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Pottawatomie County is Blue Zones certified; it's not a city distinction

By Vicky O. Misa | | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star

This week a local resident sought clarification on a recently announced distinction in the area. Apparently news of the county becoming Blue Zones certified has left more than a few uncertain of what exactly that means — and perhaps more importantly — who it involves.

On Tuesday, during citizen participation at Shawnee City Commission, resident Rob Morris came up before the board to get a definitive answer.

“After speaking with several different people who are very much and beyond in-the-know, are we or are we not at this moment an actual Shawnee-certified Blue Zones city?” Morris asked.

As commissioners are not allowed to respond during citizen participation, answers to that question had to wait for the Commissioner Comment portion of the agenda later in the evening.

When that time came, Ward 1 City Commissioner Bob Weaver was first up in offering a response.

“My understanding is that it is now certified as a Blue Zones community,” he said. “I just wanted to give clarification for his purpose as to whether or not that has occurred.”

Weaver said he and some other board members attended a recent ceremony related to Blue Zones certification.

During a celebration event three weeks ago, Blue Zones Project made the announcement that Pottawatomie County achieved certification as a Blue Zones Community. Pictured, from left, are Citizen Potawatomi Nation Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett and Shawnee Mayor Ed Bolt.

“I thought it was named that,” he said.

Shawnee City Manager Chance Allison agreed with Weaver that it was his understanding, as well.

Ward 3 City Commissioner Travis Flood said as he understands it and to the best of his knowledge Shawnee is a Blue Zones city.

Mayor Ed Bolt followed up with a similar answer.

“It is my understanding we are a certified Blue Zones city now that we've gone through that certification process for the last three to three and a half years,” he said.

Apparently that was successful, Bolt said, and they had a nice ceremony at the Avedis Foundation.

“I think it's a nice accomplishment for our community,” he said.

Whether or not the man’s query was satisfactorily answered at the meeting, the ceremony that occurred three weeks ago at Avedis was honoring Pottawatomie County for becoming Blue Zones certified, according to reports.

Watch future editions of The Shawnee News-Star for more on exactly how Pottawatomie County achieved certification as a Blue Zones community.