Drinking Coffee Could Save Your Life

More than half of American adults drink coffee every day. According to the latest research, two cups of coffee a day may actually save your life.

Results from a 2013 study performed by the Harvard School of Public Health, finds that coffee fanatics who drink two to four cups of coffee each day are less likely to commit suicide than those who drink decaf, or no coffee at all. The study followed over 200,000 people for at least 16 years. The researchers found that the suicide risk was cut by around 50 percent for coffee drinkers.

The results add to the growing number of studies on coffee’s potential health benefits. Previous research shows that coffee drinkers have lower risks of diabetes, cancer, heart disease and gallstones. Researchers have also discovered that coffee and smiles might go hand-in-hand by reducing the risk of depression. Caffeine from a cup of Joe not only stimulates the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting production of happy hormones like serotonin and dopamine.

In spite of the recent research findings, the authors do not recommend that depressed adults increase caffeine consumption. “Overall, our results suggest that there is little further benefit for consumption above two to three cups/day or 400 mg of caffeine/day,” the authors wrote.

Likewise, there’s plenty of research out there reporting on coffee’s well-known negative effects. Caffeine is a drug. While low to moderate doses are generally safe, caffeine is addictive and users can become dependent on it and find it difficult to quit or even cut back. Other negative side-effects coffee drinkers may experience include insomnia, disturbed sleep cycles and consumption of more daily calories.

Regardless, we’ll raise our mugs to this most recent study for giving us one more validation for grabbing another cup of our favorite java.

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Get Your Car Seat Checked

The car seat clinic is open to the public, no appointment needed.

Thursday, June 6th
Alexandria Fire Department
302 Fillmore Street (west side of the fire hall)

Did you know…

  • Seven out of 10 child safety seats are used incorrectly in Minnesota.
  • Minnesota state law requires all children up to age 8 or 4’ 9” to ride in a federally approved child safety seat or booster seat.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends children ride rear-facing up until age 2.
  • All vehicle occupants need to be buckled up properly, whether in a child safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt.

Sponsored by Alexandria Police Department and Douglas County Public Health

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Teen-Parent Distracted Driving Event

The #1 threat to teenagers isn’t drugs or crime…its traffic crashes.

Douglas County Safe Communities Coalition, in partnership with Casey’s Amusement Park and Dilley Zimny Insurance, would like to invite teens ages 14-17, accompanied by at least one parent or guardian, to experience firsthand the dangers associated with distracted driving – but under safe, controlled conditions.

Click Here for full event details. The event is open to the first 25 teen-parent registrants. “Teen drivers say that their parents have the largest influence on their driving behavior.”  This event is a wonderful opportunity for teens and parents.

Teen-Parent Distracted Driving Event

Monday, May 20th


Casey’s Amusement Park, Alexandria, MN


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QUITPLAN, The QuitCash Challenge™

Its back and time again to kick some butt! If you want to quit smoking, sign up for the QuitCash Challenge and you could win $5,000. Plus, take advantage of free help from QUITPLAN Services to help you quit. Don’t delay sign up before April 1! The QuitCash Challenge is open to residents of Minnesota who are 18 years or older at the time of entry and are current tobacco users (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco). Visit quitplan.com for full details.


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Buckle Up and Pay Attention Teens!

Traffic crashes are the leading killer of Minnesota teens — and distracted driving and low seat belt use are major factors for these tragedies.

Now, teens can do something about this — come up with a creative idea, and make a poster or video to encourage your peers to buckle up or pay attention.

Douglas County teenagers in grades 9–12 are eligible to participate in the 2013 poster and video contest sponsored by Douglas County Safe Communities Coalition.

Contest entries may focus on either the importance of seat belts or the importance of paying attention behind the wheel.

Teens could win $100 and see their poster/video used locally in various activities and events throughout Douglas County.

Entries are due Monday, March 25, 2013.

Learn more about the contest at: www.dcsafecommunities.com, follow us on Twitter: @DCSafeComm, or connect on Facebook: www.facebook.com/dcsafecommunities

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Be Mine, Booster Seat Valentine!

Give kids a lift of love with Booster Seats – It’s the Law!

Use Booster Seat Valentine Cards for K-2nd grade students to color and give to parents and caregivers.

The valentines remind caregivers that boosters are for children from age 4 until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Is Your Child in a Booster Seat?

One common mistake parents make is not using booster seats.

In Minnesota, children must ride in a booster seat once they have outgrown a forward-facing harnessed restraint. It’s safest they remain riding in a booster until they are 4 feet 9 inches tall, or at least age 8.

Boosters are seat lifts that raise a child up so a seat belt fits properly. Seat belts should not cut across the neck and should never be tucked behind the back or under an arm.

Children who are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches are not ready to use a seat belt alone. Poor belt fit can contribute to serious injury or death in a crash.

And remember, kids should ride in the back seat until age 13.

