Date change! Walk/Bike to School Day: Wednesday, September 21st

Students are returning for another school year and many will be getting there on foot or bike. The Safe Routes to School Committee works year-round to make it safer and easier for children to walk and bike to and from school. Studies have found that physical activity, such as walking or biking to school, allows students to concentrate better during the school day. And while many students in our county do not live in Grand Marais, many walk or bike to an after-school destination in Grand Marais. This past week, Slow Down lawn signs, school zone speed enforcement, and adult crossing guards were all at work reminding our community that school has started and drive carefully to keep students safe.  Wednesday, September 20th will be the first Walk/Bike to School Day, with three routes of Walking School Buses in Grand Marais.

Walking School Buses are groups of students and adult volunteers walking to school together. The first monthly event will be on Thursday, September 21st (changed due to weather), accompanied by community members and officers from the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Each Walking School Bus stops at ISD 166 and GES on time for school to begin. If your student normally gets a ride to school, come in a little early and walk or bike with the Walking School Bus from one of the starting locations: the Cook County Courthouse (7:30 am departure), Birchwood Apartments (7:40 am departure), or County Road 7 and 7th Ave. East (7:40 am departure). Students are welcome to join along the route or meet at the starting location (see map for routes).

Will your student be walking or rolling to/from school this year? When not participating in a Walking School Bus, it is recommended that you pick a route with your child and test is out together. Once a student and parent/guardian set a route, it is best that the student follows it consistently so that an adult knows where the student is traveling. This Safe Routes to School map may be helpful in identifying a good route. *Please note that the Safe Routes to School group, Minnesota Department of Health, and Statewide Health Improvement Partnership work together to encourage walking and bicycling to school, but do not ensure safety or assume liability for anyone’s commute to or from school.

Cook County Safe Routes to School (SRTS) strives to improve the health of kids and our community by making walking and bicycling to school safer, easier, and more enjoyable. In addition to coordinating Walking School Bus days in the fall and spring, SRTS also offers the annual bike rodeo in the spring, in-school bike education, and works to create safer routes with improved pedestrian and bicyclist infrastructure, crossing guard equipment, and community signage (“Slow Down & Smile! Kids on the Move!”). The October Walking School Buses will be on Wednesday, October 4th.

For more information about Safe Routes to School, to volunteer, or for a Slow Down lawn sign, contact SRTS Coordinator, Maren Webb, at 218-387-2330 or maren@sawtoothmountainclinic.org.

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‘What the Health?!’ Event Re-cap

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On March 23rd, over 120 community members gathered in Grand Marais, Minnesota for “What the Health?! How do we plan for community vitality?”, an evening to explore the relationships between health and community planning. The event kicked off with dinner and discussion about the question: “What makes a community healthy?”

Attendees wrote down their responses and ideas to “What makes a community healthy?” on the tabletops during dinner and discussion. The word cloud above is of the shared ideas or you can read the full list here.

Dinner and discussion were followed by improv comedy with The Theater of Public Policy, and Q&A local panelists: Dr. Paul Terrill, County and Zoning specialist David Demmer, and Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux. A video of the show is available below.

Takeaways from the night were many, but this is just the start of a larger community conversation. As the City of Grand Marais and other local entities work on community planning and visioning, our community will have many opportunities to share their input and shape the future health of our communities. Sign-up for the Moving Matters Newsletter to keep up to date on new opportunities to be involved.



 

 

2016 Great Place Projects Announced!

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Congratulations to the 15 projects across Cook County chosen as part of the 2016 Great Place Project!

An art-history mural, several playgrounds, a colorful wayfinding sign for Grand Marais, an outdoor ping pong table at the library and several similar projects will receive funding from the 2016 Great Place Project, announced Maren Webb of Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and Jim Boyd of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce.

An eight-member evaluation panel met recently to make selections from among the 25 excellent applications. “Unfortunately, we had only $14,000 to distribute,” Boyd said, “and about $26,000 in first-rate requests. Deciding which to fund was difficult.” The panel evaluated each project independently on half a dozen criteria, from visual impact and encouragement of active living, to amount of match and ‘playability.’ The project adopted ‘playability’ as a theme this year and gave additional points to projects that ‘enhance or create a place that welcomes people with a playfulness or whimsy, especially for children.’ Ultimately, the panel decided on funding 15 projects, some with a bit less money than requested in order to make the available funds spread as far as possible.

Major funding for the 2016 Great Place Race came in a $10,000 grant from the Minnesota Power Foundation. Additional funding came from the Chamber and may be offset through additional, pending grant applications.

“We are very grateful to the Minnesota Power Foundation,” said Maren Webb of the Clinic’s Moving Matters project, co-sponsor with the Chamber of the Great Place Project. “Without its help, the 2016 program would have been in doubt.”

Projects funded in the 2016 Great Place Project include:

  • Grand Marais Art Colony: $1,250. A joint project with Grand Marais Art Colony, Voyageur Brewing, Cook County Higher Ed, Betsy Bowen Gallery and Studios, and First Congregational Church for a colorful wayfinding sign to be erected in front of the brewery on Highway 61.
  • Shore Girl Studios/Birchbark Books and Gifts: $1,250. Paint-by-number murals to be created by public during Arts Festival (July 9-10), then installed on north wall of Birchbark Books and Gifts.
  • Sivertson Gallery: $1,250. Phase 1 of 3-phase mural by Dave Gilsvik wrapping around two sides of Sivertson Gallery. Mural will depict the history of art in Cook County and Grand Marais.
  • Sarah Hamilton and Beaver House: $1,250. Restoration of murals and other elements on Beaver House exterior.
  • Cooperation Station Daycare: $1,150. Whimsical figures painted on fence around child care center’s playground.
  • Joy & Co.: $1,100. Sound wall and other child-friendly enhancements to playground area behind store.
  • Cook County Historical Society: $1,075. Project to beautify northwest corner of Bally Blacksmith Shop lot.
  • Cook County Community YMCA: $1,000. Outdoor play space for children ages birth-5 in front of YMCA building.
  • Schroeder Township: $930. Refurbish playground and public gathering area around Schroeder Town Hall.
  • Putt ‘n Pets: $800: Stand-behind face cutouts of farm scenes to be erected next to Putt ‘n Pets miniature golf.
  • Lockport Marketplace & Grill: $750. Creation of a colorful rest area for bicyclists near Highway 61 at Lockport Marketplace & Grill.
  • Nordic Wooden Ware: $550. Beautify area behind workshop next to Joy & Co.
  • Ann Possis: $500. Installation of outdoor ping pong table on grassy area in front of Grand Marais Library for free use by public.
  • Chris and Anne Hegg: $400. Construction and installation of two wooden benches at wildflower sanctuary at intersection of Gunflint Trail and County Road 60, on site of original Hedstrom mill.
  • Flybox and Company: $750. Transformation of a gravel parking lot into a retail store, with a deck, plants, and benches.

Projects will be implemented over the coming months. For more information, visit www.becausemovingmatters.org/greatplaceproject.

Published in the Cook County News-Herald, 4/23/16 edition.