Getting people out, fit downtown

Local residents are doing their part to change West Virginia’s ranking as the most obese state in the nation.

The following programs and events will get people moving and exercising:

* Linda McClead and Kim Coram are collaborating on “Sundays in D’ Park (Downtown Parkersburg)” with physical activities for everyone beginning April 7. The schedule features a downtown walk on the first Sunday, Zumba exercises on the second Sunday, bicycle riding on the third Sunday and interval fitness on the fourth Sunday, all starting at 2 p.m. at the Farmers’ Market stage at Market and Third streets. The free family-friendly activities are designed to get people off the couch and moving and enjoying the outdoors, said McClead, a certified health/wellness/lifestyle coach. Coram, a Parkersburg city councilwoman, noted she enjoys walking and biking in downtown Parkersburg and hopes to share these experiences with others. “I want downtown to be packed on the weekends like it was when I grew up and worked in my grandma’s gift shop on Market Street,” Coram said. The women’s goal is to offer the active Sundays through September.

* The Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be giving area youths an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities during JAKES Day at 8 a.m. April 6 at Wood County 4-H Fairgrounds, Butcher Bend Road in Mineral Wells. JAKES, or Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship, allows youth up to age 17, accompanied by an adult, to participate in fishing, archery, skeet shooting, blackpowder, turkey calling, paintball, demonstrations on trapping and hunting dog, courses on air rifle and hunting safety and fly tying. For a $10 registration fee, youths receive lunch and a door prize. Event coordinator Brent Lambert of Belpre can be contacted at 740-401-0830. “It’s about getting the youth out and involved in outdoor sports,” Lambert said.

* The Mid-Ohio Valley Tennis Association and Wood County Schools are working together to get children interested in tennis as a lifelong activity. Local schools will each receive 20 tennis rackets, two dozen tennis balls, a curriculum guide and instruction for physical education teachers. MOVTA is covering the cost for 15 schools and Wood County Schools is paying for the tennis equipment in 12 schools, said Jim Amick with the United States Tennis Association-Midwest Section. The tennis rackets are for indoor or outdoor use and are geared toward the age of the students. The program, operated through the schools physical education classes, will provide a fun and healthy activity for the students, said Tammy McKnight, curriculum coordinator for Wood County Schools.

* Information and registration for the Mid-Ohio Valley Tennis Association’s third annual Youth Team Tennis program will be 5-7 p.m. April 30 at the Parkersburg City Park tennis courts. The program will take place on Wednesdays from June 12-July 24 at the City Park tennis courts for children entering grades 1-3 and 4-6. The kids receive a team uniform, tennis racket and ball. High school students and others wanting to volunteer for the program can contact Jill Flanagan at jill.flanagan@kraton.com.

* Wood County Rotary Club and the Mid-Ohio Valley Tennis Association are teaming up again for the Valley Classic tennis tournament for youths and adults May 31, June 1 and 2 at Parkersburg City Park tennis courts. The two organizations split the proceeds from the tournament, with the Rotary Club providing money to local charities and the tennis association funding its youth tennis programs.

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Before paying expenses, the Actors Guild of Parkersburg raised more than $9,000 at last Saturday night’s “A Night of Dancing With the Stars” at the Parkersburg Art Center, Robin White, one of the event coordinators along with Betty Dotson and Ann Simonton, told me Thursday. “We are thrilled with this amount and the efforts of all of our dancers – both celebrities and pros,” White said. White noted a stronger volunteer base this year helped to make the Actors Guild event, which attracted about 200 people, run smoothly.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com