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Posts Tagged ‘SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC)’

The Sitka Cycling Club will host a free workshop on commuting to work by bike and utility cycling (using a bicycle for transportation) from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30, at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op (located in the back of Hames Wellness Center.

Participants will receive a $10 gift certificate to the Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, a Bicycle Benefits helmet sticker that gets commuters discounts at 12 local business, a helmet if needed, a place to do some basic bike maintenance, educational resources, and Sitka-specific riding tips for commuters.

The outdoor workshop will start at the Salty Spoke Bike Co-op and will include a short ride downtown. This event is supported by the Sitka Cycling Club and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC).

For more information or to sign up for one of the 10 spots, call SEARHC Health Educator Doug Osborne at 966-8674.

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Saturday, June 5, is National Trails Day this year, and the Sitka Cycling Club will celebrate by hosting a work party on its newest single-track mountain bike trail, Haa Latseen.

The work party takes place from 9 a.m. to noon, and takes place on the new loop off the Sitka Cross Trail. To reach the new loop, enter the Cross Trail from the Sitka High School entrance and go north (left from the spur) for about 120 yards. If you get as far as the gravel pile, you’ve gone about 60 feet too far.

The trail was named by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), which contributed $1,500 toward its construction. In Tlingít, Haa Latseen means strength of mind, body, and spirit. Work started on the trail on May 1, and there are regular work parties from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday afternoons this summer.

This is part of a series of single-track mountain bike trail loops the Sitka Cycling Club started building in 2020. Last summer the club built four loops, plus another loop was built by a group sponsored by the Sitka Conservation Society Community Conservation Corps. The goal is to build three more trails this summer, while also moving forward on a pump track project.

Speaking of the proposed pump track, the City and Borough of Sitka Parks and Recreation Committee will meet at noon on Tuesday, June 8, in Harrigan Centennial Hall, 330 Harbor Drive. Agenda items include: Sitka Cycling Club Pump Track; Upper Moller Field Use; Lower Moller Field; Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan. The meeting is open to the public.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and state health mandates encouraging residents to practice social distancing, and limit group gatherings, individuals that would like to participate by teleconference can contact jessica.earnshaw@cityofsitka.org or call 747-1826 by 10:00 a.m. the day of the meeting to obtain information to join the meeting.

These trails don’t build themselves. While we use (and so much appreciate) our volunteer labor, we still need to purchase gravel, shovels, wheelbarrows and other supplies. That’s where you come in, please donate to our efforts today. 

We are applying for a grant to help finance more trails, and the grant requires matching funding. We need people to pitch in so that we can match dollar for dollar. Please send a few bucks (or a few hundred) to the Sitka Cycling Club through our PayPal site, which accepts PayPal as well as credit/debit cards. You also can mail checks to Sitka Cycling Club, c/o Charles Bingham, treasurer, 405 Marine Street, Apt. No. 6, Sitka, Alaska 99835.

We also are looking for people to volunteer on our trail-building teams, with work parties from 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday and at a time TBA on the first Saturday of the month. We now have an online volunteer registration page, where people can sign up for specific work parties so we can make sure we stay Covid-safe on the trails.

We appreciate everybody’s help on this project. Thank you for your assistance. For more details on how to volunteer, contact single-track project leader Amy Volz at amy.volz@outlook.com.

A slideshow of trail-construction photos from May is linked below. These photos, including the one at the top of this post, were taken by Lione Clare.

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TRAIL HELP –  Jessika Bean, project coordinator in SEARHC’s Health Promotion Department, left, presents a $1,500 check from SEARHC to Amy Volz,  the single-track trails project manager for the Sitka Cycling Club, recently. The money will be used to support the construction of a new single-track mountain bike trail, Haa Latseen, a spur off the Sitka Cross Trail. Volunteer work parties are held from 4-6 p.m. every Tuesday this summer and from 9 a.m. to noon on the first Saturday of the month. At the May 1 work party volunteers built the first 40 feet of trail and removed 820 pounds of rusty metal, litter, and trash that was in the area of the new trail behind Sitka High School. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Sitka’s weather on International Winter Bike To Work Day, Friday, Feb. 12, was cold and sunny, with no real moisture in about a week, which may have helped Sitka finish in the top 100 in the 2021 overall standings. Sitka beat several cities with more than a million people.

