Chatter // In brief

Woodbury teen Zach Manske, 13, is one of four boys who will alternate in the role of Billy Elliot in Billy Eliot the Musical, at the Ordway, beginning on Oct. 9. He has been touring with the production across the U.S., balancing performance and schoolwork; Last month we reported that Blooma was opening a new location in St. Paul on Selby Avenue (October 1 opening), this month we can report that Blooma is moving its Edina location and expanding into a new and larger space in Minneapolis at 5315 Lyndale Ave. S., in the former Boulevard Theater space; Hennepin County Library—North Regional is opening a new Early Learning Environment in partnership with the Minnesota Children’s Museum to help start kids on the path to learning and success. “It has been clear for a long time that we have a crisis in terms of not enough kids reading at grade level,” says Hennepin County Commissioner Mike Opat. “When kids can’t read, they struggle in school and with making progress in many other ways. ... The Board is committed to improving child literacy rates and we will not stop until we see marked improvement.”; Valleyfair announced a $3.5 million dollar expansion including the addition of Dinosaurs Alive!, a multi-sensory and interactive dinosaur park that will allow people to experience the sights and sounds of over 30 life-sized animated dinosaurs. The seven main scenes found along a 2,837-foot long path spread over nearly five wooded acres tell a story of what the dinosaurs ate, when and where they lived, and how they protected themselves and adapted to their world.; Saint Paul Public Schools’ nutrition services director Jean Ronnei earned a national award for her approach to providing healthful lunch options to its 39,000 students each day. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a national nonprofit organization that promotes healthy diets for disease prevention, names Saint Paul’s school district the grand prize winner in the 2012 Golden Carrot Awards. “These Healthy Hits are a win-win for students, parents, and our schools,” Ms. Ronnei says. “Our goal is to make sure our students grow into healthy adults. These changes can go a long way toward fostering healthy eating habits.”; MEAN, the original anti-bullying musical from Youth Performance Co., will offer a special educator night on Oct. 4 from 6/30 to 8/30 p.m., open to anyone who works with kids in any capacity and who wants to help fight the epidemic of bullying. Tickets are $7 and include a pre-show reception, panel discussion, and a chance to share best practices and lessons learned regarding bullying prevention. For more information, go to and enter code ed10412 or call 612-623-9080; Local Benson teacher, Julie Carroll, Northside Elementary School is one of five grand prize winners who will receive $10,000 toward a classroom makeover for promoting child safety. The annual contest is sponsored by Got 2B Safe!, an abduction prevention program for elementary school students. Julie was selected for her inventive use of the four Got 2B Safe! rules in her classroom lesson plan and for her commitment to helping keep the children in her community safe.  

Tips for your sloucher

A picture can be worth a thousand words. Next time your kid doesn’t believe you when you tell them they are hunching over or slouching, get a camera. According to Dr. Steven Weiniger, an expert on posture and anti-aging, follow these steps with your child for greatest impact/

Get a camera (the one on your phone is fine) and have your child stand in front of a wall or a door, facing you. When you are ready to take the picture, say these words to your child/

Stand normally.

Look straight ahead.

Relax, take a deep breath in and let it out.

Now, show me your best posture!

Using these words makes your child form a mental note of their “best” posture. Kids (and adults) often experience a moment of uncertainty as they try to find exactly how their “best posture” feels…and that is part of the goal of this exercise. After you’ve taken a picture from the front, repeat the process for a back and side view picture. Print out the pictures, one to a sheet, and note how their posture looks.

Making kids aware of their posture is the first step to encouraging them to maintain strong posture. If nothing else, from a kid’s point of view, stronger posture equates to looking more attractive, having more confidence, and performing better at sports.