to try hula hooping to a musical background in the community room with staff members Jessica Millet and Carla Abreu. "We welcome anyone to come by and tour our place," stated Outreach Coordinator Linda Hennessey. The facility is one of two federally designated community health centers in Fall River (the other is at Stanley Street Treatment and Resources) and offers a full range of medical and dental services. The facility also houses the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. Click here for a two-and-a-half-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
FWhile many Fall River families have brought their children to the Greater Fall River Children's Museum to explore the wonderful offerings there, some families lack the transportation to get there. Thanks to the work of Partners Community Outreach Manager Jack Shipley, children and parents living in Fall River and Somerset who lack transportation were given the opportunity to enjoy three hours at the Museum free of charge on August 2, 2016. "The children really enjoyed the chance to explore and learn from the various exhibits," stated Partners Outreach Manager Jack Shipley who arranged the occasion with grant money from Partners. "The parents enjoyed the break as well since they rarely have the opportunity to take their children anywhere due to lack of transportation," added Shipley. Additional recreational sessions are scheduled for the coming months. Click here for a two-and-a-half-minute video and here for more photos and text.
The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) received a two year planning grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to collect baseline data and design a longitudinal research study that will measure the impact of environmental conditions, particularly mixed-income, mixed-use, transit oriented real estate development (“TOD”) projects, on health in a variety of Massachusetts neighborhoods. The research study will track environmental conditions and health in neighborhoods targeted for investment in such TOD projects compared to environmental conditions and health in control neighborhoods with similar demographics, built environments and health outcome characteristics over a five- to ten-year period. The study will track neighborhood changes across multiple domains to include economic, social, behavioral, environmental, and health outcome indicators. Click here for photos and video of a recent training. Click here for a three-minute video of the team survey and here for more photos and text.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) Youth Conservation Corps has worked on building a trail along the south end of Cook Pond to create a rustic walking path and reclaim and create public access to this beautiful space.  This summer, the crew worked behind Henry Lord Community School, restoring and creating the Amity Nature Trail at Cook Pond, along the shoreline. Two years ago the pathway extended from the Henry Lord property to the boat ramp at Henry Street with permission from the Fall River School Department, SouthPointe Rehabilitation Center, the MA Fisheries and Wildlife Conservation Area, but that part of the trail has become overgrown. Plans for the state to reconstruct the Henry Street fishing area are waiting only for the construction of a paved Henry Street, which has been scheduled. A long term Mass in Motion Fall River plan is to continue around the circumference resulting in a three and a half-mile walking loop. Click here for a two-and-a-half-minute video of the crew at work and here for more photos and text.
The Portuguese population in Europe has the highest rate of diabetes (13%) of all of the central European countries, and that same population now populates over forty percent of Fall River and Bristol County, Massachusetts also resulting in higher rates of diabetes. Fall River Community Media Channel 95 cable television host and Flint Neighborhood Association President Carlos Cesar invited psychologist Dr. David Weed to appear on his August 2, 2015 show to talk about how a low-carbohydrate approach to eating can help people with diabetes or pre-diabetes reduce, or in some cases eliminate, the effects of the disease. Dr. Weed has been teaching people in Fall River a low-carbohydrate approach for over five years during the annual Fitness Challenges that are held every winter and spring. In the show, he goes over the cause of diabetes and explains how avoiding foods containing starches and sugars and increasing healthy fats in the diet has eliminated his own symptoms as well as the symptoms of most people who are willing to take this approach. Click here for more photos and text.

 

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-related15.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.