Sitka finished in a 13-way tie for 98th overall, with seven points (riders who recorded their rides on the international website). That put Sitka ahead of several larger communities around the world, such as Talinn, Estonia; Warsaw, Poland; Hannover, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; and Vienna, Austria. Communities earned points for the number of cyclists who rode and registered their rides with the International Winter Bike To Work Day website. The only other Alaska community among the top-250 places in the standings was Anchorage, which was in a 117-way tie for 230th place with two points.

Sweden dominated the top spots in the standings, with four cities in the top five. Linköping was the 2021 winner with 412 points, followed by 2020 overall winner Uppsala with 352 points. In third place was Umeå with 253 points, while Göteborg and Ismir, Turkey, tied for fourth place with 218 points. Rounding out the top-10 places in the standings were three-time winner (2015-17) Zagreb, Croatia, in sixth with 191 points; Montréal, Quebec, Canada, in seventh place with 159 points; 2014 winner Oulu, Finland, in eighth place with 155 points; and two more Swedish cities with Stockholm in ninth place with 132 points and Falun in 10th place with 127 points. Other former champions included 2019 champion Denver, Colorado, USA, in a tie for 65th place with 12 points; 2018 champion Novi Sad, Serbia, in a tie for 347th place with one point; and 2013 champion Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada in a tie for 32nd place with 27 points. (In 2013 the event was almost entirely Canadian and it didn’t become a true international event until 2014.)

There were 93 communities from the United States that show up in the standings. The top five United State cities in the standings were Boulder, Colo., in a tie for 29th place with 32 points (the top American city); Traverse City, Mich., in a tie for 32nd place with 27 points; Denver in a tie for 65th place with 12 points; and Olympia, Wash., and Lincoln, Neb., both in a tie for 76th place with 10 points. Sitka, in its tie for 98th place with seven points, was the sixth American city. Other than Anchorage, no other Alaska communities showed up in the standings.

Participants in Sitka could enter a drawing at Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop on Feb. 12 when they recorded their rides, which could include loops around town due to so many people being out of work or working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. James Poulson won a reflective rain jacket from SEARHC, Greg George won a Mako Nite Rider headlight from Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, Davey Lubin won a Serfas Seat-Stay tail light from Yellow Jersey, Sharyn Ferrick won a Herrmans Safety Wing reflector from Yellow Jersey, Doug Osborne won a Sayre reflective band, and Ronan George won a Cycloq mounted bike holder (for the wall) from an anonymous donor. Thank you to all who donated prizes.

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In honor of American Heart Month in February, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion program invites any resident of Southeast Alaska to sign up for a new 28-day health challenge that is tailored to you. The Heart of the Matter Challenge starts on Monday, Feb. 1, and ends on Sunday, Feb. 28.

During February, participants will choose a personal health goal such as improved nutrition, increasing physical activity, stress management, quitting tobacco, or anything that enhances your physical and emotional well-being. This event is open to all ages, and is free for people in all SEARHC communities. There are weekly prize drawings for all participants who submit their progress reports.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Heleena van Veen at 907-966-8914 or heleenav@searhc.org.

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Sitka Cycling Club President Doug Osborne, left, and Sitka Cycling Club Treasurer Charles Bingham show off their Bicycle Friendly Community Silver Level designation swag in 2016. Sitka just renewed its Bicycle Friendly Community designation at the Silver Level for 2020-24.

The League of American Bicyclists announced on Wednesday (Dec. 16) that it has renewed the Silver Level designation for Sitka, Alaska, in the Bicycle Friendly Community program.

The Bicycle Friendly Community program promotes safer streets and better bicycling by awarding various levels to communities based on how their city or town meets standards in the Five E’s — Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Engineering, and Evaluation/Planning. A new E, Equity, is being introduced to the judging process and will replace Enforcement in future applications. Communities are required to resubmit applications at least once every four years.

