North Side Health Advisory Committee members have the use of the Haimerl Center at Ascension Lutheran Church on Morse Road to put on daytime and evening classes for the community.

North Side Health Advisory Committee members have the use of the Haimerl Center at Ascension Lutheran Church on Morse Road to put on daytime and evening classes for the community.

Now they have to decide when to start, what to start with and where to go from there.

At last week's monthly meeting, advisory panel co-chair Sandy LaFollette announced that she had met with Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center executive director Joyce Bourgault to finalize plans for putting on programs in the facility that is used at other times for the free clinic.

Bourgault urged that the first health class be on either diabetes or obesity, according to LaFollette.

Advisory committee member Gretchen Ratliff suggested holding an open house, introducing the idea of ongoing classes aimed at improving community health, before putting on the first program. Ratliff, who works at her husband's chiropractic practice in Northland, said the open house could include charts and other information to help those attending assess their own personal health.

Committee members seemed to like the idea of kicking things off with an introductory open house, and LaFollette said the end of April might be when that takes place.

"We've got so many people who would like to do classes," she said.

The advisory group was created by Columbus Public Health as the fourth such committee to focus on health issues in a specific sector of the city. Also at last week's meeting, panel members discussed their signature event, the redubbed Y Walk Northland Wellness and Media Fair.

What was originally called the Northland Walk to the Y was held last fall, in conjunction with a health fair and a YMCA fundraising sale of books, DVDs, videos and CDs.

Moved to the spring in order not to conflict, as the first one did, with an Ohio State University football game, albeit an away contest, the Y Walk Northland Wellness and Media Fair is scheduled for Saturday, May 14. It will again include a health fair as well as media sale to benefit the North YMCA on Sandalwood Place.

Unlike the initial event, when groups of walkers were asked to converge on the YMCA at noon, people will come to the facility first and will then set out on walks of various lengths through the surrounding neighborhood.

Dawn Patterson, chairwoman of the committee planning the May 14 event, said she has 10 members in the group who are helping to recruit walkers and health fair visitors from local churches, civic associations and other groups.

They are also in the process of lining up vendors for the health fair aspect of the day, as well as food vendors, Patterson said.

To help in creating awareness of the event, the North Side Health Advisory Committee has set aside $100 of $1,000 in grant money received from Ohio State University. In addition, the Salem and Maize Morse civic associations have donated $50 each to the effort, Patterson said.

Co-chairman Scott Dowling announced that his own Clinton Estates Civic Association had voted to donate $55 to help market the Y Walk Northland Wellness and Media Fair.

The $255 in donations received so far is $255 more than committee members had to work with the first time around, Dowling said.

The money will mostly be used for signs and banners to make more people aware of the event, LaFollette said. "I think you're making great progress," she added.

Prior to adjourning in order to meet with attorney Nate Durst, who is offering free advice on obtaining nonprofit status for the committee, members discussed participating in this year's Northland Independence Day Parade. They had a float in last year's parade.

"It was an enormous amount of work," LaFollette commented.

Perhaps the most sensible way to be in the parade would be to walk, Dowling suggested.

"I think it's a very good idea," Ratliff said.

"It would be a lot easier," LaFollette pointed out.

"Let's not throw out candy," Dowling said. "We can throw broccoli, not candy."