Walk to School Day: Wednesday, September 16th

walking school bus contact
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, an additional speed feedback sign, school zone speed enforcement, and a new school entry design at ISD 166 were all at work reminding our community that school has started and drive carefully to keep students safe. This coming Wednesday (Sept. 16th) will be the first Walk 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 Wednesday, September 16th, accompanied by members of the Grand Marais City Council, the Mayor of Grand Marais, 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. *Please note that the Safe Routes to School group, Minnesota Department of Health, and Statewide Health Improvement Program 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 21st.

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.

Move It Awards 2015

Move It Awards 2015 isolated

Community members were asked to nominate a local resident that inspires them to move more in one of three categories: children, adults, and seniors. You can read more about the recipients in the June 6th edition of the Cook County News-Herald. Below we have included both the recipients for the 2015 Move It Awards as well as all of the nominations from this year. Thank you all for sharing these inspiring stories!

This year’s Move It Award Recipients:

Child Winner: Levi Rankin
Nominated by: Amber Pfeil

My neighbor, Levi Rankin (age 9), faithfully wears a bike helmet and that is inspiring to me!  I did not grow up using a bike helmet, so prioritizing helmet use has been difficult.  Levi is a great role model – it’s great to see kids in our community biking safely.


Caroline & Ginny 009
Senior Winner: Ginny Cooley
Nominated by: Birch Grove Foundation, Caroline Wood

Virginia (Ginny) Cooley has been in Tofte since 1989.  Her commitment to fitness has helped her to win many awards in competing for health and wellness throughout her life.  Most recently, Ginny has inspired and reached out to neighbors, visitors, and guest to promote Go4Life, Zumba Gold, and Senior Lunch for our west end community, recreation, and senior center.  Our 10:30 fitness attendance is up 700% with her continued support!

Ginny is an ambassador for our growing senior center and also sits on our Board of Directors.  Ginny always arrives early to warm up in our fitness center before Mon, Wed, and Fri’s 10:30 fitness.  Her gentle nudges have assured that I keep fitness a priority at our center.  She shares her knowledge of fitness with attendees and welcomes them to the center with a warm smile.  I believe Ginny is our greatest resource and inspiration when it comes to motivating the west end to achieve greater health.  I hope you agree and select Virginia Cooley as the Move It Awards recipient in the senior category.  She is the epitome of engaged aging and leads with her heart!

Adult Winner: Amanda Anderson
Nominated by: Ashley Green

I’d like to nominate Amanda Anderson.  I think it is awesome and inspiring that a busy mom of three trained for and ran a half marathon and also is a dancer.  She was so graceful and beautiful in the Breakthrough performance.  What an inspiration to other moms!


And other nominations from the community…

Nominee: Marain Johnson
Nominated by: Myra Schmidt

I would like to nominate Marain Johnson.  I do not personally know her, but I see her many times a week walking her dog named Anderson by the location that I work at.  I hear that she walks multiple times, and many miles each day.  When you cross paths with her you are always greeted with a big smile and a friendly greeting.  Marain inspires me and makes me smile!

Nominee: Theresa Oberg
Nominated by: Kerrie Berg

I would like to nominate Theresa Oberg for a move it award. She runs with me (and a few other awesome ladies) from 6 to 7 a.m. two days a week before work. Having a friend to meet sure makes getting up early to work out easier! It’s also a great opportunity to catch up and chat. She is a role model as I see her biking with her kids to school. She also volunteers as a coach and coordinator for the youth tennis program. What a great example of a working family person who makes time to stay healthy and fit while encouraging others in the community to be active. I am so pleased she is my workout buddy in this community!

Nominee: Kevin Kager and the kids at Cooperation Station daycare
Nominated by: Angie Works (also nominated by Anne Mundell and Kristin Wharton)

I’d like to nominate Kevin Kager and the kids at Cooperation Station daycare.  It is really fun to see them out walking all over town in their orange vests and pushing 2-4 kids in a stroller!  They really take advantage of the opportunity to get kids out and active in our community.  They inspire me to walk more.

Nominee: Ruth Kozcielak
Nominated by: Angie Works

I would also like to nominate Ruth Kozcielak who walks as much as she is able, sometimes more than 25 laps in a day, as she recovers from an injury.  She truly is an inspiration!

