Mayor Chris Beutler said the conversion of a government access channel to health and wellness programming will help expand access to information, a primary recommendation of the 2009 Mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Healthcare Safety Net. A three-year grant from the Community Health Endowment (CHE) will support the conversion of Time Warner Cable channel 10 into 10 Health, and partial-day programming will begin October 1.
"Keeping Lincoln healthy benefits every sector of our community from education to economic development," said Mayor Beutler. "Working with our community partners, 10 Health will be able to provide accurate and timely information that is geared to the needs of our local community. It's an innovative idea that will help Lincoln reach CHE's goal of becoming the healthiest community in the nation."
Channel 10 served as a bulletin board for local non-profit organizations and events for many years. Funding for the staff time to program the channel was eliminated in the 2009-10 City budget, and the channel has been carrying programming similar to that airing on 5 CITY-TV, the City's other government access channel.
The City will receive $135,000 from CHE over three years to fund a half-time coordinator and programming expenses for the channel. The City is accepting applications for the position until 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. The goal is to have the channel dedicated solely to health and wellness programming by January 1, 2012. Programming also will be available through video-on-demand on the City website, lincoln.ne.gov.
"We are pleased to support this innovative effort," said Lori Seibel, President/CEO of CHE. "We believe that the channel will allow the community to learn about the services provided by our many excellent nonprofit agencies and, at the same time, energize the general community around active and healthy living."
The grant application was supported by the Lancaster County Medical Society, the Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln and Teach a Kid to Fish, a local organization addressing childhood obesity.
Diane Gonzolas, Manager of the Citizen Information Center for the City of Lincoln, said a steering committee made up of representatives from City agencies and community organizations has been formed to guide programming on 10 Health, and partnerships will play a big role in the success of the channel.
"This is an outstanding opportunity for the entire community," Gonzolas said. "The CHE grant will get us started, and we are confident that program underwriters and other revenue sources will help make 10 Health a long-term health resource for the community."
Beginning Monday, October 2, weekday programming on 10 Health will include exercise programs from 6 to 10 a.m. and the "Kids in Motion" exercise programs from 3 to 5 p.m.