(Beaver Dam) One of the big stories of 2017 was the launching of the Dodge County Blue Zones Project. The community-led, well-being initiative sponsored by Beaver Dam Community Hospital is designed to make healthy choices easier through improvements to a city’s environment, policies, and social networks. The groundwork was laid in 2014 when hospital President and CEO Kim Miller assembled community leaders that were passionate about community well-being and formed the Healthy Community, Healthy Lives Coalition. By April of 2017, 88 volunteers helped launch kickoff events in four communities: Beaver Dam, Juneau, Mayville and Horicon. Within weeks of the announcement, volunteers formed committees which began to execute the visions that were laid out. Worksites, schools, grocery stores, restaurants and faith-based organizations have become Blue Zones-approved, putting practices into place that reflect and advance the philosophy of the initiative. Small walking groups, for example, grew large enough to stop traffic. Last month, Blue Zones Project Dodge County recognized over 300 community members volunteers who contributed a combined 2632 hours of service to the initiative which has impacted the lives of an estimated 24-thousand people in the county.