Nominee: Jill Levene
Nominated by: Lisa Luttinen

I’d like to nominate Jill Levene as a great example for me of Move it Matters.  Jill loves to cycle, hike, snowshoe, cross country ski and is active in Yoga.  I am a woman over 25, by a lot and often more willing to sit and read a book or putter around the house.  Then there will be a text from Jill, wanna go and ski?  Wanna go to the Y together?  Wanna go to Yoga class?  Wanna hike?  We’ve hiked to Pidgeon Falls, we hiked before covering the Co-Op table at the Ham Lake Run and we’ve snowshoed and cross country skiied together. She has also inspired me to get on my bike and ride. I finally rode to town from home this month.  In her world that five miles would be a short jaunt, for me it was a huge deal.  I called her when I got to town and announced the fact I’d done the ride and was still alive.  She is always a cheerleader, supportive and encouraging and is never judgmental.  All of those things contribute to getting me moving.

Nominee: Lee Bergstrom
Nominated by: Linda Kratt

Lee and I have been friends for approximately 50 years. We met in first grade and have supported each other in many different ways ever since. I returned to Cook County in July 2013. Lee is the person who told me about the position at Visit Cook County.

During my first month here, Lee began calling me to join her in her established morning workouts. It took over a year and moving my dog back to Duluth to free up time. We now meet 3-4 times per week at the YMCA – early at 6:00am. While in Duluth, I met regularly with friends at Evolve Fitness Studio and was training for triathlons. Lee and I are in the pool weekly, and we are taking some extra classes for triathlon swim training. On the days when I can’t seem to get out of bed, Lee is texting or calling; holding me accountable to my fitness.

We also recently purchased new bikes. I’m being very deliberate in choosing to get together with the Wednesday night bike group and to ride every trail in Cook County. I figure I need to know this stuff anyway right?

Big thanks to a bestie for the swift boot to get moving again.

Nominee: Frankie Jarchow
Nominated by: Nicole (Nikki) Boostrom

I would like to nominate Frankie Jarchow for the Moving Matters awards. She has been an excellent volunteer for the entire community. She has put forth much effort to give to all people, even if it is for a ride. She looks at everyone as equal, and gives loving advice, and puts forth more effort with all parts of the community, such as the Garden Club, tennis, bike riding, as well as always being with people socially. She is in more committees that I even can count, and she has given me, directly, wonderful hope and calm advice for all parts of life.

Nominee: Linnea Henrickson
Nominated by: Nina Woerheide

Who inspires me to get more exercise? By: Nina Woerheide

Every time my friend Linnea Henrickson and I get to together for one of our crazy outings, we always end up running, walking, biking, and even swimming to any of the places that we go to. I will admit that sometimes her athletics is above my tolerance, and sometimes I would rather not bike four miles up a hill, or run three, but I know that the mile long outings that we take are much more fun and healthier than sitting around all day.

Exercise might sound like something that you wouldn’t want to do, and somebody might even make excuses about how they “don’t have enough time”, and if you are one of these people you are wrong. There is always enough time for exercise; take a midnight walk; go run a dog, do something, but please don’t avoid the healthier life that is waiting for you past that TV. Because I have learned from not only a great friend, but an achiever in sports and a true athlete, that exercise is not only extremely important, but it’s fun and exciting.

Nominee: Christine Angelo
Nominated by: Shari Dennison

Christine Angelo = YMCA instructor for Zumba and Balance and Stability for the Active Older Adult. Chris always has a smile and an encouraging word whether you see her at the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic or at the YMCA.

As a YMCA instructor she knows her students and takes special care and attention to address and accommodate any special needs. Chris encourages people to stay active and stronger for the task of every day life. Thank you Christine.

Nominee: Elsa Garry and Greta Roth
Nominated by: Amanda Hand

I am inspired to move more by my daughter, Elsa Garry and her walking buddy, Greta Roth.  “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these [eleven year old] couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Well perhaps not always so “swift” depending on the intensity of the accompanying conversation but nonetheless, these two hoof-it or bike to and from school year round. While it is not “uphill both ways” it is uphill one way. Often they are loaded down with backpacks so full that a few extra essentials must be tied on the outside. One particularly cold morning school office staff questioned, “you walked?!” upon their arrival and probably considered calling child protection. (I’m grateful they didn’t. I walked too that day and you actually get quite warm defying gravity on the upward haul!) In an era of increasing childhood obesity and the sad consequences it brings, I am inspired and challenged by these two hearty, northern young women to live up to the high standard that they meet every day!

