Todd County marks anniversary of Initiative Foundation grant

A year ago, Ground Level spent two months exploring issues that relate to jobs and aging in Todd County, which, like much of rural Minnesota, has seen its population gray as young people move away and older people live longer.

We wrote and recorded stories, which you can view here, and hosted a live event at the Long Prairie High School, all in conjunction with Todd County winning a Healthy Communities Partnership grant from the Little Falls-based Initiative Foundation.

The grants are designed to help communities develop a vision for the future and begin to implement that vision.

In January, Todd County resident, writer and vinegar maker Nancy Leasman wrote a Ground Level blog post describing some of what had changed in Todd County in 2010, including the hiring of a new economic development director and the opening of a new Amish co-op in Bertha.

Tomorrow evening, the Eagle Bend Senior Center will host a party celebrating the one year anniversary of the Healthy Communities grant. Seniors have benefited in multiple ways, according to Verna Toenyan, who coordinates Todd County’s senior services and was a force behind landing the grant.

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“One of the goals of the healthy communities task force has been to increase digital awareness in Todd County,” Toenyan wrote in an email. That includes computer literacy. “The very first pilot program was developed by Charlie Crews and kicked off with weekly classes.” She notes that Crews is 80 years old and has developed a reputation as “the guru of teaching mature students.”

The festivities begin Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at the Eagle Bend Senior Center, 129 Main Street, with appetizers, music and door prizes.

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