Saturday, February 02, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

When Howard County General Hospital became part of the Johns Hopkins Health System fifteen years ago, included the deal was the establishment of a foundation “to improve health and wellness in Howard County.” The Horizon Foundation now doles out approximately $4 million annually to a variety of initiatives to advance this goal. Sitting at the top of this foundation is Nikki Highsmith Vernick.

Nikki joined the Horizon Foundation about a year ago and soon began focusing her efforts on childhood obesity. According to Nikki, over twenty thousand HoCo children are dangerously overweight. To draw attention to the foundations efforts to promote healthy snacking, they recently staged an event at Burleigh Middle School dumping 9.6 tons of white sand in the schools parking lot to dramatize “the amount of sugar the school’s students would consume if each drank one 12-ounce soda a day for a year.”

The same day, HoCo Exec Ken Ulman announced that he was banning the sale of sugary drinks on county property, a move that immediately bought criticism from State Senator Allan Kittleman saying that “is not a function of government to determine what you should and should not drink.”

In our podcast yesterday Nikki offered a defense of the execs ban pointing out that since we are paying for county employees healthcare we have a responsibility to promote healthy snacking in their workplace.

In our news recap we discussed Ken’s state of the county address, Symphony Woods Inner Arbor plan, and the legislation to allow HoCo public library employees to form a union.

We also briefly discussed the new parking system in Ellicott City which debuts next week. Paul told how he got a ticket last week on Main Street, despite assurances from the client he was visiting that parking was still free. Paul’s offense was that he parked twelve inches over the marked lines. That little indiscretion cost him thirty five bucks, meters or not.

You can listen to the 83rd episode of “and then there’s that…” here.
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