Nominee: Michael Garry
Nominated by: Amanda Hand

My husband Michael Garry (we’ll skip his age but suffice it to say he’s in the “adult” category) takes the cake for a commitment to movement. We are a one car family, sort of. Partly by design and partly due to a lack of funds to properly repair the dead Volvo in the driveway, only one person gets to drive at a time and usually it’s me: “I’m running late for work, I need the car.” “I have to carry an extra book, I need the car.” “I want to go home for lunch, I need the car” plus graduate school in Duluth every other weekend and the occasional work and family trips to Minneapolis frequently leaves Michael “stranded” with the kids, the chores, the errands, a desire to run another marathon, and…no car.

6 AM work starts twice a week? Yoga first, then walks or bikes to work. 25 below zero? Yoga and walks or bikes to work. “Major” errands and grocery shopping needs to happen while I’ve got the car? Does it with a sled (not the kind with an engine, the brightly colored plastic kind with a rope). Needs to train for a half-marathon at the Y? Bikes from work over his lunch break, runs 10 miles, bikes back to work (in winter). And when tendonitis took him out of the Ham Run Half-Marathon just weeks before it was to happen after months and months of systematic training? He took it on the chin, took some ibuprofen, and did everything he could do to keep moving in ways that didn’t hurt quite so much.

I’m not overly impressed with tales of ultramarathoners or other super-movers and their amazing feats of physical prowess when those accomplishments are backed by unusual amounts of personal wealth, free time, able-bodiedness and youth (big deal, shmig deal). But this guy? While he may look 17, he’s not. Far from it in fact. He manages to ignore the little texts from the body saying, “ouch” and “ache” and “groan.” He goes to work, helps with homework, makes dinner, does the dishes AND maintains an incredibly active lifestyle. Oh and while I sit at the computer typing this, guess who’s mowing the lawn? My moving hero.

Thirteen New Great Place Projects Across Cook County and Grand Portage

2015 GPP Recipient

The Cook County Chamber of Commerce and the Moving Matters project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic are pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 Great Place Project. Twenty seven local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals submitted creative ideas from across Cook County and Grand Portage. $10,000 in grants will be awarded to 13 recipients to help create great places within our communities.

“It’s both gratifying and exciting to see so many creative applications in the second year of the Great Place Project,” said Jim Boyd, executive director of the Cook County Chamber of Commerce. “Our county already is a Great Place; these projects make it a bit greater, and we all get to enjoy the results.”

The Great Place Project is a friendly, local competition for mini-grants to use high impact, low cost ideas to create great places in our communities. A great place is inviting, beautiful, and catches the eye. It reflects the unique character and identity of the community. And a great place encourages people to slow down and spend time there. “We know that people will be active where they have pleasant and safe places to do so. The Great Place Project has been an incredible opportunity to invest in community spaces and the health of our community” said Moving Matters Coordinator Kristin DeArruda Wharton.

2015 Grant Recipients:

Arrowhead Pharmacy: Mural paintings by local artist Betsy Bowen, complemented by seating and landscaping.

Birchbark Books and Gifts: Locally themed mural paintings with hidden books by local artist Tim Young.

Border Designs: Rustic park bench and plantings by walking path in Lutsen.

Cook County Higher Education: Welcoming entrance with plantings, enhanced walking path, and picnic table.

Cook County Historical Society: Gathering place with plantings, seating, and enhanced bike parking at museum.

Grand Portage Wellness Committee: Community Park gathering table and grill in Grand Portage.

Java Moose: Chair seating by the Grand Marais Harbor, at both café locations.

Kah-Nee-Tah Gallery: Log bench seating area with plantings.

Last Chance Studio: Moose sculpture created by local artist Tom Christianson.

Oddz and Endz: Resting spot with benches, tables, and planters using repurposed and recycled materials.

Schroeder Area Historical Society: ADA accessible viewfinder at Taconite Harbor.

Tofte Historical Society: Planters to enhance the plaza at the North Shore Commercial Fishing Museum.

Visit Cook County: Enhancement of Grand Marais Visitor Center common area with benches and planters.

The Great Place Project is sponsored by the Moving Matters project of the Sawtooth Mountain Clinic and the Cook County Chamber of Commerce. The Moving Matters project, with funding from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota’s Center for Prevention, is working to create safer and more accessible places to walk and bike in Cook County and Grand Portage.

Published in the Cook County News-Herald, 4/18/15 edition.