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County recognizes Etna for efforts to promote healthy living

| Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Reis Stefanski, 9, and Mike Tremel, 17, work on some skills together. The Shaler Soccer Club hosted a camp for children with special needs last week.

Etna is being celebrated for its efforts to promote wellness with residents.

The borough became one of 12 communities in Allegheny County to be designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community.

“We've been doing so many things within the community that are environmentally friendly and make the community just a healthier place to live and be,” borough manager Mary Ellen Ramage said. “It was a good fit for us.”

Live Well Allegheny is a program launched in January 2014 by county Executive Rich Fitzgerald to promote wellness in Allegheny County.

The program is led by the county health department and encourages municipalities, city neighborhoods and school districts to gain the Live Well status by passing a resolution outlining goals it has met and striving toward to promote overall wellness in the community.

County health department director Dr. Karen Hacker and council member Ed Kress joined borough officials at Etna's Community Day on Aug. 8 to formally designate the borough.

“As someone with family ties to the borough, I applaud the efforts of the borough council and of Mayor (Thomas) Rengers on taking this important step to create a healthy environment for the residents of Etna,” Kress said.

“Living well requires a behavioral change, and through planned programming, events and the coordinated efforts of Live Well Allegheny, the residents of Etna will have every opportunity to lead healthy lifestyles.”

The program emphasizes not only physical wellness, but emergency preparedness, community safety, mental wellness, education, nutrition and financial wellness, said Amie Downs, director of communications for Allegheny County. Etna has done especially well with sustainability efforts and controlling storm water, she said.

“Some really amazing things are going on in Etna,” Downs said. “Each community looks at what it is that they're doing and what they can accomplish and what they can personally make commitments to.”

Etna already developed walking maps and trails for residents, created a community garden to donate fresh produce to local food pantries, and adopted smoke-free parks and buildings, among a long list of other things, Ramage said. The full resolution can be found at livewellallegheny.com.

“A lot of activities Live Well Allegheny promotes, we were already undertaking,” Ramage said. “And with the assistance of Live Well, we'll be able to enhance and provide so much more to residents.”

With the help of the program, the borough will provide more activities and public education on how residents can continue to live healthy lifestyles, she said.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364.

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