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Group encouraging students to walk

Safe Routes slates parent meeting
The 509-J School District has received a Safe Routes To School grant to encourage students of Westside and Madras elementaries and Jefferson County Middle School to walk or ride their bikes to school.
   The primary aim of the grant is to promote healthy life-styles.
   A taskforce has been formed to implement the grant, which runs from Oct. 31, 2001 through Oct. 31, 2002. On the taskforce are administrators, parents, students and representatives from city and county agencies. Nita Carnagey is the coordinator of the taskforce.
   Their job is to survey parents of non-bus riders in the three schools, or children within walking distance of school to find out why they are not walking.
   The survey will find out if the student is being driven to school by a parent or carpool and whether there are safety concerns.
   Another job of the taskforce is to assess walking and bike riding routes with an eye out for safety concerns, traffic, and whether there are sidewalks or bad neighborhoods to go through.
   The group is charged with developing solutions to deal with any concerns raised by the survey.
   In order to educate parents about the program and get their input, an informal parent meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m., Feb. 7, in the JCMS commons.
   The Oregon Department of Transportation, city and county will be working with the taskforce to help come up with solutions to walking and bike riding concerns.