The Anoka County Board of Commissioners recognized the efforts of individuals and groups who devote their time, energy, and talent to improving public health with the presentation of the 2017 Public Health Awards. Recipients were recognized for their leadership, community health improvement, collaboration and advocacy.

The first award was presented to Community Dental Care for their work to provide dental care for second grade students in Anoka-Hennepin District schools that have a high poverty rate. Cavities in children is one of the most common chronic childhood medical concerns and it is especially prevalent in children from low income families. Community Dental Care staff work closely with Anoka-Hennepin principals, school nurses, school social workers, and health paraprofessional at high risk schools in the district. Students hear a presentation on dental health and receive a dental screening, fluoride varnish and sealants, and teeth cleaning, along with oral hygiene supply kits and referrals for further dental care, if needed. Last year 2,355 children heard a presentation about dental health and received a dental hygiene supply kit; 459 children received a dental screening and oral hygiene instruction; 338 children received a fluoride varnish; and 274 children received one or more sealants on permanent molars.

“Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Community Dental Care team and Anoka-Hennepin School District staff, students at 10 district schools are getting much needed dental care that, without this program, they likely would not receive,” said Anoka County Commissioner Mike Gamache.

A second award was presented to the Martin Lakers Association, whose members include both residents and visitors to Martin Lake in Linwood Township. This group of volunteers donates their time, talents, and sometimes their own resources to keep the lake clean and safe. Area residents Rich and Melody Lentsch have personally given hours of their time to coordinate pollution prevention projects that help maintain the lake as a clean and sustainable natural resource.

Martin-Island Linwood Lakes Regional Park has reaped significant benefits from the lake quality projects that are supported by the Martin Lakers Association, including the installation of three rain gardens to capture and prevent stormwater pollution from reaching the lake; and the installation of four carp barriers that not only improve lake water quality but also improve fishing.

“Organizations like the Martin Lakers Association have a significant impact on the protection and management of our local resources,” said Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah, chair, Anoka County Board. “We owe a debt of gratitude to all the members for their continued dedication and hard work to keep Martin Lake clean and safe for residents and visitors alike.

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