Hey, Dublin: here's a second chance to get healthy!

As part of the City Council's mandate to continually improve the quality of life in Dublin, the city has launched the second annual "Step 2 It Challenge," a 10-week wellness program.

Participating teams either walk and/or run their way to a higher level of fitness, with the winners in the small-, medium- and large-team categories earning a trophy and fitness bragging rights for a year.

"What's great about this program is the team aspect. It's people working together, motivating each other and keeping each other accountable. It makes it much more fun," said city spokeperson Shari Jackman.

The first 400 people who team up with family members, friends or workmates in teams of between two and 10 will be given a free pedometer. And, if you sign up your team before March 16, you also get a discount on the entry fee. Before that date the per/person fee is $10, but it goes up to $16 after that.

The pedometers will be available to pick from a city booth during next month's St. Patrick's Day Festival. Participants will also gain access to tools on a website that will help the teams keep track of exercise and nutrition. The site, www.livehealthydublin.com, where you can register for the challenge, also contains recipes and other tips for improving your fitness level.

In 2013, the program's first year, there were 486 participants on 102 different teams. While the city hopes to see that number rise, there are also some rule changes to try and make the playing field a little more level. While people last year were allowed to count steps taken in certain activities including housekeeping, this year the step counting needs to be from actually walking or running for exercise.

Two different walks, on April 12 and May 3, are planned as part of the wellness challenge, which concludes on Memorial Day Weekend. Winners will be announced May 29 at the Dublin Farmer's Market. Teams can also get a nice jump on their step counting by participating in the St. Patrick's Day Shamrock 5K Fun Run/Walk.

Police Citizens Academy: Ever wanted to get an inside look to see how the Dublin Police Services Department operates? Here's your chance, with the 2014 edition of the Citizens Academy.

The 10-week program will be held on Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. beginning April 2 and concluding June 4. It's designed to foster better relationships between the community and the police and to promote more citizen involvement in trying to reduce or prevent crime.

In addition to classroom-style learning, participants will get the chance to take a tour of Santa Rita Jail, the Alameda County Crime Lab, Juvenile Hall and the Emergency Vehicle Operations Course.

The class is limited to 25 participants 18 years of age or older who must pass a criminal-background check. Applications can be found online at www.dublin.ca.gov. You can also contact police Sgt. Dave Snider at 925-833-6681.

Dublin Mayor's Race: We're still about nine months out before Dublin voters go to the polls to, among other things, elect a new mayor, but expected candidates are already jockeying for position.

While no one is an official candidate until he or she files papers with the city later this year, council member David Haubert issued a news release announcing his intention to run. That move was expected, as are the likely candidacies of council member Kevin Hart and former council member Kasie Hildenbrand, among others.

The bottom line is, expect to see a lot of fliers, community meetings and doorbell ringing by the candidates and their supporters in coming months.

Contact Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.