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      Ottumwa needs your help to be a blue zone

      Ottumwa is one of several communities in Iowa applying to be considered as a Blue Zone community.

      The application deadline is approaching, and Ottumwa needs your help.

      The Blue Zone application encorporates several aspects of community health and requires letters of committment from health organizations. The application also requires community support.

      "One of the weak areas that continues is that we still need the community support to go to the website," Clinical Director of Public Health Lynelle Diers said. "When they look at our application, they're going to look at what percent of the community also went in and pledged their support, in addition to other things."

      One way to show support for the project is to wear blue on Friday, December 16 and take pictures of a group in blue. Pictures can be e-mailed to Diers and will be included with the application.

      In mid-February, the communities selected for site visits will be notified. The Blue Zone committee will then make their final decisions.

      "We're doing all we can to be recognized and I'm giving it 100 percent," Diers said. "We are really working at trying to be innovative and creative with our application. I have nothing but good thoughts because we are a community, we are a strong community, and we have nowhere to go but up."

      Anyone 13 years old and up can pledge their support to the Blue Zone project. To do so, go to or text "BZP" to 772937.