This is the fourth time Sitka has been honored with a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award. Sitka became Alaska’s first BFC in 2008, after community members chose becoming a more bike- and walk-friendly community as one of the community wellness projects from the first Sitka Health Summit in 2007. Sitka renewed at the Bronze Level in 2012, and upgraded to the Silver Level in 2016. In addition, Sitka also earned the state’s first Walk Friendly Communities designations with Bronze Level awards in 2013 and 2017 (WFC is a newer program coordinated by the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center and supported by the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center).

“This is great news,” Sitka Cycling Club President Doug Osborne said. “Thanks to the League (of American Bicyclists) and everyone in town who’s helping us to be a Bicycle Friendly Community. Being a bike friendly community was identified as a top goal at the first Sitka Health Summit planning day in 2007. Since then, we have made steady progress and now we have more places to ride.”

Wednesday’s announcement honored 51 communities as renewing or new Bicycle Friendly Communities at the Platinum (1), Gold (3), Silver (11) or Bronze (38) levels (there also is a Diamond Level that wasn’t awarded this time). In addition, there were 16 communities that earned Honorable Mention status, just below the full BFC designation. Since 2002, the League of American Bicyclists has awarded 485 BFC designations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and has received applications from more than 850 communities. There now are five BFCs in Alaska — Sitka (Silver), Anchorage (Silver), Juneau (Bronze), Kenai (Bronze) and Soldotna (Bronze) — and two Honorable Mentions (Fairbanks and Haines).

“During one of the toughest years in recent memory, we have seen so many Americans turn to biking during the pandemic for fun and for necessary transportation options. It’s so important that communities like Sitka have laid the groundwork over several years to make biking a safe, accessible option for people when we all need as much health and happiness as possible,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “This Bicycle Friendly Community award is the culmination of years of work put in by Sitka and its citizen advocates for better biking. This award round, Sitka joins 51 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities in the movement toward healthier, more sustainable and connected places. As we turn the page on 2020 and look ahead to 2021, we’re proud that Sitka and communities like it are embracing bicycling as a solution to our collective recovery.”

The Bicycle Friendly Community program is part of the League of American Bicyclist’s larger Bicycle Friendly America program, which also includes Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business, and Bicycle Friendly University designations. Sitka’s largest employer, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Sitka Campus, holds a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Business designation.

During normal years, Sitka is known for hosting a variety of community bike rides and education events, such as National Bike Month events in May and a Kidical Mass family friendly bike ride in September, and having one of the state’s highest rates of people who commute to work by bike. But the COVID-19 pandemic limited those activities this spring and summer.

Sitka still accomplished several cycling-positive projects over the past couple of years, such as building four single-track mountain bike trail loops off the Sitka Cross Trail this summer, opening the Salty Spoke bike cooperative at Hames Wellness Center, rebranding the Sitka Bicycle Friendly Community Coalition as the Sitka Cycling Club and getting nearly 250 club members to register, starting a citywide bicycle parking plan, starting a Sitka mountain bike trails plan, launching a Bicycle Benefits program where cyclists can show participating merchants a sticker on their helmets to receive a discount at local businesses, and hosting the 2019 Alaska Walk and Bike Conference that included a two-day Smart Cycling training (Sitka also was scheduled to host the 2020 conference before it went virtual due to the pandemic).

To learn more about the Sitka Cycling Club, go to https://sitkacycling.wordpress.com or like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaCycling. Links to Sitka’s Bicycle Friendly Community application and report card can be found under the Documents tab on the Sitka Cycling Club website (previous year applications can be found by scrolling down the page). To learn more about the League of American Bicyclists and its Bicycle Friendly Community program, go to http://www.bikeleague.org/community.

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The new 29-day SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Stay Active, Stay Bright fall fitness challenge starts on Monday, Oct. 19, and runs through Monday, Nov. 16. This fitness challenge is open to all residents of Southeast Alaska, not just those in Sitka.

SEARHC has some great weekly prizes for this free, all-ages program that has participants track active minutes outdoors. Participants can track walking, biking, hunting, chopping firewood, raking leaves, playing tag with the kids or grandkids, chasing the dog, and other active minutes outdoors.

Since it’s getting dark this time of the year, participants are encouraged to wear bright, reflective jackets while outdoors for their safety. Among the prizes are high-visibility jackets by Grundéns.

