Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - April 20, 2018 


The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

Daily Newscasts

It's Walk to School Day: Minnesota Students Hit the Sidewalks

PHOTO: Students across Minnesota and the nation are being encouraged to get to class under their own power today, as part of Walk to School Day. Photo credit: Elizabeth/Flickr.
PHOTO: Students across Minnesota and the nation are being encouraged to get to class under their own power today, as part of Walk to School Day. Photo credit: Elizabeth/Flickr.
October 8, 2014

ST. Paul, Minn. - Today is Walk to School Day, and the annual event comes as some school districts in Minnesota see a resurgence in students who are getting to class on their own. In the Sauk Rapids-Rice district, Superintendent Daniel Bittman says with the recent addition of sidewalks and crosswalks around Pleasantview Elementary, students, parents and staff are becoming more active.

"It's becoming part of a healthy-lifestyle choice," Bittman says. "It's not just about to and from schools. Families are taking that opportunity to be more active. And we know when kids are more active and engaged in healthier lifestyles, they do better in school."

Bittman says the improvements around Pleasantview were funded through Minnesota's Safe Routes to School program. The effort has helped a number of districts make improvements so kids can bike and walk safely to class, but demand in the state far exceeds available resources.

Dawn Moen, program specialist with Better Living: Exercise & Nutrition Daily (BLEND) with the CentraCare Health Foundation, says many schools are in dire need. That includes Oak Ridge Elementary in Sartell, which her son attends.

"They have a policy against any children walking or biking to that particular elementary school because it sits off a very busy county road, which does not have sidewalks or bike paths," says Moen. "It is unsafe to walk or bike to school."

With the need, Moen says, CentraCare and other groups like the American Heart Association that are involved with the Move Minnesota campaign will seek dedicated funding in the next legislative session to improve infrastructure around schools and address other transportation needs in the state. Moen predicts that will pay dividends down the road.

"Studies have found, for every dollar invested in building pedestrian or bike infrastructure, about $3 can be saved in health care costs associated with that increase in physical activity," she says.

It's estimated fewer than 15 percent of students now walk to school, as compared to the 1960s when that was how nearly half of all kids got to class.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN