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Lovejoy pursues supplemental wellness program

Dr. Ernie Fletcher, former governor of Kentucky, presents a wellness program proposal to Lovejoy City Council. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

Dr. Ernie Fletcher, former governor of Kentucky, presents a wellness program proposal to Lovejoy City Council. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Lovejoy city councilwoman Rebekah Holland Wright listens to Dr. Ernie Fletcher of LiveOn Health Center in McDonough as the city pursue a supplemental wellness program for its officials and employeees. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Council members in Lovejoy heard a presentation from Dr. Ernie Fletcher, right, founder and operator of LiveOn Health Center in McDonough. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Corn stalks are maturing in the Lovejoy Community Garden, now in its second year of operation. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Volunteers have added planter boxes to the expansive rows of crops in the Lovejoy Community Garden. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Dozens of volunteers work on the Lovejoy Community Garden throughout the growing season to harvest hundreds of pounds of vegetables for the community and needy alike. (Staff Photo: Johnny Jackson)

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Volunteers gather ripe squash from the Lovejoy Community Garden. (Special Photo)

LOVEJOY — Officials are considering adding wellness program benefits for city employees in Lovejoy.

Council began offering voluntary supplemental insurance services and retirement products last fall, and continued its push during its meeting Monday to develop a more robust benefits package for workers.

Members approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Bobby Cartwright negotiating privileges to be able to sign a contract with LiveOn Health Center to implement a wellness program for Lovejoy’s staff and elected officials.

Dr. Ernie Fletcher founded and operates the center at 80 Vinings Drive, Suite 80, in McDonough. He is a family physician and the former governor of Kentucky.

He led the state between 2003 and 2007, and developed the “Get Healthy Kentucky” campaign to encourage healthy habits and preventative care among Kentucky residents.

Fletcher started his address to council by complimenting the city’s bountiful community garden. He then gave members a synopsis of the wellness program offerings.

“Ultimately, it’s got to be good for your taxpayer,” said Fletcher.

He said the program offers courses in smoking cessation as well as “out-of-the-garden” community health and wellness classes and coaching in nutrition, fitness and stress management.

Employee drug screenings and comprehensive health screenings and blood testing are also part of the proposed wellness program.

He highlighted fitness assessments, disease management and coordination with health providers such as physical therapists.

Councilwomen Marci Fluellyn and Rebekah Holland Wright asked questions about the effectiveness of coordination with health providers, particularly when it comes to treatment for women.

“This program has so much robustness to it, it blows me away,” said Fluellyn.

Officials anticipate the wellness program will be funded through the city’s insurance budget.

Spokeswoman Kaycia Rhone said the supplemental wellness program will be available to all employees at no cost. The program is being pitched to allow as many as 35 employees under the proposed plan. She said the city employs 28.

“This is big news for us to be taking this step,” said Cartwright, adding the city has goals to develop “a healthier us, which will make us a harder-working us.

“We have not left our city behind, but we need to do more,” he continued. “We’re interested in taking Lovejoy and Clayton County some place different.”

Property Annexation

Council approved ordinances to annex and rezone 25-plus acres of Land Lot 134 of the 6th District east of the city.

The annex application was made by Brothers Investments LLC, which owns more than 50 acres of land near the Henry-Clayton county line.

Mark Griswell, who manages the property, said the company sought to make the contiguous property consistent in its incorporation and zoning into the city and to re-establish a construction and debris permit in order to store non-hazardous construction materials on the property.

Development Authority

Steps were made in officially establishing the city’s new development authority. The council approved a resolution appointing members of the authority’s board of directors.

Rhone said those members included Tavan Jones, Paula Simon Smith, Jerome Samuels and Anthony Slater, who will serve two-year terms, and Oleen Rackard, Jim Carp and Bobby Cartwright, who will serve four-year terms.

Summer Programs

Council also approved a resolution to help fund Lovejoy Police Department’s youth summer enrichment program for $3,000.

Police Chief Mark Harris asked the council’s permission earlier this spring to host the program, which targets youth ages 12-16, and offers lessons on civic service and the judicial system.

Harris said the program — free to its participants — is designed to teach kids life skills, necessary in becoming responsible, law-abiding citizens. It is being held in three-day increments, from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily, June 16-18, June 23-25, July 14-16 and July 21-23.

Lovejoy’s Summer Block Party Series also continues July 12, from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

The community party is being hosted by Fluellyn at Mayor’s Park, 11622 Hastings Bridge Road. The free event will include music, games and food.

Community Garden

Cartwright invites residents to volunteer in the city’s growing community garden on Steele Road near downtown.

The mayor pursued the garden last spring, and has seen a bounty of hundreds of pounds of vegetables grown and collected there by residents and city employees who have volunteered over the year.

On Sunday, he counted more than 700 pounds of vegetables already picked from the giant garden. They include 342 pounds of yellow squash, 202 pounds of zucchini, 43 pounds of eggplant, 97 pounds of cucumber, 11 pounds of bell pepper, 9 pounds of banana pepper and 19 pounds of cauliflower.

Learn more about city programs at www.cityoflovejoy.com.