To find out more and sign up, just click on this link, https://searhc.org/stayactivestaybright/ 

Stay Active Stay Bright – Fall Fitness Challenge

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The 2020 Alaska Walk and Bike Conference is going virtual, and now it’s free. It will take place from 9:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, June 9-12. Click this link to register for the conference.

Each day’s agenda will open with a specialist discussing the science and evidence of that day’s theme, followed by another speaker who will feature an Alaska example. There will be an opportunity for attendees to ‘chat’ and share information after each day’s events.

The themes and speakers for each day are:

Some of our speakers include Ana Lucaci and Nicole Huegenin of Denver-based Walk2Connect, Dr. Elliot Bruhl of SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC, Chief Medical Officer based in Sitka), Bonita Banks BSN RN of South Peninsula Hospital in Homer, Alfgeir Kristjannson PhD from the University of West Virginia and Reykjavik University (Iceland), Maeve Nevins-Lavtar from the Municipality of Anchorage Department of Parks and Recreation, Dr Frederick Foote MD, Sarana Schell of AARP Alaska, Ken McLeod JD policy director of the League of American Bicyclists, Lee Hart of the Alaska Outdoor Alliance, and Scott Menzies and Charlie Lowell of the Sustina Bicycle Institute.

Click this link, https://www.kcaw.org/2020/05/18/alaska-walk-and-bike-conference-goes-virtual-this-june/, to hear Sitka’s Doug Osborne of the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) and Anchorage’s Dawn Groth RN BSN of the Alaska Division of Public Health discuss the conference during a May 18 morning interview on Sitka’s KCAW-Raven Radio.

A tentative agenda is posted below. To register for this free, virtual conference, click this link, https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_u_Hpx4yzQtK4khFeIX5BMg. For more information, contact Dawn Groth at dawn.groth@alaska.gov.

• Alaska Walk and Bike Conference flier (PDF for printing)

• Tentative Agenda for the Alaska Walk and Bike Conference (updated May 28)

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May is #NationalBikeMonth and we want to see how you’re staying healthy by biking this month. Comment on this post with a photo of you riding a bike, whether it be outdoors or stationary, to win a $100 Visa gift card.

How to enter:

  1. “Like” SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) on Facebook or follow SEARHC on Instagram.
  2. Share this post to your page and post a picture in a comment on this post of how you’re staying healthy by biking this week.
  3. Use the hashtag #SEARHCfit and tag SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in your post. You also can email your photos to Doug Osborne at douglaso@searhc.org by noon on Friday to be included in that week’s challenge.
  4. All participants are encouraged to wear a helmet, bike on the right side of the road, and follow social distancing guidelines while riding (giving 20 feet to other riders).

Here are each week’s photo challenge prompts. Post a photo of you …

  • Week 1, May 1-7, Riding a bike on the right side of the road;
  • Week 2, May 8-14, Wearing a helmet that is level, snug, and strapped before your bike ride;
  • Week 3, May 15-21, Riding a bike and saying what you enjoyed about your ride; and
  • Week 4, May 22-29, Riding a bike and listing your three favorite rides this month.

Every Facebook/Instagram post will count as one entry, so post more than once to increase your chances of winning. We can’t wait to see how the residents of Southeast Alaska are staying healthy and active.

Three winners will be chosen at random and announced every Friday afternoon. The winners will receive a $100 Visa gift card.

For more information, call Doug Osborne at 738-8734 or to go the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium pages on Facebook or Instagram.

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The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Health Promotion Program is holding a drawing for six high-visibility jackets to encourage Sitka residents to be active and bright this fall.

The drawings for the six high-visibility jackets (similar to the one in the photo above) take place on Monday, Nov. 4. Sitka residents can enter at the Sitka Public Library, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center, Tongass Threads, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, and Blatchley Middle School.

Being safe and seen is critical for anybody walking or biking during the winter, and having a high-visibility jacket with reflective tape on it can help improve your safety while allowing you to stay active. Click this link to read more about the importance of being safe and seen, and how you can order free reflective tape from the Center for Safe Alaskans.

For more information about the high-visibility jacket drawings in Sitka, contact SEARHC health educator Doug Osborne at 966-8674 or douglaso@searhc.org.

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