Visit buckleupkids.mn.gov for more information about all types of child restraints, helpful car seat installation instruction videos and more.

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Douglas County Parks – A Place to Bury Deceased Pets?

Last summer a friend of mine, a city dweller mind you, asked me my opinion on how to properly dispose of a small family rabbit that passed away.  In the owners view, a garbage bag to the trash can seemed inappropriate.  This friend rents an apartment, owns no property, yet wanted their beloved pet buried with minimal cost.  Where to turn?  A Douglas County park?  Yikes!  I had no idea how to answer that one.  My first thought….many of our parks in Douglas County contain acres of land, who would even notice some disturbed dirt?  My second thought…..this sounds like that movie I watched as a too young kid “Pet Cemetery”, CREEPY!

While I had no answers to the park burial question it did get me thinking about what a true asset our county parks are in Douglas County.  Like my friend did, many people think of them as places of peaceful refuge, acres of natural beauty that can be enjoyed at minimal to no cost by almost everyone.  Activities I enjoy today at Douglas County parks include cross country skiing, snowshoeing (just got some for Christmas!), swimming at Lake Le Homme Dieu Beach and hiking.  As a kid I remember celebrating my birthdays with cook outs at Brophy Park during many summers, that first sledding trip down Kensington Runestone Park’s giant hill (pretty sure I had cattails in my teeth at the bottom of the hill) and, awww, my husband and I even took our engagement picture at Kensington Runestone Park.  Lots of great memories for me and my family (not the cattail part).

To those of you who have used Douglas County parks for years, or those that have yet to be introduced, do consider attending what will prove to be one of the most important public input gatherings for our park system in recent memory.  On Tuesday, January 22nd from 6-8 p.m. at the Douglas County Public Works Building the Douglas County Park Department will host an Open House event for the public.  The purpose is to gather ideas from the Douglas County community to shape the future of Douglas County Parks.   The results of the community meeting will be rolled into a comprehensive Douglas County Park and Trail Plan – a blueprint for the county’s parks, open spaces, trails and bikeways over the next 25 years.

This is an opportunity not to be missed, however, if you can’t make it to the Open House, at the very least complete this survey to voice your opinion.

I expect to attend the Open House to voice my opinions and would like to see you there.  Who knows, I just may take a moment to ask the Douglas County Parks Director if a person can indeed legally bury a deceased pet in a Douglas County park.




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Having a ho-ho-tini or two for the holidays? Then have a plan for a sober ride. Extra DWI patrols are on the roads in December.

Click on the image to play the NEW Holiday DWI enforcement video.

The Consequences of a DWI

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.

Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.

Tips to Prevent Drunk Driving

  • Plan for a safe ride — designate a sober driver, use a cab/public transportation, or stay at the location of the celebration. Let family/friends know you are available to offer a safe ride home.
  • Buckle — the best defenses against a drunk driver.
  • Report drunk driving — call 911 when witnessing impaired driving behavior. Be prepared to provide location, license plate number and observed dangerous behavior.

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Happy Birthday Freedom to Breathe Act!

It’s hard to believe but today, October 1, marks FIVE YEARS since Minnesota’s monumental Freedom to Breathe Act went into effect. Because of Freedom to Breathe, we are all able to enjoy smoke-free bars and restaurants. To show Minnesota’s appreciation for five years of fresh air, Clearway MN went around the state and asked customers, hospitality workers and business owners to wish Freedom to Breathe a happy birthday. Today is a great day to go patronize your favorite establishment and enjoy it smoke-free!

Check out this link

Let’s all wish the Freedom to Breathe Act a happy birthday!

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Ever run a red light, jaywalk, or speed through a school zone? Some of us have. But none of us should.

In our every day travels, we make decisions that affect the safety of those around us.  Douglas County has launched a STREET SMART campaign to promote safe walking, biking and driving on our roads. The goal of the project is to grab the attention of the public with 4 strong messages to foster more active, healthy lifestyles while raising awareness that safety is still the number one priority on our roads, paths and sidewalks.

To highlight the importance of the campaign to the safety of local residents and the vibrancy of the community, STREET SMART images will feature some of Douglas County’s own “hometown families” and appear on billboards, posters, and other high-traffic areas.

CHECK YOUR SPEED. WATCH FOR US. is the first message to be revealed in conjunction with the statewide extra speed enforcement efforts that are happening now. With your help we can all be STREET SMART and reduce the likelihood of crashes between pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

What You Can Do to Spread the STREET SMART Message:

  • Post the STREET SMART image on your social media site. Click on this link to download the STREET SMART image in JPEG and PDF or visit www.dcsafecommunities.com
  • Send out an email-blast to co-workers, friends and family including the STREET SMART image.
  • Arrange for marquees or electronic sign boards at your local business or workplace to carry the STREET SMART image.
  • Watch for the 3 additional STREET SMART messages to be revealed in late Summer and early Fall. Coming Soon…We Cross. You Stop.
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