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Twin Cities YMCAs offer summer memberships for youths: Health briefs

Young people are at greater risk for risky behaviors during the summer, when they spend long stretches of time unsupervised. Decades of statistics demonstrate that violence, drinking and drug use rates go up during the warm summer months.

The Get Summer program responds to parents' worries and young peoples' by providing a local, flexible alternative for high schoolers in the safe and fun environment of YMCA branches. Registration for Get Summer begins on Thursday, June 1, and runs through Monday, June 12.

There are 150 free memberships good for June 12 to Sept. 1 available for youth entering grades 9-12. There will be a wait list once the spots have been filled. To register, teens must bring a valid state ID, student ID or report card to any one of 25 YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities locations and have a permission form signed by a parent or guardian.

For more information, visit www.ymcamn.org/getsummer.

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Western Wisconsin Health hosts annual open house

The community is invited to attend Western Wisconsin Health's Annual Community Open House Celebration held 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 7. Attendees will be able to enjoy a healthy meal prepared by the Eatery while listening to live music by Boondoggle.

Other festivities include a meet and greet with providers, free health and memory screenings, kids dance with Healthy Hank and tours of the Life Link helicopter and local emergency vehicles. Attend for a chance to win prizes such as an Amazon Echo and Fitness Center membership. For more information, visit wwhealth.org or call 715-684-1111.

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St. Croix Valley communities power up for fun

NEW RICHMOND — Eating better and moving more was the name of the game at PowerUp Week, May 5-13. Communities across the St. Croix Valley and western Wisconsin were inspired to take part in PowerUp festivities ranging from a Cinco de Mayo family triathlon and veggie giveaways to an animal hike, geocaching event and birthday celebrations in honor of Chomp, the larger-than-life PowerUp superhero carrot.

Festivities continued in New Richmond May 20 with the Westfields Hospital & Clinic's Family Health and Safety Day.

"We were thrilled to see so many members of the community brave the rain to come and have fun — and hopefully learn a little — at our Family Health & Safety Day on Saturday," said Steven Massey, president and CEO of Westfields Hospital & Clinic. "We are proud to be a part of the New Richmond community and are honored when residents select us for their care. This event was just one small way we could show our appreciation to the community."

PowerUp is a community-wide initiative to make it easy, fun and popular to eat better and move more so that kids can grow up healthy. PowerUp works in partnership with schools, businesses, health care, civic groups and families.

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Wisconsin health initiative to focus on key issues

Building on a year of collaboration with organizations from around the state, health officials May 24 launched Healthy Wisconsin, aimed at improving the health of Wisconsin residents by 2020. The plan highlights five priority areas for improving health: alcohol, nutrition and physical activity, opioids, suicide and tobacco.

"Healthy Wisconsin builds on the great work already underway in Wisconsin to address these five priority health issues," Department of Health Services Secretary Linda Seemeyer said. "The goal of this effort is to improve the health of those who live here in the next three to five years, by collaborating with partners throughout the state to address issues that are having a real impact on our communities."

A new Healthy Wisconsin website, healthy.wisconsin.gov, highlights goals, data and strategies to encourage public involvement in making progress on the five priority health areas. The website will also highlight local and statewide success stories that show communities working to make a difference in each focus area.

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