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      Blue Zone deadline approaches

      Supporters of the Blue Zone project in Ottumwa are working hard to put the finishing touches on the city's application.

      All applications are due Wednesday, January 4.

      After that date, the Blue Zone commission will go through each application and choose the communities they want to visit. That decision will be made in late February.

      Wapello County Director of Public Health Lynelle Diers said that in Ottumwa, they are trying to be as creative and comprehensive as possible with their application.

      "Some of our iniatives we've alreay identified," Diers said. "It ranges from expanding our trails, what we currently have, up until including our faith community, we want to include restaurants, our grocery stores, retail, gardening."

      Diers said they have 14 initiatives already identified, and have commission chairs designated.

      What they do need help with is community support. Anyone over the age of 13 can go to and pledge support to the Ottumwa project.

      They are also including a slideshow of photographs with the Ottumwa application, to emphasize community support. Pictures of individuals or groups of any kind wearing blue can be emailed to Diers or to the Public Health Department to be included with the application.