Thursday, September 28, 2000

Patton pushes student health

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — At a new school health center in Newport, and on a riverboat in the middle of the Ohio River, Gov. Paul Patton focused on education Wednesday during much of his daylong visit to Northern Kentucky.

        Mr. Patton spoke to a student assembly at Newport Middle School and then toured the school district's two site-based health centers. The centers offer students services ranging from immunizations and athletic physicals to monitoring for physical and mental ailments.

[photo] Gov. Paul Patton talks to students at Newport Middle School before touring a new health center at the school.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        “Good health is so important for young people,” Mr. Patton told the students in the school's gymnasium. “Respect yourself. Get enough rest. Eat well. Don't engage in dangerous activities. Don't punish your bodies with drugs, or cigarettes, or alcohol or dangerous sexual activities. Respect your bodies. Protect yourself.”

        Mr. Patton, who received a standing ovation from the students and a rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” from the Newport High School band when he entered the gym, told students the health centers were made possible by the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. The act gave schools the ability to operate on-site resource and health centers.

        Newport has two centers. One — in the middle school — is permanent. The other is a mobile unit based at Fourth Street Elementary School. They were paid for with $500,000 in grants, including a $345,000 contribution from the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, and are free to students.

        The St. Luke Hospitals of Northern Kentucky supply the staff for the centers, including a nurse practitioner.

        Mr. Patton also was on hand Wednesday when the foundation at Ashland Inc. in Covington made a $100,000 contribution to independent colleges and universities in Kentucky and Ohio.

        The grant announcement was made aboard The Belle of Cincinnati as it cruised the Ohio River. The tour boat is operated by BB Riverboats of Covington.

        “With this grant ... we hope that the Ohio independent colleges and the Kentucky independent colleges will no longer view the Ohio River as a border or barrier, but instead view it as a link with each other,” Ashland chief executive officer Paul Chellgren said.

        The grant will be used by the small, independent colleges in both states to improve administrative operations and cut overall operating costs, said Charles Whitehead, president of the Ashland Inc. Foundation.

        The outgoing president of Thomas More College, the Rev. William Cleves, said the Crestview Hills school received a grant under the program two years ago.

        “What it allowed us to do was combine our financial aid and bursar offices, put them in close proximity to the registrar's office, and the savings allowed us to hold tuition flat for this year,” Father Cleves said.

        “We had direct benefit to our students with this program,” he said.

        The grant will go to 10 colleges this year, five in Ohio and five in Kentucky.

        Kentucky colleges are Alice Lloyd College, Bellarmine University, Midway College, Spalding University and Lindsey Wilson University. Ohio colleges are Oberlin College, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Hiram College, Ursuline College and Lake Erie College.

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