The Free Press, Mankato, MN

August 2, 2013

Anoka County rejects $1 million health grant


The Mankato Free Press

---- — ANOKA (AP) — Anoka County is turning down a $1 million grant to promote healthy lifestyles.

State officials are puzzled and say no county has ever turned down the grants from the Statewide Health Improvement Program, or SHIP. In past years, the county has used the grant, in part, to provide low-calorie snack menus for 16,000 elementary school students.

Anoka County Board chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah (sihv-ah-RAHJ'-uh) says the grant is targeted to print brochures, establish community gardens and provide constituents with pedometers. She says that's not a wise use of taxpayers' resources. She tells the Star Tribune (http://bit.ly/15zmR81 ) there's no measurable outcome.

State health commissioner John Koppel says the county's decision isn't saving taxpayers' money because the grant will be used elsewhere in the state.